Jimmie Johnson in the no. 48 Lowe'S Chevrolet was the highest qualifying RaybestosÂ® Rookie At Daytona. Johnson will start 16th in Saturday night's Pepsi 400. He and fellow RaybestosÂ® Rookie Ryan Newman have both been highest qualifying rookie...
Jimmie Johnson in the no. 48 Lowe'S Chevrolet was the highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie At Daytona. Johnson will start 16th in Saturday night's Pepsi 400. He and fellow Raybestos® Rookie Ryan Newman have both been highest qualifying rookie eight times this season. Johnson has been top qualiyfing rookie in all three restrictor plate races this season.
"We slowed down quite a bit from where we practiced at and relative to the other cars out there on the track with us from yesterday's practice sessions. It's one thing in the practice sessions when you roll through the room and come out the other side. Things change around on us a little bit in there getting prepared for qualifying. And on top of that, more than anything, we had a piece of tape on the nose of the car that covers up the air for the radiator. The tape started to come up and opened a pretty big opening on the nose of the car and we all know how much that will slow one down. We felt like we could have been around the lap time that Jeff (Gordon) had ran. Our cars had been pretty equal through all the speedway stuff that we had been through but we also made a conscious effort to change the nose on the car to help it more for the race. Handling is extremely important here in the race unlike at Talladega and we thought we were going to give up a little speed and not be as strong of a threat for the pole this time but we're okay with that because we figured we're going to have a lot better race car. Needless to say we're really excited about Saturday night and we think we're going to have a great race car. Michael Waltrip pointed out that we went so fast we blew the tape off the hood of the car so that couldn't have helped. We focused more on the race coming back and I think we've got a great race car for Saturday night and that's the most important thing."
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO DIFFERENT FOR THE RACE THAN YOU DID IN FEBRUARY?
"We ended up 15th which wasn't too bad. We went to Talladega and finished seventh so I as a driver have learned a lot more about the draft and what not to do. I think I've also earned some respect from these guys to where they will run with me and draft with me. At least I hope I won't cause the big pileup so I'm gaining confidence with them and we'll see what happens."
SHAWNA ROBINSON, NO. 49 DAKOTAIMAGINING/LIFE 02 WATER DODGE, QUALIFIED 27TH.
"You're going to see me smile just being back in the race car. As hard as it's been to not be in it, long term it's the right decision. We needed to just regroup and get cars built and get going in the right direction. As a group we're in a good place right now. My season is just starting. It was really planned this way. I really was only running the first few races to get started. Taking Michigan away was tough, but I think in the long term situation it will be better. We're going to Chicago and we're going to Indy. We're getting going here now. I'm going to be racing and that's all that matters."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR LAP?
"With where we were testing and where we were here in February we've picked up. The worked we've done has made an improvement. The thing about Daytona is if you have a great speedway car you really don't lose it; you always have a great speedway car. But if you don't have a very good one you really have to fight to get better. That's where we've been. We qualified 30th for the 500. I don't know where we'll end up today but we're safe. I'm happy with that. It doesn't matter where you start here, either. You've got get people to work with you, that'll be my battle. I think it's going to be a better race car than it is a qualifier and that was the case in Daytona in February."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR GOAL FOR THE RACE?
"I'm trying to be more competitive and at a plate track you have to look at it that way. I'm going with what the car will do and I've got to put it there."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 12 ALLTEL FORD, WILL START 39TH
"Overall, we're just searching for speed, trying to get the car to travel down and go down the straightaways. Hopefully we'll learn something in the draft that will make us more of a competitor than just in qualifying.
YOU RACED VERY WELL AT DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA EARLIER THIS YEAR. ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT YOU ARE STRUGGLING HERE TODAY?
"We lost an advantage that we had after Talladega that we shouldn't have lost. We're just trying to search for speed."