Danica Patrick: 'I had to train myself to not say I hate qualifying'
Here's what some of the Chevrolet drivers had to say about NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying for Sunday's race at Charlotte:
JIMMIE JOHNSON (in photo, with Hendrick teammate Kasey Kahne), NO. 48 LOWE’S PATRIOT CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP. YOU WERE ONE OF THE LAST ONES TO GO OUT
‘Yeah, it was a really strong lap. I’m very pleased with it. Happy to get this Lowe’s Chevrolet on pole for this big race coming up Sunday afternoon. We knew we had a great race car today so it was nice to get out there and work our way through the three segments here and get it done. On the first run we missed it a little bit but Chad (Knaus) knew exactly how to dial me in for the second one. We got a lot closer and for the third segment laid down a good lap.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 3RD:
WHERE WAS THE AREA YOU FELT YOU MISSED IN THAT RUN?
“I feel like I missed it in every round. Just getting into Turn 3. I wasn’t as sharp as I’d been in practice or last week. We’ve got to work a little bit on (Turn) 3 getting to the white line faster and that type of thing. We’ve got to push a little harder through there. I think that’s the spot. I felt pretty good in (Turns) 1 and 2 and pretty good in (Turn) 4. I tried backing it up and doing different things but it was just kind of set-up stuff that we need to work on Saturday.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 4TH
ON HER QUALIFYING RUN: “The car was really good. I think the big difference that came for me was in the second round. (Tony) Gibson (crew chief) made really good adjustments and anticipated the offset from run one to run two really well and the balance was really good. I did that 20 whatever seven which was quickest in the second group. We have a lot to be proud of. I mean let’s face it this is the part of the weekend that I dreaded every time. I had to train myself to not say I hate qualifying. We were third in a round, we were first in a round and we were fourth in a round. A lot to be proud of at Stewart-Haas and for the GoDaddy car and it’s going to give us a great starting spot for Sunday.”
DRIVERS ARE TALKING ABOUT THE CHALLENGING CONDITIONS TODAY WHAT WORKED FOR YOU GUYS HOW DID YOU AVOID THAT? “I think one of the things that happens when your team gives you a really good race car is you don’t notice the track being off as much. It never feels super low grip. Even in the heat of the day today I told the guys ‘I really honestly don’t feel like the grip level is all that much different than when we were here last weekend for the All-Star weekend and it was far cooler.’ That is a product of good race cars and they have a lot to be proud of at the shop.”
WERE YOU ABLE TO LEARN ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN APPLY THIS WEEKEND FROM THE SHOWDOWN LAST WEEKEND? “Anytime you can have track time at a track you are going to race at is good for learning. It’s good for repetition, it’s good for learning about your car, so we would have loved to have been in the All-Star weekend, but it wasn’t meant to be. We are doing okay here and we’ve got another practice before the race.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 26TH
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN: “We unloaded and were really loose. We made quite a few runs on the first set of tires. We put our next set of tires on and the car was really tight. It’s really hard to adjust on that. And then we were just way tight in qualifying. I don’t know if the track has tightened up. It seemed like it was a pretty big change from practice and then I felt like we took a huge swing at it again to free it up and it almost seemed worse. I don’t know. Just way off there we haven’t been that far off in qualifying all year long.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 27TH
WHAT DOES STARTING THIS DEEP IN THE FIELD DO FOR YOU GUYS? “It just disappoints us. We know our car is much better than this. I think these are about as challenging conditions as you can have when you have a really hot day like this. The sun goes down and it’s a total guessing game and we completely guessed wrong. We just missed the set-up. The car has plenty of speed in it. I’m not concerned about the race. I know that we can work our way through there and be really strong in the race, but we just have to get the balance right at the start of the race and make sure that we are there at the end. It’s just more challenging to do that from where we are going to be starting.”