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NASCAR Winston Cup ITW DeVilbiss 400: Ford Qualifying Quotes

16 August 1997

BROOKLYN, MI - The following provided by Ford Motorsports Public 

 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Ford First Round Qualifying Quotes
 ITW DeVilbiss 400
 Michigan Speedway
 August 15, 1997
MARK MARTIN (#6 Valvoline Thunderbird) - Qualified 2nd - "That's going to be 
better than we have been doing. We got a not-so-good draw. Having to go out 
second at 4:35, the track is going to get faster and faster. We had the 
fastest lap in practice, but that was probably a lucky lap. Then we picked up 
another tenth qualifying, and that was probably the weather. I'm sure that 
people can beat that, but I believe we're going to be better off than we have 
been being. I feel like we have made a step. We've been strong since we've 
been on the race track today, so I'm happy. We were 31st at Indy, and I said 
then that I couldn't take that anymore. That's digging yourself in a deep 
hole. We have been coming out of it in the race, because our cars race so 
good and we have good pit stops and everybody has been doing a great job. If 
we can get inside the top 10, I'll be pretty happy. For awhile, I thought
qualifying 12th and 13th was bad, but then I got used to that and went to 
Indy and qualified 31st. I though 13th was good after that. I've been wanting 
to do better in qualifying. We had been working at it and not making any 
progress. But this should make the top 10, and that's better than we've been 

RICK MAST (#75 Remington Arms Thunderbird) - Qualified 21st - "We unloaded 
pretty fast. The car was fast out of the box. We did a mock run and the car 
was real fast through (turns) 1 and 2, but I got it too loose in 3 and 4. 
We'll take that. We felt like we could run a little better, but we'll take 
that and go Sunday."

BILL ELLIOTT (#94 McDonald's Thunderbird) - Qualified 24th - "That felt a lot 
better than it ran. That was one of them deals where I thought it would be 
better that it was, it just wouldn't go nowhere. I feel like the car is in 
great shape. I thought the lap was better than it came out. I think it will 
run good Sunday. We didn't run good in qualifying the last time here, but we 
ran good in the race, and that's all that matters as far as I'm concerned."

JEREMY MAYFIELD (#37 Kmart/RC Cola Thunderbird) - Qualified 12th - "We're 
happy with that. We knew we had a shot at the pole, but we didn't know if we 
could run as fast as Mark and those guys. We'll take that. That's as quick as 
we've run all day. We're getting better and better at qualifying. We're not 
letting it distract our race efforts, but we're definitely working on our 
qualifying and we're getting better every week."

RUSTY WALLACE (#2 Miller Lite Thunderbird) - Did not qualify; 42nd fastest - 
"We're struggling. I've been having a heckuva time trying to get it running. 
We cannot get the speed out of the thing. I went into turn 3 and got a little 
sideways and it hurt me. But still, I need to get down into the .70s to even 
get a decent qualifying lap. I'm way off, and I don't know what to tell you, 
except we're going to have to work real hard and try to get it pulled out. 
The last few weeks of qualifying have been horrible, except for Watkins Glen, 
and I can get around that place with my eyes closed. But this place has been 
a tough deal."

TED MUSGRAVE (#16 Family Channel/PRIMESTAR Thunderbird) - Qualified 7th - 
"That's not as good as I thought it was going to be. I should have heated the 
motor up more. The oil temperature was kinda cool. The race track has changed 
a lot. The car got a little tighter. It's got to be about 15 degrees cooler 
and the track temperature has got to be about 30 degrees cooler than it was. 
The guys did good. Anytime we can get near the front here, we're going to run 
good. I just wish we could have gotten the pole. This is the same car we have 
run good with everywhere else. We got wrecked there at Indianapolis, but the 
guys worked really hard and put all new sheet metal on it, and it appears to 
be balanced the same way. Hopefully, we can stay in the top 10 and get a good 
run here. That's all we need to be up close to the front again and try to 
lead the most laps again."

DICK TRICKLE (#90 Heilig-Meyers Thunderbird) - Qualified 9th - "We've got a 
brand-new car here. I've got to thank the Heilig-Meyers people. I hope this 
sells some furniture for 'em. They give us a lot of support. Junie Donlavey 
(car owner) has put together a good group of guys. We've got a bunch of new 
guys and a brand-new car that has never been run before. That's our best lap 
of the day. We'll take it. The setup wasn't near what it needed to be, but we 
changed everything. Hopefully, this will get us in the first day."

JEFF BURTON (#99 Exide Batteries Thunderbird) - Qualified 5th - "That feels 
like a pole. We have struggled a lot here the last few weeks in qualifying. 
We're running really well today. We'll take that. That will get us in the top 
10 and get us ready to race. It's not the pole, but Mark (Martin) and I have 
both struggled in qualifying while Ted (Musgrave) has been kicking our butts. 
We came here with a little something different. Maybe it has taught us a 
little bit, and we'll get the qualifying better. Ted has been qualifying 
good. He's been fast everywhere. Mark is normally really good at qualifying 
and I've never been good at it. We copied a little of what Ted has been doing 
and added a few things from what Mark and them felt like they were missing."

ERNIE IRVAN - (#28 Texaco/Havoline Thunderbird) - Qualified 20th - "That's 
not bad. The car felt a lot better than I thought it was gonna. We weren't 
all that great in practice. We changed a few things. I think the race track 
is not as hot now. I'm probably going to start in about the same spot I 
started in last time, so maybe we can win it again."

GEOFF BODINE - (#7 QVC Thunderbird) - Qualified 10th - "The car ran good. It 
stuck good. It handled good. I guess we don't have to worry about 
requalifying, and that's good. It's been a good day. Everything went pretty 
smooth. We picked up from practice, and that's good. I could have gone a 
little harder. The car stuck really good. That's what qualifying is all 
about, trying to get the most out of it, and I didn't get all of it out. 
There's still more left here. But it's still a good run for us. We're getting 
back to fun."

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW CREW MEMBER? - "Brewer. I said what kind of 
title do you want, and he said, 'I don't want a title, just call me Brewer.' 
Brewer is back, and we're glad he is. He brings a lot of experience about 
this business and a lot of respect from a lot of people, including myself. 
He's definitely a plus and a positive addition to the team. I'm glad he's 
here. Just because we had a good run last week, I've been telling people, 
'Don't think we have solved all our problems with this team.' We need to 
rebuild this team. We're short of people still. Tim is working on that with 
Pat (Tryson, crew chief) to get more people here. Our engine program is back 
on track. We qualify our engines and we race PRO motors. We need to work on 
some cars and some bodies, so it's going to take a little more time to get 
things fixed.

"We've got a new attitude. The attitude is, hopefully we'll go back home to 
North Carolina with some gold, just like the color of the car. The new colors 
didn't jinx, and we're happy with that. Everybody kinda likes these new 
colors, including myself. We're excited about the rest of the weekend. Tim 
Brewer is with us now as team manager, helping put this team back together, 
and his impact has already paid off today."

MORGAN SHEPHERD (#77 Jasper Engines/Federal Mogul Thunderbird) - Qualified 
15th - "You just wouldn't believe it. We couldn't make a lap on the race 
track this morning. We had a steering problem. The guys put three new 
hoses in. The guys didn't even put on new tires or nothing. We were scared 
to. But the Jasper guys never gave up."

DALE JARRETT (#88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Thunderbird) - Qualified 4th - 
"That's not bad. It's been a long afternoon. The guys worked their tails off. 
We had an engine, that on the last two runs, didn't feel exactly right. The 
last run we lost a couple hundred rpms and we had to change the engine. These 
guys worked like crazy to get all that done. It's a pretty long process to 
change an engine and get ready for qualifying. This is a good engine and the 
car was just super. This is an awesome race car."