Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead Team Chevy in qualifying at Martinsville

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Five team Chevy driver’s will start in the top-ten

Chevy SS drivers and Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon led the way for Chevrolet in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) qualifying at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson posted the fourth fastest time in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS and will be in search of his ninth victory at the .526 mile short track. Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, also an eight-time winner at Martinsville, will start fifth in Sunday’s STP 500. In all, Chevrolet has captured the victory in over 50 percent of all NSCS races at Martinsville (52 of 103).

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

44 entrants took to the track for the first session 30-minute session before the field was cut to the 12 fastest cars. Those 12 cars moved to the final round two and were given 10 minutes to post another fast lap. Five Team Chevy drivers ended the day in the final top-12 group - with all of them in the top-ten.

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, recorded his best qualifying effort of the season and will roll off from the seventh starting spot on Sunday. Stewart has three career victories at Martinsville with his last coming in 2011. Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS will start ninth and Danica Patrick, No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS, earned her best start of the season posting the 10th quickest time.

Kyle Busch (Toyota) was the pole winner, Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was second and Joey Logano (Ford) qualified third to round out the top-five.

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED FOURTH
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN:
“It was good. Man it’s really really close on speeds. I was surprised to see the tires kind of hang on as well as they did. They didn’t seem to repeat that well in practice. I guess it seemed if you went out early enough and could let everything cool down the tires would come back and be kind of similar to the run before. I don’t know all that said it went well. We have had a good car all day long and fourth is decent.”

YOU WERE WAITING TO THE END TO MAYBE MAKE A PASS AND CUT IT CLOSER TO THE END OF THE SECOND SESSION:
“Really managing your tire temps. I thought there was going to be more chaos in that first outing and it was very well organized to everyone’s surprise I believe. Where that put us behind is I lost 10 minutes there and then I’m sitting there on hotter tires wishing I had 10 more minutes to cool down like the guys who went early. That is something we have got to stay on top of, but again I really thought it would be impossible to get a clean lap in that opening five minutes, but everybody stayed pretty well organized and friendly out there.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 CODE 3 ASSOCIATES/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SEVENTH
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN:
“I’m pretty happy. Code 3 Associates is on our car this week and the last time I drove their car, we won at Dover last year. Excited for them and excited for us.

“We’re battling weather here this weekend. It was supposed to rain out today and we got that in. Now they’re saying it might rain out tomorrow. If that does happen, I’m kind of comfortable with what we’ve got if we have to go straight to the race. We’ve got some things we can do to make it a little better, but all in all, our Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet is a pretty balanced racecar.”

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY/GET FOUND CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 10TH
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING SESSION?
“Significantly better than it’s been so far this year. I wasn’t very good in practice and I was laughing telling everyone it was one of my crew guys Jay that said put the fear of God in me to wreck this car. He’s like ‘it’s a new car don’t wreck this car.’ So I was a little cautious but at the end of the day I don’t think we started off very well, but we made good improvements and when the car went into qualifying trim it was much better than it felt in race trim. Hopefully, we can learn something from that. Then Tony (Gibson, crew chief) made good changes from practice to qualifying because I was able to do what I wanted to do and what I asked to be able to do better. That is why we went faster.”

YOU OBVIOUSLY WEREN’T EXPECTING THIS AFTER PRACTICING 29TH:
“Just got to expect the unexpected I guess. I think that our practice started off a little bit rough because you go out with all those cars out on the track I was following another car and he was not coming up to speed and ended up getting passed by 15 cars it felt like in the first five laps. You are just not really getting up to speed and in a rhythm so we didn’t really put a lap in at the beginning and then in our qualifying runs I feel like we improved a lot, but we still needed something. That something Tony (Gibson, crew chief) gave me for qualifying. That is the difference. Then just nailing that lap, I mean that is qualifying. I just have to get better at it. I’ve got to get better at getting all of it out of the car every time and I have such kind of a negative attitude about qualifying that I said I need to be positive and at least be neutral on it and let these be positive reinforcements. It’s so important and especially at a place like this.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 BUSH’S BEANS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 15TH
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN:
"We'll be close enough to the front to at least be able to see when it goes green. It's our best qualifying effort of the year. When you miss (getting in) by one-hundreth, it's kind of tough to swallow. But ultimately we're making our Bush's Beans Chevy strong each weekend. To have our first top-10 finish last weekend. We're steadily improving. We started out practice not so good but we got better as it went on. To be in the top-15 isn't too bad."

Team Chevy Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Qualifying report
Tags aj allmendinger, danica patrick, jimmie johnson, martinsville, team chevy, tony stewart