Kansas City, KS -- For the seventh time this season, Mark Martin put his No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Impala SS on the pole for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race. The current points leader in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will lead the ...
Kansas City, KS -- For the seventh time this season, Mark Martin put his No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Impala SS on the pole for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race. The current points leader in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will lead the 43-car field to the green flag for the Price Chopper 400 Sunday at Kansas Speedway.
It is the 48th career pole for Martin, but his first at Kansas.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. powered the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, to the second starting spot on the grid, alongside his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.
Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-three qualifiers behind the wheel of the No. 25 GoDaddy.Com Impala SS.
Team Chevy drivers captured six of the top-10 starting positions for the third race of the 2009 Chase. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS, will start fifth. Kansas native Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Impala SS nailed down the eighth starting position. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, will roll off ninth on Sunday.
The remaining Team Chevy drivers in the Chase qualified as follows: Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS -- 11th; Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS -- 14th; and Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army Impala SS -- 30th.
A total 15 Chevy Impala SS drivers made the field for the 267-lap/400.5-mile race set to start at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 2ND:
YOU WERE IN 24TH IN FIRST PRACTICE WHERE DID YOU GUYS FIND ALL THAT SPEED FOR THAT LAP? "Well we worked on the car. We weren't showing a lot of speed in practice so we knew what we were looking for and Lance and Tom and the guys found it there right before qualifying."
HOW GOOD DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK ON TOP OF THE BOARD RIGHT NOW? "Well we've been waiting a while for the National Guard/AMP Energy team to do something like this. I don't know. The track is real good, I don't know if it will be the pole."
THAT WAS A PRETTY GOOD LAP. "Yeah I was real happy with the lap. The car drove real good. The guys made some changes right before qualifying and it worked perfectly. I'm happy. The AMP Energy/National Guard team works really hard and they deserve to show it on the race track and I was happy we were able to do that right there."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 5TH:
HOW DIFFERENT IS THE TRACK RIGHT NOW THAN IT WAS IN PRACTICE THIS MORNING? "If all the other guys are watching, it's terrible. I wouldn't even try to go near as fast as what we practiced, no it's pretty good. Everybody is gonna get a cloud here so. We've got one gigantic cloud that we normally all want so it's going to be about the same for everybody. But its still pretty windy out."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT TIME, DO YOU THINK IT WILL STICK? "I don't know. I'm proud of it no matter where we end up with it, I'm going to be really proud of it. I am proud of Darian(Grubb, crew chief) and these guys today. They've done an awesome job and we're all smiling and having a good time with each other. So proud of everyone on this Office Depot Chevy.
"For drawing first in qualifying, I think these were the best track conditions we could have asked for at that time. The wind was obviously a variable during the session and when some guys went out it was a little calmer than it was when others were on the track. We had a solid day, we were fifth in practice and we're going to be a top five car here. We backed that up and, in my opinion, we have a very good weekend started."
"I think we're going to be in good shape for the race. My car drove pretty decent in race practice first thing this morning and we've got two more days to work on it. I feel like we've got a good base and it was probably the earliest we've quit working on race set-up this year in order to get ready for qualifying. That paid off for us in qualifying and I felt like the car was really comfortable in race set-up too. I feel like we've really got something to work with."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 11TH:
A LOT OF QUESTIONS TODAY ABOUT THE POST-RACE INSEPCTION AT DOVER, HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR MINDSET INSIDE THE RACE CAR? "It really doesn't affect anything from our standpoint. The car was legal. There's been a lot of discussion but at the end of the day the car was legal and passed tech so it's a non-issue and it's just giving everybody something to talk about. I love the fact that everybody's attention is on other things. If they're worried about us I'm happy."
YOU SAID IT WAS LIKE DRIVING A SPRINT CAR WITHOUT THE WING, A LITTLE SIDEWAYS? "Yeah, turns one and two was sideways for me. I knew it was tight and on the second lap we went a little bit quicker. It was just really a relief to knwo they were two good laps because I thought that first one was really far off. The car is good. We just need to adjust for the cooler temperatures."
HOW MUCH DID THE WIND AFFECT YOUR LAP? "I'm not sure the wind I mean it certainly did but I just think we got the handling a little bit off. We weren't really sure what condition to adjust for because of the wind in practice and I kind of chose to keep it on the free side and it fit me a little bit. I much rather have a loose race car than a tight race car. I paid for it in one and two. I was dead sideways all the way through there."
WHEN WE GO RACING ON SUNDAY FOR 400 MILES ARE WE GOING TO SEE THE GROVE FROM THE BOTTOM ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP IN THE CORNERS OR IS THIS GOING TO BE A TOUGH RACE OUT THERE? "I really think this track has aged enough that regardless of the outside temperature and if we don't have any sunlight that we will still move around. This track has seasoned very well. Bumps in the right places, the asphalt has given up just enough to make us race top to bottom so either way I think we're going to put on a great show."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 10TH:
YOU WERE 13TH IN PRACTICE AND WENT OUT THERE AND TURNED IN ONE HECK OF A LAP, WHERE DID YOU FIND THE SPEED? "You know all the guys on the DuPont Chevrolet have been working really hard. It's been pretty frustrating. I think for a lot of people the wind the cooler temperatures are good but I have not yet turns three and four yet today until qualifying thankfully it finally happens and the car just did all the things it really needed to do. We left a little bit out there but not much. That by far is the best lap we've had all day and I don't know where we are going to end up but I think it's going to be really solid. So very happy with all the guys on this DuPont Chevrolet. Great effort, a lot of hard work, a lot of frustration and we worked through it and now we're here with a great lap."
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO FIND THE MARKS ON THE RACE TRACK? "Well I mean not that difficult. We do it every weekend but when you have these kind of gusty wind conditions, it seems like there are a few more bumps out there as well at the Kansas Speedway and I with the DuPont Chevrolet we were fighing a couple different situations in practice but what a great job that Steve and all the guys on this DuPont Chevrolet did to make the right adjustments, to give me a car that I could get to my marks. I don't know maybe I was just fortunate the gusts didn't come when I was entering turn three this time. But I finally got down to the white line and put a good solid lap together."
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 25 GODADDY.COM IMPALA SS, QUALFIED 3RD:
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN: "Man, that is awesome. I am just so proud of the No. 25 team and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. What a great effort to have the top-three cars. Congratulations to Mark (Martin) and Dale, Jr. they both had good runs. Just exciting. Really proud to have a car this good. Real thankful for Tony, Jr. (Eury, crew chief) coming over here and helping us out. It has been an exciting day for sure."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 8TH:
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR RUN? "We were on top of the board from the very first lap we took on the track. Good qualifying run for us. I wish I had known I was that close. Going down the back straightaway I probably would got off into turn three just a little bit too hard and it washed up on me a little bit and I hate to wait for it to get to the bottom. It looked liek everybody was loose right there. We were a little bit too loose as well in one and two but all-in-all the Cherrios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet is going to be good."
TALK ABOUT THE LAP. "Yeah it was a good lap for us. I'm proud of the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team and all the guys. They know this is an important race for me. They brought me a very good race car. We're going to start up front somewhere. Hopefully that will hold in the top-five somewhere. I really think it will. We're all going to be chasing Junior it looks like."
HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO HANG AROUND KANSAS AT ALL THIS WEEK? "Absolutely. I've been here since Wednesday. It's good to see everybody. Had the first ever fan club gathering and that was a lot of fun as well. It was pretty cool."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS, POLE WINNER:
YOU'VE HAD SOME FANTASTIC CARS THIS SEASON, WHERE DOES THIS ONE RANK? "I didn't think we were very good in practice. Anything inside the top-20 was going to make me happy. I don't know where that came from but a lot of it came under the hood. The engine department has been phenomenal. Great chassis department back at Hendrick Motorsports. Fabricators have been awesome. This thing is beautiful every time I get into it. It's just perfect. Alan (Gustafson) is a genius. I don't know if it really matters if we're really all that good or not, we think we are."
OUTSTANDING RUN OUT THERE, WHAT DID YOU GUYS DO FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING? "You have to ask Alan. We've got a deal. I don't question him much. I tell him what I think and then I leave on the qualifying deal and that really works good. I was trying to fuss and all that stuff and he said you go on and do what you do. That's what I did and they performed the magic. I don't know what they did."
HOW MUCH DID THE WIND GUSTS AFFECT IT OR DID IT? "I almost walled it off of (turn) two but I almost walled it all three of the last three runs in practice. I was further from walling it this time than the other three and was able to keep my foot closer to the floor. I still had to lift coming off of (turn) two but nearly nearly as much as I did in practice."
ON THE LAP: "We were about a 23rd fastest car by the end of practice. If you would have told me before I went out to make that lap I could have 18th and stay in the garage, I'd have stayed in the garage. We've got something really special. I have (crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) the information and I turned and I walked away and I cleared my head. When I strapped in, I strapped in with no thoughts of any of that. All that was behind me and I just plowed it off in Turn 3 and I felt like I was breaking the land speed record coming off Turn 4 for the green flag. I was just so fast through there. It was like, ok, here we go!"
WHAT IS THIS DOING FOR YOUR HEART? "Today was a tough day on my heart. It's making it very, very strong. In fact, it was such a stressful day and a very stressful lap. If my heart survives the next couple of years, I'm sure it'll make it to 100."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 30TH:
"The car was real loose, especially in turns one and two," said Newman. "We had a strong practice but didn't repeat during qualifying. It's frustrating, but we'll bounce back and work even harder to get this U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevy to the front on Sunday."
-credit: gm racing