CONCORD, N.C. - Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, qualified fifth to be the fastest of the 17 Team Chevy drivers set to start Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will start the No. 48 Lowe's Summer Salute Chevrolet from the sixth position for the 400-lap/600-mile race. Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, is the third Chevrolet driver to secure a top-10 starting position, qualifying 10th in the 43-car field.
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 5th:
ON HIS LAP “Obviously you always hate to be first in practice and not first in qualifying, but that’s good nonetheless. Obviously we’ve had a tough year and feel like this has always been a good race track for us. Hopefully we can get a good night. It’s good for us to start there and that’s our best effort of the year and that will help us with our pit stall and I’m real happy with that. I’m a little disappointed because we gave up a little bit from where we were in practice but nonetheless I’m still happy with that.”
... it’s a long race and a lot of things take place.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S SUMMER SALUTE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 6th:
“It wasn’t bad. We had a good practice session and a good qualifying session. I would have liked to have been up there in the top three for the optimal pick on pit road but we’ll take that.”
WHAT IS THE KEY IN THE 600 MARATHON? “Well, it’s a long race and a lot of things take place. So it’s tough to pinpoint just one thing. In a compromise I would say that probably the best phrase to use is that it starts in the day and ends at night. And then what we saw with tire strategy playing out through the All-Star weekend, pit road strategy and what you do there might be a big part of this. Fuel mileage could be an issue. So you’ve got to be on your toes.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 12TH:
“We didn’t back-up the position we ran in practice. It was a good effort. I’m not happy with it. But we did what we thought was right and just came up short today.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MOEN/MENARD’S CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 16th:
“I screwed up a little bit getting into (Turn) 3. We got through (Turns) 1 and 2 so good. I was just trying to get it all in (Turn) 3 and got in it a little bit too hard and it kind of came around on me a little bit and I had to wait on it and settle back down so I could get to the gas. I hurt my guys a little bit but hopefully that will end up in the top 10 right there and that will be a good starting spot for the team.”
ON HURTING HIS RIGHT FOOT THIS PAST WEEK “I stepped on a piece of metal on my boat ramp (right foot) and sliced it open.”
DO YOU HAVE STITCHES? “Yeah, there are 20 stitches.”
WILL YOU HAVE TO USE ANY SPECIAL PADDING OR ANYTHING FOR SUNDAY’S RACE? “Yeah, there’s a carbon insert in my foot that we kind of cut around. The wound is on the outside of the foot. It’s on the bottom but toward the outside behind my pinky toe. They cut out a piece of carbon for the other side to make it stiffer. And it’s fine. There’s no pain or anything, it’s just that the doctors are worried about it ripping open and then if it rips the stitches, then it’s a big deal with infection and stuff.
“Right now, what’s throwing me off the most right now is that my shoes are too big. I had to get bigger shoes for my right foot. Well, they both are. It’s hitting the gas pedal wrong. So I’m going to have to find some different shoes and I’ll be okay.”
IT’S THE RIGHT FOOT? “Yes.”
YOU CAN STILL WEAR THE REGULAR LEFT FOOT SHOE “Yeah, and I look goofy.”
DO YOU HAVE TO WATCH HOW MUCH PAIN KILLER MEDICATION YOU’RE TAKING TOO? “There is no pain. I’m not even taking pain killers. I’ve just got my antibiotics. They’re just worried about infection.”
HOW DID YOU DO IT AGAIN? “I stepped on a piece of metal on my dock.”
WHERE DID IT COME FROM? “The dock slopes and there’s a walkway so it’s on rollers so as it goes up and down it moves with the dock, and I stepped on a steel roller.”
DID YOU GO TO THE DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY OR DID YOU THINK IT WASN’T THAT BAD? “Well, I walked up to the house and got in the shower and it (blood) was gushing out pretty good so we had to go to ER.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER/ARMED FORCES CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 28th:
ON HIS QUALIFYING: "It is still not going to be great but everyone on our Budweiser Chevrolet team did a great job just getting it competitive. I feel like we are going to be fine in race trim. We just have been off since we unloaded in qualifying trim. We'll keep at it. That is better than where we were in practice, so that is an improvement.
TALK ABOUT YOUR SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME: "Budweiser is a big supporter of our troups so we are running a special scheme this week. Kind of our jet-fighter flat black scheme paying tribute to all of those who serve."
YOU HAVE TWO WINS SO FAR, DO YOU HAVE SOME LEISURE TO TRY SOME THINGS THAT IN PREPARATION FOR THE CHASE? "I think we have already tried most of the things and have settled in on a direction we want to go at certain types of race tracks. We'll keep doing those things and fine-tune that package for the Chase."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 25th:
ON HIS QUALIFYING: "I don't if it is one of the best cars we've had in qualifying. “We've got this feeling we are looking for. We got closer to it. We've been terrible all year long in qualifying and today not much better with the grip and the way the car felt in the direction we need to go. We had a real big wiggle in the middle of one and two and jumped up the track and lost some time there. We are gaining on it. Our car was great today when we unloaded in race trim. We were faster than everyone that was around us. I look forward to the race."
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE MILITARY ON YOUR CAR? "We are representing a lot of guys with the National Guard and we are just real proud to have that opportunity. Proud to be partnered up with them and looking forward to having a good race this weekend, making them proud and doing a good job for the National Guard. It is a big responsibility and this weekend is all about being thankful for everything that the service men and women do for us oversees and here and at home. They do a lot and sacrifice a lot for us. It is all about making sure they get recognition for that this weekend."
We'll just work from where we start.
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22nd:
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: "It was pretty good in one and two. We've heard a lot of guys talking about not getting their cars turning down in three and four so I probably turned a little bit early but I made sure I got down and probably gave up a little time there. We made a pretty good gain there. We just didn't gain as much as we would have liked but there are some guys that were faster than us in practice that we have beat already. Probably going to end up 18th-20th in that range but you have 600 miles. If you don't get there, it doesn't matter whether you start first or 43rd, if you have a car that is going to win the race; you are going to win the race no matter where you start. We just have to do our thing."
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 20th:
ON HIS QUALIFYING: "Not as good as we wanted to be. We struggled a little bit all day and just didn't quite hit on it in Q-trim there. The car was loose because we were tight up until then, we just weren't fast enough."
DOES IT MATTER WHERE YOU START IN A 600 MILE RACE? "It matters a lot. If we get a 100-lap segment in the beginning and it is green and you don't have a chance to tune on it, whoever the leader is gets in that clean air, I think it makes a big deal where you start. You want to start further forward. We'll just work from where we start."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 11th:
ON HIS EFFORT: "It was a good lap for the Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet team but it wasn't a great lap. Coming to the green, it definitely didn't stick the way I was hoping it would. It kind of made me a little nervous. It made me a little bit hesitant to attack three and four like I needed to to be on the pole. The car definitely has got it in it. These guys showed it last week and been showing it today. It is a decent lap. We can do it from there."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RACE? "We were feeling good from the All-Star Race, this is the same car that we had there. Obviously in the Drive To End Hunger colors on it this weekend. The car felt good. That wasn't my best lap. I knew that we weren't going to be on the pole and you always wish you could do it over again.
“The car is definitely driving really good and we just missed it just a slight bit there. The All-Star Race was great for us. The car was good and we feel like we learned some things from that. I think that we can definitely show that in the 600 this weekend."
I just tried to get it all in three ...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 13th:
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: "Our car has got speed but it is playing hide and seek with us. Showed itself a time or two and we've been seeking the rest of the time. That is fairly decent. But, you know, there was more there, we just didn't get every bit of it. Every ounce of it. Last week we qualified a little too loose, tonight we qualified a little too tight. It will be ok. We are up ahead of a lot of good cars and we are going to have a lot of good cars ahead of us."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 10th:
ON HIS QUALIFYING: "I screwed up a little bit getting into three. Got through one and two so good, I just tried to get it all in three and got in there a little bit too hard and it kind of come around on me a little bit and had to wait on it to settle back down so I could get to the gas. Hurt my guys a little bit. But that will be a good starting spot for the big, long race."
-source: team chevy