Kasey Kahne led the way for Team Chevy in qualifying his No. 5 Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet in the fourth place starting spot for Sunday’s Advocare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, Round 35 of 36 on the 2012 season tour.
Other Chevrolets in Sunday’s 43-car line-up include Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet who qualified 11th, Ryan Newman, No. 39 Quicken Loans/U.S. Army Chevy will start 12th, Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevy qualified 19th, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet qualified 23rd, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevy qualified 24th, and Danica Patrick earned a 37th place starting position in her No. 10 GoDaddy Racing Chevrolet.
Kyle Busch (Toyota) won the pole position, Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota) qualified second, and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) qualified third to round out the top five starting spots.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMER’S INSURANCE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 4TH: ON HIS LAP: “The car felt good; I just missed my braking points a little bit and had an issue with my brakes. But other than that, the car felt really good. So, I thought we should have been better; first right now, for sure. I don’t know about beating the No. 18 (Kyle Busch).
HOW IS THE CAR FOR SUNDAY? “Well, we’ll practice tomorrow, but the car seemed pretty good during practice today. I liked what I had in the car. But yeah, I like this track and tomorrow we’ll figure it out.”
WILL THE COOLER TEMPERATURES HAVE ANY BEARING ON ANYTHING FOR RACE DAY? “I don’t think so. I think it will be pretty similar.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “It was an interesting couple of laps. I missed it really big on the first lap. Loose; on that edgy side of things. The second lap didn’t feel much better, so that means to me there is still a lot of speed in the track. But overall the five laps we’ve done this year in qualifying with the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy, they’ve all been on that ragged edge of loose, so we are developing some common denominators, and that is what this year has been all about.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE TEAM IS PROGRESSING AS A UNIT? “There is A-Z here, we’ve just got to put one letter behind the next one and make sure we get out vowels in there. We have had the right tools, it’s just in this game of Sprint Cup, you have to be on it every moment.”
IS THE TRACK RACIER THAN A YEAR AGO? “It is a little bit more forgiving. It’s not as razor blade edge-ish. It was real tough. If you slipped a little bit, you slipped a lot. Now you can kind of maneuver it a little.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 RHEEM/MENARD’S CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 7th: ON HIS QUALIFYING “The track is totally different obviously now, with the repave; but it’s come in a lot. Obviously it’s been a hot summer here and the track’s got different characteristics than when we were here in the spring. I feel good about our Rheem/Menard’s Chevy. We unloaded very slippery and the track kind of came to us a little bit. If we can start in the top 10, that will go a long ways on Sunday. But not a whole lot translates from last spring’s race until now. Like I said, it’s been a hot summer and the track has changed quite a bit.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 8TH:ON HIS LAP: “I thought it was a good lap. Obviously there’s always things you want to do different after the fact, but I feel like we made good changes from practice with the Phoenix Construction Chevrolet. These guys have been working their tails off, not only this week, but all year. We’ll go race from there. It was a good run for the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet. These guys have been working hard. I think they finally got their first day in like six months off this week. I wanted to come out and try to have a good qualifying lap and a good race on Sunday. This team is looking for some sponsorship for next year and we would love to have a good run and help them get that.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 9TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “It was alright. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it is holding on. I don’t know if the track is going the other way, or something, but we were a little free. Freer than we were in practice, but we picked up two tenths, so I’m proud of the pickup. But, I thought our second lap would actually be better, but it kind of gave up some grip that lap.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 11TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “We’ve had some issues here the last couple of times getting real loose going to qualify, and we didn’t want that to happen, so we probably over-tightened it. The track had good grip, and we were just a little bit too tight. But a decent lap. When we first ran here last year, the track was treacherous on cold tires. Right now, some guys struggled early in qualifying, but when I went out, it had good grip. It’s definitely improving. The groove is wider, the grip level is better. Hopefully this time next year, we’ll have a tire that is maybe not so hard, and we’ll be able to have something that drives a little bit better on cold tires. Even maybe wears out a little bit more on the long runs.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS/U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “That was the first time I’ve ever done that actually. (stop and turn around to re-run his lap). I felt like I needed to. It was a decent rebound lap. Our car was really loose there, as much heat as I could get in the tires, I was going to be better at that point. Did a little extracurricular activity and got a decent lap for the Quicken Loans Chevrolet, but obviously not as quick as we were in practice. The track got a little bit quicker, but I think a part of the tire likes the heat to get the rubber on the race track. So, it was a matter of getting the race track cleaned off more than anything.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 24TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “Wasn’t so good, but we’ve been fighting a little bit in qualifying trim. But, we’ve got a great baseline race setup to go off of. For me it was really turn one (the sun glare). The glare was pretty bad getting into the turn then getting the power down was tough for me up off of (turn) two. (Turns) three and four were pretty good I felt like on both of my laps, but I struggled oddly enough down there this time.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 33RD: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “Going out early here is a huge disadvantage with a new race track. Having a driver wreck in the first practice is a huge disadvantage too. We didn’t get any practice. The car was exceptionally tight, but again, I think going out this early is a huge disadvantage. You aren’t going to have the grip the guys are going to have later on. I screwed up in practice and dug us in a hole, and we will have to dig out of it on Sunday.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 1O GODADDY RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 37TH: ON HER QUALIFYING: “It was pretty edgy especially coming to the green it stuck way out and I couldn’t turn the wheel so I ended up pretty wide and I wasn’t sure if I was going to have enough grip to stay out of the wall or not coming to the green. We definitely had a really tight car in practice and our qualifying runs were actually tighter than our race runs. I know Tony (Gibson, crew chief) was trying to free it up so we could have a good lap. We are just feeling each other out and how far we need to go with these changes. I think the temperature change I feel like has affected me. It’s much cooler out a lot of the track is more shaded. Maybe it was a little bit freer than at least I even anticipated it was going to be. I think that we are working really well together and hopefully we can make good changes tomorrow so we get the GoDaddy car further up.”
Team Chevy Racing