Johnson fastest Chevrolet qualifier at Michigan

JIMMIE JOHNSON LEADS THE CHARGE FOR TEAM CHEVY AT MICHIGAN CURRENT POINT’S LEADER WILL START THIRD

BROOKLYN, MI – August 17, 2012 – Jimmie Johnson piloting the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will take the green-flag from the third starting position for the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday. This will be Johnson’s 15th top-10 start at the 2.0-mile speedway in the Irish Hills.

Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kasey Kahne driving the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet will start fifth. Paul Menard in the No. 27 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet will start 10th.

Mark Martin (Toyota) earned his 55th career pole, Carl Edwards (Ford) will start second, Matt Kenseth (Ford) qualified fourth, Trevor Bayne (Ford) was sixth, Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota) will start seventh, Marcos Ambrose (Ford) eighth and Landon Cassill (Toyota) was ninth to round out the top 10 starting spots.

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET: - QUALIFIED THIRD
ON HIS LAP: “We didn’t come back for the tire test, we were road-course testing that week, and we took to the track right away and got going. So, it is different, but I can’t say it’s affected us a lot over today’s practice session. We were in qualifying trim the whole time. So, in race trim we have a few more things to sort out, but the car’s been quick, it’s been great. Chad and the guys have worked really hard to give me great Lowe’s Chevrolets week-in and week-out, and we’ve got another one here this weekend.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FIFTH
YOU ENDED UP FIFTH, YOU GOT A LOT OF THAT ON LAP TWO. DESCRIBE LAP ONE WHAT WENT WRONG AND LAP TWO WHAT WENT RIGHT: “Lap one I was just too loose getting into turn one which is what we had fought most of the first practice. It just slid and I tried to get back to the throttle and it slid some more. I knew I had to make a good lap the second lap because I figured we were able to. Between turns one and two I struggled a little bit, even on the second lap I slid a little more than I would have liked. We ended up fifth with our Farmers Insurance Chevy the guys did a nice job like always. Hopefully, we can have some solid track position tomorrow and be prepared on Sunday.”

DID YOU DO ANY RACE TRIM TODAY OR WAS IT ALL QUALIFYING TRIM AND WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU NEED TO WORK ON TOMORROW TO GET YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO WIN? “We did race trim to start we probably spend 30-40 minutes in race trim. We understood where we were at there and tried a few things. It was the same in race trim as it was in qualifying for us today so we know what we have and what we don’t have. Hopefully make the right adjustments and be ready to go Sunday.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER/AARP CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 11TH
ON HIS LAP: “Just trying to hang on, man. These are crazy conditions. The track has just been strange all day. This tire just does not like to be pushed hard in an area where the track doesn’t load the tire up, so you’re on a fine line between driving in deep and not driving in deep enough. Seems like once you get it loaded up it’s not too bad. But I thought the balance wasn’t too bad. It was pretty good there. Tried to push a little harder on that second lap and got really loose getting into three and in this place momentum is everything. But not a bad day for the Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. We’ll see where we end up.”

IS THIS A BETTER COMBINATION THAN THE LAST TIME THE SERIES RACED AT MICHIGAN? “The conditions to me, yeah, I feel like that track’s lost a little bit of grip, so I feel like now the old tire would’ve been just fine. But we don’t know until we get into race pace and see the heat, and I’m sure there’s still a chance of blistering. I think we all know that racing on the harder tire and this combination is the best thing. I don’t know. So far, it’s hard to tell. This construction seems to be pretty good with this compound, it’s just not optimal for what we’ve been dealing with today.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 14TH
ON HIS LAP: “We were a little bit too loose. We got it better from where we were in practice, but we still need to get it tightened up. We’ll use all of Saturday’s practice to get the Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy right for Sunday.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 WIX FILTERS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 15TH
ON HIS LAP: “I just got out of the groove on the first lap. Didn’t have the greatest of practice sessions the car is quick, the WIX Chevrolet is quick, but just didn’t turn. It didn’t do what I expected it to do, it didn’t do what it did in practice. We will go on. We’ve got a good car; we have plenty of opportunities tomorrow to work on it.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 22ND:
ON HIS LAP: “Well, we ran a few laps in race trim and the car felt pretty good, but we had a terrible practice as far as qualifying trim goes, so that’s a bit of an improvement. But, obviously, the track’s got a bit more speed than that in it. Matt put down a really good lap, and hopefully that’s as good as it gets.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/MERCURY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 24TH
ON HIS LAP: “We learned – I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You know, we had so much success in 2010, and we’re trying to get back to that level, and they’re trying to be very methodical about when they make changes that we learn from that. And, so as a driver, I would say that Juan (Pablo Montoya) and I would agree, it doesn’t seem to be moving as fast as we would like for it to, but what they don’t want to do is change a bunch of stuff and not know what works. So I felt like the Nashville test, honestly, in the last year and a half was the first test that we changed some parts on the car that both drivers had the same feedback and the car was quicker on the track. And, of course, you ABA things when you go to a test, and every time you ABA’d it, it was a little bit better. We still have some work to do, but I felt we learned a lot. I’ve been really happy – in fact, Bass Pro Shops is back on here this weekend. I just got informed that they’re opening a new store in Bristol, Tennessee, which is obviously a really cool track. So, I’m excited to have that.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 25TH
ON HIS LAP: “It was okay. We just struggled today in qualifying trim we seem to have a pretty good car in race trim. Everybody on this Target Chevy have been working pretty good and we are going to have a long day on Sunday from where we are going to be starting so we will see what happens.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 51 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 26TH
ON HIS LAP: “The sidewall here is rubbing off on the body, so the body is touching and we’re knocking letters off of that, and that’s just a rub we’re trying to science out. Is it from the rear end, or is it happening in travel? We’re not doing anything fancy like the other big-time teams are, so we’re just trying to make sure we’ve got our nuts and bolts tightened up. I just tried to survive for that lap. We’ve just been struggling getting down into the center today, and we’ll see where we stack up. Montoya just ran a good lap, and the fast guys will be coming up and getting on the track now.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 WHEATIES CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 32ND
ON HIS LAP: “We definitely didn’t have the grip we wanted. We worked real hard on race trim, and we actually got our car really good in race trim. I thought it really drove well, the best it’s been all year. But it backed us into a corner. We had a little bit of a problem switching over the two trims and we never really got a clean look at it. That was kind of our first shot at it, and if I had to do it again I could do it a lot better, and I know we can make the car a little better. So, we’re not going to start very well, but with the kind of year we’ve had, we really just decided it was best to focus on race trim. We had a few other things we wanted to run through today, that backed us in a corner, but at the end of the day, if we race well, we’ll be fine. That’s why we spent a little extra time.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Qualifying report
Tags busch, chevrolet, earnhardt, gordon, johnson, kahne, mcmurray, montoya, newman, stewart