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NASCAR BGN: Driver Comments, NAPA Auto Parts 300, Daytona

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
ELTON SAWYER-98-Starter/Hot Tamales Ford Taurus - THIS IS CERTAINLY NOT THE WAY YOU WANTED TO START THE SEASON. "First of all, we had a great race car. We really practiced well yesterday afternoon and the car was handling great, and I couldn't be more pleased with the way the Starter/Hot Tamales guys have worked all week, but, apparently, we burned a piston." WERE THERE ANY EARLY INDICATIONS THAT YOU HAD A PROBLEM? "When you start slowing down, you know you have a problem. We came off of (Turn) 2 and we had a run, and we were trying to find a lane to go with. We were at the tail end of that line, but the car was sucking up well. Everyone was using their heads in the draft, but we were only eight laps into it. It seemed like we could run well in practice, but when it came time for qualifying and the race, we didn't seem to have any luck. It's a long season, and we'll come back."

SHANE HALL-63-Lance Snacks Ford Taurus - "We were a little tight at the start of the race. For the first two stops we were fighting a tight-handling condition, and I think we blistered the right front (tire). We had a tough time at the beginning, but we had some early cautions to make some adjustments. We put four tires on at the end, and we were running the best we had all day. We climbed our way to 12th from way in the back, and the car got real good at the end." YOU USED SOME PIT STRATEGY MIDWAY THROUGH THE RACE ONLY TAKING ON FUEL UNDER CAUTION. DID THAT HELP OR HURT YOU? "I think that hurt us. We came in for gas and no tires, came out of the pits in 16th, but we fell back to 30th because the car was so tight. The tires got to be so bad that we couldn't stay up front. We're just tickled to death that we could make our way back to the front."

GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Ford Taurus - "It's not bad. That's the first time that I've driven a restrictor-plate aero package. I think the Fords have a little more drag. It's pretty tough, there's not a lot that you can do. That's not my kind of racing. I stayed in line and passed some guys and got up near the front. I was a little bit tight later on, and we didn't take on tires one stop and that hurt us. I scraped the wall just a fraction coming off of (Turn) 2 and pushed the fender in, and then on our next pit stop the guys didn't pull the fender out to fix the aero. Because of that we were tight the rest of the day. I couldn't figure out why we were tight because I was in the car, but I hadn't realized the fender was pushed in. These are the same things I went through in my first year truck racing. There were a tremendous amount of mistakes today on everybody's part. Still, we had a good day and we brought home a good car. We need to work on that and get better. We didn't make the mistake of wrecking our car and that was good." HOW WERE THE TRACK CONDITIONS? "They were great until it started raining real hard and I couldn't see where I was going." DID YOU MAKE THE RIGHT ADJUSTMENTS FOR TODAY'S RACE? "I think so. I was really good early on, and I just rode it waiting for the field to get shook out. Then, when I could go, I did, and then when we started putting tires on it, it wasn't as good."

JASON KELLER-57-Albertsons Ford Taurus - "We did what we needed to do. I had a good, consistent run, but I would have liked to have been a little better off, but I can't complain. THE LAST 10 LAPS WERE PROBABLY THE MOST EXCITING. "It was fun. That what's you come to Daytona for, and that's what you get with restrictor-plate racing. I don't want to restrictor-plate race every week, but when you come here you hope to be in the mix at the end, and that's where we were." THERE DIDN'T SEEM TO BE MUCH ERRANT DRIVING. "I'm really proud of everybody out here. Everyone around me did a lot of giving and taking. Hopefully, that will be the way it will be all year long." HOW WERE THE TRACK CONDITIONS? "It was actually real good. The race track didn't get quite as greasy. I think that was one of the reasons that everyone was driving with their heads because their cars were handling a little bit better. I think it would have been a little bit better for the Fords if the sun had come out. I think the Fords would have out-handled them a little bit, but now we need to get ready for Rockingham."

JEFF GREEN-10-Nestle NesQuik Ford Taurus - YOU SAID THE PONTIACS WERE THE CARS TO BEAT. "There are so many of them and they've conquered the rule book for down here. The spoiler is so low, and the spoiler is like a brake. I betcha 99 percent of them won't bring them to Rockingham. I wouldn't be able to myself in the mirror if I built the car just for one race. That's what they did, and they won the race. My Taurus was great, I just didn't have anyone to help me. I got a run on them one time and almost got to the lead, but then they would just gang up on me. I was just all by myself. It was a great day for us; a lot better than it was for us last year. We're a lot of points ahead of ourselves already." DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU SETTLED INTO THE FORD PRETTY GOOD? "It's a race car. It made of sheet metal. It's like a said earlier, it that thing will turn when I get in the corner and run down the straightaway, that's what it's all about." WHAT HAPPENED ON THE LAST LAP TO JOE NEMECHEK? "When I saw he was going through the infield trying to save it, and I head later that he tried to run Matt (Kenseth) into the grass and Matt didn't give it up. With one lap to go I can hardly blame him. All day it's give and take. They run you in the grass when you get a run on them. What do you do? Do you turn the guy, or do you let off? Most of the day you let off, but when it gets down to crunch time, it's time to go and some of those guys don't let off for that. It was a great day and I'm glad that nobody got hurt." HOW DID THE RAIN DELAY AFFECT YOU? "It didn't. We just needed to work on our car a little bit throughout the day. The car was a little tight. I though the Ford would be able to turn under those guys, and it would have if we had more Fords behind me. With all those Pontiacs, those guys build cars just for one race, it might bring one little trophy home, but that big trophy it was it's all about, and that's what we're going for."

MARK GREEN-55-MSN Ford Taurus - "I usually do pretty good at the superspeedway stuff, but every time I picked a lane, it was the wrong one. We ran pretty good, and I'm happy with the Ford Taurus. We've just got to work on it a little bit. We had a tire rub pretty early on, and that hurt us. We bumped the fender changing the tires, and that kinda messed us up. I made a fool move and slipped through the pit, but all in all, we had a pretty good day." HOW WAS THE DRAFT? "There was some really good driving. There were one or two squirrelly moments, but these races are always like that."

Text Provided by Ford

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