CONCORD, NC -- Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, and his Steve Letarte led Hendrick Motorsports team will start in the second position for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway. With a perfect run of...
CONCORD, NC -- Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, and his Steve Letarte led Hendrick Motorsports team will start in the second position for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
With a perfect run of 02:02.494 minutes that included a flawless pit stop by the DuPont Chevrolet over-the-wall crew put the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion on the outside of the front row for the non-points paying event.
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Impala SS, and his Dale Earnhardt, Inc. crew put together a great effort to secure the fourth starting position.
Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS and Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniels Impala SS also scored top-10 starting positions. Burton will start seventh and Bowyer ninth in the four-segment race for a $1 million dollar prize.
A total of nine (9) Impala SS drivers qualified for the All-Star. The top-two finishers Sprint Showdown and one driver voted to start the All-Star by the fans.
JEFF GORDON , NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN.
"It was great to put that solid of a run together. Good lap on the track. I felt like I gave up a little bit getting to pit road but it's still pretty decent. The guys had a great stop. My guys have been on fire in the pits. Showed it at Darlington and several races this year and they bust off a great stop. Car felt really good on the track. Certainly knew that Kyle (Busch) was going to be tough to beat. We felt like he would be faster than us on the track. Of course you know he's going to be aggressive getting on to pit road and those are the areas that he beat us. So congratulations to those guys and we're gonna be real happy and thrilled with our outside front row start. It's been a while since we've been there."
WHO IS GOING TO THROW A NET OVER KYLE OR SOMETHING TO SLOW HIM DOWN? OBVIOUSLY YOU'VE BEEN IN A POSITION BEFORE WHERE YOU JUST BASICALLY WALKED AROUND AND FELT LIKE PEOPLE HAD TO BE LOOKING TO TRIP YOU UP, SHOOT YOUR TIRES OUT OR SOMETHING TO SLOW YOU DOWN, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT I GUESS IS THE QUESTION?
"Because I've been on both sides of it, probably understand it as well as anybody and it's a great feeling when the momentum is on your side, the cars are working, everything is just coming together at the right time and when it's like that. We preached ourselves a lot through the '98 season and some of the great years that we've had over the years, it's about yourself. It about you not allowing yourself to mess it up and I believe the same thing is really the case for the guys on the 18 team. I think right now and I said earlier when I was in here, if Kyle can manage his aggressiveness because sometimes it does get the best of him, if he can manage that I don't think anybody can touch him right now. With as strong as that team is and as aggressive and as talented as Kyle is, and so it's really themselves that they have to worry about and think about and that's a good problem to have. You're not thinking worrying about the competition too much all though I'll say Carl Edwards was really strong today in practice and I know he didn't qualify good but over the next couple of weeks I'll be anxious to see how he runs once the green flag drops.
HOW BADLY DOES THE SPORT NEED A RIVALRY LIKE THE ONE THAT'S BUILDING BETWEEN KYLE AND CARL?
"It's always good. I think that you always want to have the fans able to really truly be avid and loyal toward there guy and usually that means that there's got to be somebody out there that they got to pull against. It took me a lot of years to understand that because I didn't understand when I first started getting booed and some of the reactions by the fans, but now I understand it more than ever and appreciate it and know that it's definitely a good thing for the sport. I like the old Tony Stewart. I liked it when he was pushing cameramen around and causing controversy. I love Tony. He knows I mess with him about it all the time. I love it when he's stirring it up like that because it's entertaining. It's entertaining for me and I know it's entertaining for you and the fans. Kyle sometimes puts his foot in his mouth, but it's entertaining. He does and says some things that you question and he might question later, but he backs it up by being a very talented race car driver and it's all entertaining and this sport we all recognize is as much about entertainment as it is about competition. It's a fine line between the two but we know we got to be entertaining for the sport to grow and be popular but we're all racers out there trying to be competitive and win races as well."
OBVIOUSLY THIS RACE HAS BEEN, YOU HAVE AN INCREDIBLE RECORD IN THIS RACE AS IS IN MOST RACES, TALK ABOUT THE FORMAT, TALK ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE ALL-STAR RACE, OBVIOUSLY THE CAR WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE TRACK POSITION. WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE NUANCES OF THE RACE THIS YEAR?
"Every year I come to the race track on Friday before the All-Star race and I say what's the format because it's changed so many times over the years. I was actually during qualifying asking some guys on my team to tell me okay now, 25 and a pit stop, then 25 and a break, and then 25 and what, so at this point I'm going to leave it up to the crew chief. I'm going to tell him what the car is doing. I like the format. I always liked the 10-lap shootout at the end. I thought that was a little more exciting, but I do know that if a guy gets back in sixth or seventh or eighth it sometimes is tough if he's got a good car to get himself to the front and that might be the case again except for depending on who comes off pit road. It's going to be tough to pass, we've got a wide race track. I mean you saw them, they were up at the top, in the middle and the bottom. I do think it's going to be tough to pass and I think it's going to be a great All-Star event. I think that the four 25-lap segments -- I'll probably have to comment once it's over because I think it's good but I'm not really sure until I go through it."
-credit: gm racing