Brian Scott: "This Chevy SS was really fast, and we were able to get the draft and the right suck (up) right there at the last second to get the pole."
BRIAN SCOTT, NO. 33 WHITETAIL CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER
"It was a team effort. Big thanks to Joe Falk, Circle Sport Racing; everybody at RCR/ECR Engines. It is always a team effort to get these superspeedway poles. We had a plan from the beginning to work as a team. About seven of us in a line. (Ryan) Newman was leading it; he was the point man, and I know how that feels because I was the point man in the Nationwide car yesterday. You feel like you don't really have a shot, but you do it to be a team player. It is awesome for everybody at Richard Childress Racing, Shore Lodge, Chevrolet. This Chevy SS was really fast, and we were able to get the draft and the right suck (up) right there at the last second to get the pole, and I couldn't be more happy for everybody."
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 RICHMOND/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 2ND
DESCRIBE THAT LAST MINUTE AND A HALF OF ON-TRACK TIME AND THE THOUGHT PROCESS OF WAITING SO LONG: “I had the easy job; we gave (Ryan) Newman the hard job to decide when to go. I was just kind of hanging out there. I actually passed Brian (Scott). I was the last guy in line. And I passed Brian because I didn’t think we were going to have enough time to make an additional lap. So, it worked out good for him. It worked out good for us. The top six were ECR Motors and all the affiliates of RCR, so I couldn’t be happier.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 BUSH’S BEANS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 3RD
"They told me I was going to run with all the RCR cars, and I said ‘perfect, it just makes sense. I think it just shows the more cars around here, you get more cars in a line is going to be faster. The great thing about RCR and the ECR package is we are all even. So it's not like we think their cars are faster. It just made sense to get us all lined up and get us all in a pack in a pack. Like the others said, Ryan (Newman) being the most experiences, it was up to him about when to go and when not to go. I think especially those last two runs there, those last two groups there, he did a great job.
He timed it out to get behind that first big pack in the second group, and then it was just a waiting game in the third group, and when he decided to go, it was the right time. For us, we feel very fortunate, and Richard (Childress) has been so helping in this alliance. He has opened the doors to his shop and given us a great opportunity to have good race cars to go out there every weekend and keep trying to build this one-car team and make us better as a whole. I feel if we can be better, we can bring something back to the RCR team. It's been working out. So when they said we are working together, I had no questions about it."
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 5TH
"I'm just very proud of RCR and our affiliates. We've all been working really hard to work together, and that shows. Just really happy for RCR and ECR and everybody just because we were able to stick together. Like Paul (Menard) said, we put it on Ryan (Newman) and he deserves a lot of that credit for telling us when to go and when not to. It was hard in that first session to stay with the plan because there was so much going on. In the second session, he did a great job of taking charge and getting us in that second pack. I'm really happy to have a good starting position for the Bass Pro Shops Chevy. I think we all have good cars for Sunday's race."
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 7TH
WHAT WAS THIS EXPERIENCE LIKE? “It was an experience. Just talking to Kevin (Harvick) after it was over with we weren’t in a bad spot right there at the end, but we needed one more lap, the two of us probably could have maybe gotten a good run that last lap. There was just enough coming from the first group to help the second group not be a little bit slower and help us catch him. You have just got to be at the back. So it’s quite the standoff. Kevin (Harvick) suggested ‘man it’s almost like you need to split the group in half’ because there is just not enough people with 12. Maybe they will see the format and think of something different. I don’t know, but it requires a lot of people for sure to be entertaining. Luckily it wasn’t the ultimate entertainment being wrecked cars.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 8TH
ON THE QUALIFYING SESSION: “It was way more fun than our normal qualifying session for sure. For us it just didn’t time out exactly right there at the end. I thought we were in the right spot, just a little bigger group ahead of us.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 11TH
ON WHAT IT WAS LIKE DURING KNOCK-OUT QUALIFYING AT TALLADEGA: “I knew it was going to be intense and pretty wild. It certainly lived up to that. You just have no idea how close you are at every moment of having a crash. I feel very fortunate that we were able to get into the final round. I thought that where we drew really kind of did it all because we were near the Stewart-Haas guys the No. 14 and the No. 4. That sort of was our hand. It worked out. There at the end unfortunately it was a cat and mouse game. We flinched first and we needed to wait even longer.”
THERE ARE 11 CHEVROLET’S IN THE TOP 12 DID YOU SEE A LOT OF PEOPLE WORKING WITH THEIR MANUFACTURER? “The Childress ones obviously did the best job because all those Childress engines are what is at the top. It really became a numbers game. They just had more in their group than we had in our group. We needed a couple of more Hendrick Chevrolet’s to make it to that final round and we would have been as good as them and then it would have been really interesting.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/VALSPAR RESERVE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 20TH
“My strategy and agenda had things very calm. But we just didn’t want to be in a big wad of cars and I was fortunate to get enough help to transfer and be third on that first one. We just didn’t want to be 43rd. We didn’t have any intentions of trying to go out and sit on the pole today. We want to save this race car. We didn’t want to be caught up in any chaos. So we wanted to post a decent time so that we didn’t have the last pit stall pick and we certainly accomplished that. But when I got it right on the first run, I thought okay, maybe we do have a shot for the pole. So we tried it again on the second one and I just left too big of a gap and I couldn’t close up to the cars in front of me. I was kind of a single car draft out there (laughs) the way it turned out.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW LONG GUYS ACTUALLY STAYED OUT THERE? “You don’t have a choice, really. But if you’re in a transfer position, the best thing you can do is get off the road. So that first 24, if you pull out, there’s half as many cars out there to get a pole from. So as soon as those first 24 were comfortable, they’d peel off the road and now you have half the energy out there to benefit from. And the numbers are just working against you. It’s the same thing in that second session. I didn’t get it on my first our second lap and I knew we were in trouble. And then we all sat out there riding around at half-throttle waiting for someone to go to suck-up behind them; and why are you going to be the rabbit for somebody and benefit them? So everybody just kind of pulls in.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 29TH
"For us, we got out there in a group, and I guess the officials made us come down pit road for something, and we lost our group and lost our plan there. We had to form up on whatever was out there and just couldn't get the tagged on to the right group to go fast enough. It sucks to qualify back there, but it doesn't really matter a whole lot I don't think. Our Target Chevy was fast in practice yesterday, and it should be a good race tomorrow."
ON THE QUALIFYING SESSION: “We went out with a group and then we had to come back down and kind of lost out group that we were forming. So then whenever I did go back out I had to form-up on whatever was out there. And people had already made their quick laps so they came down pit road and the amount of cars out there just got smaller and smaller, so the speeds for us got slower and slower. So, it was frustrating.”
“I don’t know if I really like it (qualifying) here on superspeedways. It’s a little dangerous and it’s not very fun I don’t think.”
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD AN ADVANTAGE BECAUSE YOU DID THIS YESTERDAY IN NNS? “I don’t know if it’s any more advantage. Everybody watches it. So, they kind of understand how it goes. It seemed like it was a little bit better today because nobody was waiting for somebody to go out. They just kind of backed out of the stall and went. So, that was better.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 30TH
"I don't think anybody had a plan there. You just go out there and run, and however you can finish is how you can finish really. I don't know what we could have done differently. You just go out there and run in the draft so it's hard to put up; the fastest lap. We're not too worried about it. We'll get to pick a pretty decent (pit) stall and that's about all. There isn't much else to it; pretty boring really. I don't know if that is the answer at these places. We probably could run some heat races, or something like that. It would be more fun than that."
JUST HOW CRAZY IS IT OUT THERE? WAS IT WHAT YOU EXPECTED? “It just wasn’t much fun. We were out there in the draft riding along. I don’t know. We just didn’t run a fast enough lap with the people we were around. It wasn’t a whole lot of fun to be honest with you. But, I’d like to do some heat races or something maybe. That would be a little bit more fun than this.”
WHAT MAKES IT NOT FUN? WHAT MAKES IT DIFFICULT? “It’s just for the plate tracks. It’s pretty obvious what it is. When qualifying at a typical track, you go out there and you just run a fast lap.”
JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 38TH
“It was definitely not what I expected. We watched what was going on in the Nationwide Series. I would say we took what the Nationwide Series did to another level right there. The only really good lap we had, the cars were starting to come back through the pack and had to get out of it. So, we definitely didn’t get the qualifying we wanted to for our Brandt Chevy. But we have a really strong race car and I’m hoping that today is nothing like what we’re going to see tomorrow.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE/THANKAMILLONTEACHERS.COM CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 42nd AFTER TIME WAS DISALLOWED FOR FAILING POST QUALIFYING INSPECTION
“Well, the second round was much different than the first round. The first round, you wanted to get the big draft with a big group of cars and find that spot and suck-up to it was the speed. The second one was how big the pack was because everybody ran single file. So it was just a lot different. There were three or four different ideas between teams and they left that way and nobody used each other. So, that was just kind of how it worked.”
WAS IT SIMILAR TO THE NATIONWIDE QUALIFYING YESTERDAY? “It was similar. I just was in the first round yesterday and that part of it was pretty similar, yeah.”
WHAT WOULD YOU THINK OF HAVING HEAT RACES? “Yeah; this is as far away from qualifying as you can get. So, you might as well throw a heat race.”