"With any luck this thing will stay
top-10 and we'll get a decent starting spot out of this. At Dover we had a
pretty decent racecar just got in a racing deal that you couldn't miss. But here
at Michigan there's a lot of room to miss things and if you stay up front for
most of the day you can miss a lot more just by being up front. We're starting
off good, we'll see if we can't finish it. We're looking for a good run for the
Jasper yellow color. The Jasper Engines Dodge hasn't done quite as well as we
have in the Kodak Dodge. We want to look good for the Jasper folks."
IS THIS THE
SAME CAR YOU RAN AT CALFORNIA?
"We couldn't bring the California car; that's the
one that crashed in happy hour at Charlotte. It was painted up with the Kodak
Easy Share colors and I think it's already done but we had to go with the Jasper
paint scheme this weekend so we went with car 25."
YOU STRUGGLED LAST WEEKEND AT
POCONO BUT BOUNCED BACK STRONG HERE TODAY.
"This is a great race team. We've got
a lot of great people, lot of good help with Rusty and Ryan's teams. Matt Lukas
and Shane Wilson, my engineer and crew chief, Roy McCauley, the other engineers,
have done a great job of putting this thing together. Michigan was good to me
last year in the trucks and we'll see if we can't make it good to us in the
YOU WON THE TRUCK RACE LAST YEAR. HOW MUCH DO YOU LIKE THIS TRACK?
a fun place. It's close to Mr. Penske's home and also close to our Jasper
Engines home in Jasper, Indiana. The Midwest is a big market for both of those
guys; they both like to race here. Roger has done very well here in the past.
Ryan and I would love to continue that work and I wouldn't mind putting my name
in the hat with it. Our truck was really dominant here last year. We had a great
Dodge and it really kicked butt around this place. Right now, I'd just like to
have the Jasper Engines car be as balanced. That's what made it so nice last
year: it was balanced. It had nothing to do with being a Raybestos Rookie or not
being a rookie. It was balanced and when racecars are good, the balance comes
easy. This is a good racecar here. We're pretty happy. The car feels fairly
good. We've got a little quirkiness in it that I'm unhappy with but as a driver
we're always unhappy. That Orleans Dodge that I won Texas with four times [in
the truck series] I was never happy with [smiles]. I'm never going to be happy
until we've got a lead like Jimmie or Ryan and then I'll say maybe it's OK."
PICKED UP TWO-TENTHS FROM PRACTICE.
"Some guys are picking up, some guys are
slowing down. This year as a Raybestos Rookie I'm the only guy that can gain a
second in qualifying and four-tenths on his second lap. Roy McCauley our
engineer says 'OK, look: the second lap thing I can do but when you change three
springs and four shocks right before you go qualify you're got to feel it out
the first lap.' We showed up here pretty close and had a good practice. It only
took two-tenths to get where we needed to be and I do still like qualifying."
ARE YOU SURPRISED TO RUN SO WELL WITH THIS CAR?
"We only ran this Dodge once
before this year and it was when we were struggling with a lot of other issues.
The guys at the shop did a great job putting it together. Took that extra fine
tune massage and put into it and when it rolls off at the racetrack it's so much
easier to be decent and make it better than to be out to lunch and try to just
get it in the ballgame. This one was decent at the start. We were able to get it
in the ballgame pretty easy. I'm pretty fired up."