Fontana II: Chevy drivers qualifying quotes

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 5th "That ended up being a great lap. It didn't feel as if it was going to be a top time, but we'll take it. If you've got a loose car and it takes a while to get it to wide-open, it ...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 5th "That ended up being a great lap. It didn't feel as if it was going to be a top time, but we'll take it. If you've got a loose car and it takes a while to get it to wide-open, it feels good from the seat but it just doesn't produce a lap and I learned that in the Busch car. I think I've got a good Busch car for the race, but the Cup car was tight and I was really able to hustle it to get to wide open and it ran a good lap. So all in all, I'm excited and don't know what to expect for the race really, but I know my Lowe's guys are going to work their butts of with great stops and great strategy and we'll be there when it counts."

(ON BEING LOCKED INTO THE CHASE) "We're really trying to take these last two races (before the Chase) and treat them like they were the final 10 and put the pressure on ourselves and get used to it and get comfortable with it and start that process. We're locked in, so in the backs of our minds we're comfortable with that. But it's go-time and it's time to put it all out there."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 6th "We ran the exact same time we ran in practice. The Roush cars are really, really fast right now. Jimmie (Johnson) stepped it up. He didn't make a qualifying run in practice. So we've got Hendrick cars up there, not as far up as we'd like to be, but it's very encouraging they way the DuPont Chevrolet has been running this weekend. We're fast in practice, but this is a very solid effort as far as I'm concerned of where we're going to be starting on Sunday."

(DID YOU MAKE MANY QUALIFYING RUNS DURING PRACTICE?) "No, we spent a lot more time in race trim. Hopefully we've got the best of both. Most guys are focused on the race, but they seem to find a way to get them qualified up front as well."

J.J. YELEY, NO. 11 FEDEX FREIGHT CHEVROLET Qualified 8th "Our FedEx Chevrolet was really good. Going out there in the heat of the day, the race track is really, really slick. The car was sliding around and kind of a handful so I was just trying to be conservative. I didn't want to over drive the car. This place it's really easy to do that. They kept beating that in my head as I was going out telling me to take it easy and do my thing. I'm pretty surprised it was that good of a lap. Hopefully it will hang in there for a top ten."

(WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DRIVE THE NO. 11 CAR?) "It's really cool. I'm just glad the people at Joe Gibbs Racing gave me the opportunity. We were real good in practice. California hasn't been one of my most favorite race tracks up to date. Coming here and having a good run so far is a lot for my confidence. Going into tomorrow's race, we just have to cruise. I definitely want to finish the race. If we can end up in the top 15, that would be a great run for the whole FedEx team."

BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 9th "It was a good run. I'm proud of this GMAC Chevy team. They did a good job. It was definitely better than what we practiced. We were really loose in practice and didn't know what to expect. I probably left a little bit out there just trying to make sure we had a good race car in the race. I also want to stop for a second and tell everybody how much we are supporting our friends down in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico right now. They're going through a tough time. We send our thoughts and prayers out to them and encourage all Americans to do what they can to help them out."

(WITH YOUR TEAM OUTSIDE OF THE CHASE, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS OVER THE FINAL 12 RACES OF THE SEASON?) "Well, I'm of the philosophy of never giving up. So until that bar on NASCAR.com mathematically moves above us, we've still got a shot at it. That's kind of where we are right now. We've still got some ground to make up, but you never know. We're still trying for that right now. That's our main goal. Depending on how that plays, we'll have some strategy from there. If we don't make it, we're going to go nuts trying to win some races."

SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 VALVOLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 10th "That was good for us. We weren't that fast in practice. We made some adjustments right there at the end of practice that we thought would help our race runs. We had no idea what it would do in qualifying trim. We picked up a lot there from what we ran in practice. I hope that it will be a lot better for us when we start the race. It looks like our race trim is pretty good."

"It did get a little tight with me. We might have scuffed our tires a little bit because the tires weren't really giving us all we had the first lap and a half. I felt like the second lap might even have been better but we geared everything around all for one in that first lap. It's a good starting spot for us starting in the top ten."

BOBBY HAMILTON JR., NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 11th "I think that will put us in for tomorrow night. That's the whole thing about the day. I think we'll get a decent pit stall. I hope that we'll be in the top 25. Then most important we'll get to see the green flag tomorrow."

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 THE HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 14th "I'm really happy with it. We picked up three and a half tenths so we definitely made improvements over where we were in practice when the track was cooler. I'm pretty excited about it. I don't know where it's going to put us but I think it will put us in a decent spot."

(ON THE TRACK CONDITIONS NOW VS. DURING TOMORROW NIGHT'S RACE) "We all had to adjust for it. I was really surprised at how good my car did drive here. We did a little bit more than what we would normally do for qualifying. I wasn't sure that we were going to get that feeling that it was a little free like we would normally look for. We were all worried about them being really, really loose with the heat of the day like this."

(ON THE HURRICANE DISASTER) "It's one thing to see what happened, but the aftermath is what is disappointing. To see people that can't even get out. Then the worst part of it is seeing people that are taking advantage of it by looting and setting buildings on fire and shooting at helicopters that are coming to try to help them. That's the part that is most disturbing. We know it's frustrating and a tough time for everybody but still, laws are laws and right is right and wrong is wrong. We just hope we can get enough people down there to help them get their lives in order pretty quick."

(WILL YOUR FOUNDATION MAKE A CONTRIBUTION?) "We're donating everything that we win this weekend, prize money wise. Joe Gibbs Racing will donate it all down there. Plus I organized five trucks and trailers with my USAC team. We're loading up six truck loads of water through the Franklin Graham Foundation and sending six truck loads of water down there. We're just trying to do anything we can right now to at least help them get a start in the right direction."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 16th "I was pretty happy with that lap. I'm really happy with our car in race trim. We worked exclusively on race trim. I'd like to be a little bit better than that always. We'll take that. That will give us plenty of a good enough starting spot to do what we need to do. In race trim, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 18th "It was a good qualifying run. We made a lot of improvements from practice and just overdrove it into Turn 1 and probably left a couple tenths out there. But all in all, it was definitely a good improvement for us. The track is way better. So our car was pretty good in race trim. We struggled in qualifying trim in the first couple laps of a run, so we were definitely quite a bit better."

BORIS SAID, NO. 36 CENTRIX FINANCIAL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 26th "It's tough (running a good qualifying lap in a Cup car) -- just the pressure. These drivers are the best drivers in the world. But I've got a great team and my Hendrick motor is really good. And I'm in my hometown. I only live an hour from here. I love the state of California. I love the fans. The southern California girls aren't too bad to look at either. I'm just really happy I'm in the race. It's like a ton of bricks off my shoulders every time. I feel a little better each time I run these cars. I still don't feel like I do when I'm on a road course, but I'm getting a little closer."

(WHAT ARE THE GOALS AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY TO FOLLOW UP YOUR CAREER BEST FINISH AT WATKINS GLEN?) "If I could finish 20th, that would be like a win for me. These guys are really good and I just don't have the experience I need yet. But to get third place at Watkins Glen behind a guy like Tony Stewart was probably the highlight of my career so far. Right now he's the best. We're getting better and better. I have an unbelievable opportunity. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to get these cars this fast and not have to worry about the police chasing me."

ROBBY GORDON, NO. 7 FRUIT OF THE LOOM CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 34th "It was pretty good. We're not far off - about four tenths. For some reason we're not turning a lot of rpms here. We're missing it compared to the other guys in the same rear gear. They're getting us by about 200 rpm. It's a decent qualifying effort for us. We'll be in the race safely and we'll go from there."

MIKE BLISS, NO. 0 NETZERO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualified 38th "We lost speed, but there are a lot of guys going fast. That's the slowest we've run all day in qualifying trim. So, I don't know. We thought we were going to be good, but there's nothing you can do about it. That's all you've got."

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Qualifiefd 41st (DO YOU ANTICIPATE YOUR CAR WILL DO BETTER IN LONG RUNS AND IN RACE TRIM TOMORROW?) "Hell yeah. That was horrible."

-gmracing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , CIP