Rookie driver Jimmie Johnson put his Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a new track record of 186.464 mph. This was Johnson's third Bud Pole award of the year (he sat on the pole at the ...
Rookie driver Jimmie Johnson put his Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a new track record of 186.464 mph. This was Johnson's third Bud Pole award of the year (he sat on the pole at the Daytona 500 and the Talladega 500) and the richest ever in NASCAR Winston Cup history with a $41,000 award.
Other Chevy drivers to qualify in the top 15 were Dale Earnhardt Jr., Robby Gordon, and Mike Skinner. Gordon will compete in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. Comments follow.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo (Winner of the Bud Pole with a new track record of 186.464 mph in 28.960 seconds. He collected $41,000 - the richest pole award in Winston Cup history): "This car has been fast. We tested it a couple of weeks ago to get ready for this race and it's been fast since we unloaded. Unfortunately, we drew a very early number and this place is extremely sensitive to temperature changes. It's only going to get faster. I think the tires that the Goody's Dash cars are running on put down a real soft base for our cars to stick to. We saw it wearing away during practice. I just hope it wears off before it gets too cool and these guys can beat that (his time). If anybody can go faster, they can have it. That's all I had."
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 6th):
"It (qualifying) won't make a lot of difference - as far as where you finish in the race, but it's bragging rights here. There's so much hard work and effort in these cars. Even when it's the pole, the slightest thing up for grabs - these guys want it."
Robby Gordon, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 12th)
On NASCAR's penalty given to Kurt Busch for intentionally driving into another competitor's car during last Saturday's The Winston
"Where's the probation?"
On today's practice for the Indy 500
"We ran a 223 (mph) full of methanol today. I was pleased with it. We were glued to the track. As that fuel burns off, we can probably pick another two or three miles an hour which would be at 225 or 226 which I believe is about what they were running today."
On qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600
"We are pleased with it. Looks like we might stay in the top 10. As long as we can qualify up there, we'll race good. With today's technology, I asked NASCAR earlier if I could videoconference in to the driver's meeting so I don't have to go to the back. They said they'd think about it. Nobody has ever asked that question before. People can run billion dollar companies through video conferencing, so why can't I go to the drivers meeting through a videoconference? They are supposed to let me know tomorrow. So TBA."
On the Indy Car ownership
"It's a 50/50 deal between Childress and Menard. They are Menard's cars and at the end of the deal, they're still his cars. That's what it takes to run a competitive effort at Indianapolis. And Richard (Childress) is going to come down and call the race from pit lane, so I'm pretty excited about it."
On his mindset to run both races on Sunday: Now that we've qualified, I'm going to take a deep breath and let it all sink in. We're in both field and that's the biggest thing."
Mike Skinner, No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 13th):
"We had a great qualifying draw. The racetrack had a lot of grip. The No. 4 car might not be the best car here, but it is right in there with the top pack. I left a tenth on the table. We didn't run another lap because we didn't want to take any chances."
On today's unveiling of the Looney Tunes Monte Carlos: "I'm honored to be invited to participate in the Looney Tunes rematch again this year. We had fun doing the program last year. There are no bones about it; I'm a Looney Tunes fan. I actually sit and watch the cartoons at times.
"We were real disappointed last year when a Monte Carlo didn't win the race. So Yosemite Sam and I are gong to try to give 'em a shoot 'em up finish in the Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond.
"Yosemite Sam fits my personality well. He is sort of a cowboy villain type who goes out and hunts down the competition. That is exactly what Morgan-McClure Motorsports plans to do. We are going back to Richmond looking to park the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo and Yosemite Sam in victory lane with our guns smoking."