NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Sights And Sounds: Darlington

“It is the best lap you can get but you’re doing it multiple times. If you don’t get a great run that first lap, which we didn’t, you can still understand you are in the top 24 and we can regroup and try again. We went from 23rd to 15th overall with the opportunity we were given in this format. I really enjoy it. It is a fun challenge. It is a little bit more stressful having to put the car on the line every lap you’re out there and having to do it more times than you really want. It gives us an opportunity to better our starting position. I’m not known to qualify very well so it gives us a chance to improve and I like that.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the new qualifying format Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“It is the best lap you can get but you’re doing it multiple times. If you don’t get a great run that first lap, which we didn’t, you can still understand you are in the top 24 and we can regroup and try again. We went from 23rd to 15th overall with the opportunity we were given in this format. I really enjoy it. It is a fun challenge. It is a little bit more stressful having to put the car on the line every lap you’re out there and having to do it more times than you really want. It gives us an opportunity to better our starting position. I’m not known to qualify very well so it gives us a chance to improve and I like that.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the new qualifying format
Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“We struggled really bad. We were really tight in qualifying. I’m not very happy where I am right now. It is going to be a matter of being patient. When you start further back it puts you in a bad spot. If you don’t make ground pretty quickly the leaders come around pretty fast. We’ve got to get by some guys and get up through the field. Then we can just chip away at them all night. If we can get up inside the top 20 and start chipping away at it we’ll be in the safe zone. This weekend has thrown us for a loop. We came here and had a test and ran really well and ran fast. The track was really green. We came back and the track has rubbered up and it was hot and threw us for a loop. We made some adjustments to tighten it up because it was so slick today and we were having a hard time putting in a lap and then tonight it tightened up, for us anyway. It just wouldn’t turn. We’ve been all over the map. Hopefully for race trim we can figure it out.” –Casey Mears talks about his struggles and starting so far back in the field Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“We struggled really bad. We were really tight in qualifying. I’m not very happy where I am right now. It is going to be a matter of being patient. When you start further back it puts you in a bad spot. If you don’t make ground pretty quickly the leaders come around pretty fast. We’ve got to get by some guys and get up through the field. Then we can just chip away at them all night. If we can get up inside the top 20 and start chipping away at it we’ll be in the safe zone. This weekend has thrown us for a loop. We came here and had a test and ran really well and ran fast. The track was really green. We came back and the track has rubbered up and it was hot and threw us for a loop. We made some adjustments to tighten it up because it was so slick today and we were having a hard time putting in a lap and then tonight it tightened up, for us anyway. It just wouldn’t turn. We’ve been all over the map. Hopefully for race trim we can figure it out.” –Casey Mears talks about his struggles and starting so far back in the field
Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“I feel like we have a better car than ninth believe it or not. I’m excited about the effort and what we brought this weekend. We were just a little too tight for qualifying. We tried to free it up but just didn’t quite get it free enough through three and four on that last run. I’m real happy with it.”- Jeff Gordon touches on starting ninth and his prospects for the Southern 500 Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“I feel like we have a better car than ninth believe it or not. I’m excited about the effort and what we brought this weekend. We were just a little too tight for qualifying. We tried to free it up but just didn’t quite get it free enough through three and four on that last run. I’m real happy with it.”- Jeff Gordon touches on starting ninth and his prospects for the Southern 500
Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“It is a lot of fun to be honest with you. We’ve made the final 12 a few times this year and every time we’ve been 12th. I was going to be 12th or fifth this time. I went for it and changed my line in three and four and screwed us up. That was a little frustrating. I felt like we should have been fifth or sixth. All-in-all it is really exciting to do this qualifying. We were 21st in the first session with a minute to go. You don’t know if you’re going to make it or not. You’re counting down to see if you’re going to make it or not. You’re at the end of pit road and you don’t know if someone is going to get you or not and if you need to go back out. It is definitely exciting for us. It is definitely fun when you make the next round and it is very disappointing when you don’t. It has its pluses and minuses. Pluses are if you run a really good lap in the first session you don’t want three sessions but if you need to get a little better it is good. It can go both ways for everyone so it is a lot of fun. “This has been a great track for me. It has been one of my favorites over the years. I feel like I’ve had a shot at winning it a few times and the strategy never worked out just right. I don’t know, we were ok in practice today. We need to get a little bit better. As a team we’re not looking to win right now, we’re looking at getting better. We want our first top 10 of the year and I feel like we can do it.”- Martin Truex Jr. discusses making the final 12 and then not capitalizing and on his chances for Saturday night Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“It is a lot of fun to be honest with you. We’ve made the final 12 a few times this year and every time we’ve been 12th. I was going to be 12th or fifth this time. I went for it and changed my line in three and four and screwed us up. That was a little frustrating. I felt like we should have been fifth or sixth. All-in-all it is really exciting to do this qualifying. We were 21st in the first session with a minute to go. You don’t know if you’re going to make it or not. You’re counting down to see if you’re going to make it or not. You’re at the end of pit road and you don’t know if someone is going to get you or not and if you need to go back out. It is definitely exciting for us. It is definitely fun when you make the next round and it is very disappointing when you don’t. It has its pluses and minuses. Pluses are if you run a really good lap in the first session you don’t want three sessions but if you need to get a little better it is good. It can go both ways for everyone so it is a lot of fun. “This has been a great track for me. It has been one of my favorites over the years. I feel like I’ve had a shot at winning it a few times and the strategy never worked out just right. I don’t know, we were ok in practice today. We need to get a little bit better. As a team we’re not looking to win right now, we’re looking at getting better. We want our first top 10 of the year and I feel like we can do it.”- Martin Truex Jr. discusses making the final 12 and then not capitalizing and on his chances for Saturday night
Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“I’m disappointed man. We’ve had really good first qualifying sessions. Last week we were fourth and ended up 20th. This week we were 13th and ended up 20th. I’ve got to figure out what we need to do to back up our first round of qualifying. I hate thinking about it but we’ll keep working and see what we can do. I’m pretty happy. The guys worked so hard today. They pretty much had to beat out the whole right side. I think we’ll be fine for the race.” – Austin Dillon is disappointed after qualifying again Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“I’m disappointed man. We’ve had really good first qualifying sessions. Last week we were fourth and ended up 20th. This week we were 13th and ended up 20th. I’ve got to figure out what we need to do to back up our first round of qualifying. I hate thinking about it but we’ll keep working and see what we can do. I’m pretty happy. The guys worked so hard today. They pretty much had to beat out the whole right side. I think we’ll be fine for the race.” – Austin Dillon is disappointed after qualifying again
Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“It wasn’t very fun for me. We ended up 43rd or whatever. We’ve been struggling since we got here. We haven’t been able to get the car to turn and when we finally do it has been really loose. We’ve been struggling to get both ends of the car hooked up. We’ll just keep working at it. Now we’ve got to race so we’ll do the best we can. For us we haven’t seen the tires fall off terribly but we haven’t really run a fast lap. I don’t think we get everything out of them. In the race we’ll try and pick them off the best we can. We’ve been struggling since we got here and haven’t had the speed so we may be where we’re supposed to be. We’ll try our best to go forward.” –Cole Whitt did not have fun qualifying at Darlington and feels like they haven’t found the speed they need yet. Photo: Yvonne Leonard
“It wasn’t very fun for me. We ended up 43rd or whatever. We’ve been struggling since we got here. We haven’t been able to get the car to turn and when we finally do it has been really loose. We’ve been struggling to get both ends of the car hooked up. We’ll just keep working at it. Now we’ve got to race so we’ll do the best we can. For us we haven’t seen the tires fall off terribly but we haven’t really run a fast lap. I don’t think we get everything out of them. In the race we’ll try and pick them off the best we can. We’ve been struggling since we got here and haven’t had the speed so we may be where we’re supposed to be. We’ll try our best to go forward.” –Cole Whitt did not have fun qualifying at Darlington and feels like they haven’t found the speed they need yet.
Photo: Yvonne Leonard

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