Chevrolet Sweeps Front Row For USG Sheetrock 400 Casey Mears Scores Pole for Chevrolet; Seven Monte Carlo SS Race Cars Qualify in the Top 10 at Chicago Joliet, Ill. - Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Monte Carlo SS, will start from the...
Chevrolet Sweeps Front Row For USG Sheetrock 400
Casey Mears Scores Pole for Chevrolet; Seven Monte Carlo SS Race Cars Qualify in the Top 10 at Chicago
Joliet, Ill. - Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Monte Carlo SS, will start from the pole position for Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Mears circled the 1.5-mile tri-oval with a lap of 29.580 seconds at 182.556 miles per hour to score his third career Bud Pole and first of the 2007 season. Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Monte Carlo SS, took the second position on the grid giving Team Chevy a sweep of the front row for Sunday's event.
"I'm happy to get my first pole here with Hendrick Motorsports in the National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet," said Mears. "It's just awesome. Obviously when we start something new you always want to do things right and to get a win this year and a pole - now we're in the All-Star race for sure next year and also in the Bud Shootout. (I'm) looking forward to next season for those and hopefully we can get some more before the year's out. I was real proud of the guys because we unloaded off the truck today and the thing just felt awesome."
Seven Team Chevy drivers qualified within the top 10 with Mark Martin starting fourth, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson in the fifth through eighth positions respectively. Sunday's race, the 19th stop on the Nextel Cup tour, will feature a total of 20 Monte Carlo SS race cars.
The USG Sheetrock 400 begins Sunday at 3 p.m. central standard time and will be broadcast live on TNT and MRN radio.
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 19th
HOW DID YOU FEEL OUT THERE TODAY AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THE WEEKEND? "I'm excited. My Home Depot Chevrolet feels pretty good. It has real good stability right now, and that's the biggest thing here. Even when we were behind cars today it seemed like it drove well, and this is a place where the aero push can be really bad, so track position is always important. It's just a matter of trying to keep our balance good all day long."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR TEAMMATE, DENNY HAMLIN, AT ALL YET? "That's for us to talk about and you guys to think about and worry about. That was last week and I'm on to this week. The more we talk to you guys about it the longer you guys drag it out and it makes our lives miserable. If I'd of just kept my mouth shut like I should've done I wouldn't have to worry about dealing with it this week."
YOU HAVE TEAMMATES OFF THE TRACK, BUT IS THERE SUCH A THING AS HAVING TEAMMATES ON THE TRACK? "Absolutely. You look at how Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have stayed up front in restrictor plate races for so long. They work together really well. Dale Jr. and I did the same thing for many years before guys figured that the more they could keep us separated on the race track the less of a threat him and I were together. It's definitely a proven deal."
YOU'RE HAVING A VERY GOOD SEASON, YET THERE HAVEN'T BEEN THE WINS THAT NORMALLY COME WITH A SEASON LIKE THE ONE YOU'RE HAVING. "We've had really good days. You look at where we were at Charlotte, you look at Sonoma and how we were running at the end, Bristol how we were running - we've had good days, we just haven't had the end results on the sheet to go with it. A lot of that is just circumstances of what's happened. But the good thing is that we're in position and we're running good enough to at least be in those situations where we know we've got a shot."
DOES THAT GRATE ON YOU AT ALL, OR DO YOU LOOK AT IT AS, 'WE HAD A GOOD DAY?' "I think we look at it from the standpoint that this series is so competitive, if you're just good enough to be running good enough at the end of a day like. it may not be exactly where you want to end up, but the consolation prize is that you weren't running 35th all day, going 'What do we have to do to get caught up to the rest of these guys?" Our packages are good, we just got to get a little luck to go on or side too."
WHAT KIND OF A GRADE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR TEAM RIGHT NOW? "I would give us an 'A' for effort. The results haven't necessarily been where we've wanted them to be, but it's not been because of a lack of effort. I really feel like there are places that we've typically struggled that we've actually been really good at this year. We ran really well at the spring Pocono race. Bristol, obviously, we were better than we've ever been at Bristol. So, places that we struggled at we've actually picked up, and some of the places we've been really good at historically, we still are good, we just need that little bit extra to get back into victory lane. So, I feel like we gained over last year."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified Fifth
TAKE US AROUND THIS CHICAGOLAND TRACK: "I got down into (Turn) 1 a little high, and got a little loose in the middle. But the car was there for me. It had a lot of grip. Tony Junior and my Budweiser team did a great job giving me what I needed for qualifying right there. I'm really, really proud of Martin (Truex Jr.) and the lap he ran and it would be great if we could be on the front row, but it would be hard for that to happen. I think there are some guys that can beat that. But two good laps for the DEI cars."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified Seventh
"Gill (Martin, crew chief) and everybody have been doing such a good job. We're getting close. We've just got to keep doing what we're doing. The important thing is to be in this Chase, obviously, when it's time. But we want to win a race. We want to get that out of the way and we want to do it this year. I can't think of a better place to do it than right here in Chicago."
-credit: gm racing