Michigan: McMurray, Johnson post-qualifying interview

Jamie McMurray - qualified 2nd Jimmie Johnson - qualified 3rd JAMIE McMURRAY, NO. 1 GE REVEAL CHEVROLET: "Well, the rain was probably a blessing for us, having to go out first, when I saw that we were going to go out first before practice ...

Jamie McMurray - qualified 2nd
Jimmie Johnson - qualified 3rd

JAMIE McMURRAY, NO. 1 GE REVEAL CHEVROLET:

"Well, the rain was probably a blessing for us, having to go out first, when I saw that we were going to go out first before practice started today. This is one of those places that it seems like the later in the session the better it was going to get. But with the rain and having some overcast when I ran my lap, that was probably a little bit of an advantage. I was impressed that Kurt was able to beat it when we ran as fast as we did. I mean when the sun came out, I didn't think anybody would be able to match the lap that we did, but Kurt did a really good job to run quicker than what we did with the sun out."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET:

"Just to kind of echo Jamie, I felt like with a mid-qualifying effort that I was on the better side of things. This track usually picks up some speed later. And then when it rained and I walked out on to pit road, I saw the clouds breaking and I thought, 'Ooh, this is going the other way for me.' And I saw Kurt's time and knew that Kurt went to the top of the board, so it gave me the confidence to do all that I could on my lap. I had a really, really good lap -- a little tight down in three and four. I'm very proud of the effort. We were fast through the practice session this morning, and coming in off a good top-five from last week, so everything's going really well."

IT SEEMS THAT THE NO. 1 TEAM HAS FIGURED OUT THE 1½-MILE PROGRAM WITH THE SPOILER. TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THIS, AND WILL IT TRANSLATE TO SUNDAY?

JAMIE McMURRAY: "Well, we had pretty fast cars at the beginning of the year. I think it's more ironic that we're running better since they put the spoiler back on the car. They put a big effort into qualifying at EGR. I don't think we ever put that effort in at Roush with all of the stuff that they change. It's amazing how light they're able to make the cars for qualifying. It's doesn't take a lot to make a difference in the way the car drives. When we unloaded here, though, my first two laps, I couldn't believe how well my car drove, how much grip it had, and really how good the balance was. We've had really fast cars at these faster tracks, and they've just done an exceptional job at unloading with really close set-ups. We're running with something here that we haven't really run this year, so I was a little bit worried about that. It's hard to get away from the norm that you've been running. We unloaded with something completely different here and the car handled great, so I'm excited for Sunday."

SPEEDS WERE 189, ALMOST 190, MILES AN HOUR. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SPEEDS, AND HOW MUCH WILL THEY DROP OFF DURING THE RACE?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: "It's a fast time, and in the center of the turn you feel like you're going pretty quick. In the straightaways, man, you're, like, can we fast-forward this and hurry up and get there? It just seems like it takes a long time. In race pace we will drop off quick. I think this morning when the track was cool there was probably six- or seven-tenths between my first lap to my second lap in drop-off. So, it'll drop off quick. I don't think that the speeds really alarm us because there's so much room here around the track."

AFTER CHARLOTTE, THE GANASSI-PENSKE RIVALRY IS PERCOLATING IN NASCAR NOW. IT'S BEEN GOING ON FOR A WHILE IN INDY CAR, AND THEY'RE 1-2 TODAY IN QUALIFYING HERE. IS THIS SOMETHING THAT'S CARRYING OVER IN YOUR MIND?

JAMIE McMURRAY: "Well, we joked around a little bit on top of the hauler that Kurt, certainly, if we could get rid of him, I would've won Charlotte and would've been on the pole here. They're just running really well right now, and I think that's great that we get to have that same competitiveness between the Penske and Ganassi teams that they've had in Indy Car racing for years. It's exciting, I think, for the NASCAR team to able to perform as well as we have, and the same thing for the Penske. So, that's great that we're just not talking about Hendrick and Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress, that our names are included in that, so it's exciting to get to be part of this tea right now.

MORE TEAMS ARE JOINING THE COMPETITIVE FIGHT NOW.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: "From a selfish standpoint, I want everybody to talk about Hendrick, but as a fan of the sport and knowing how interesting it is to watch an Indy Car race, and to see the Penske-Ganassi rivalry that's there, I think it's great, and I think it's great for our sport and I think it can help the more casual Indy Car fan that might not be a NASCAR fan come onboard and be a little bit more involved."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FORMER TEAMMATES AT ROUSH FENWAY RACING? CAN YOU HELP US UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON BETWEEN WHAT THEY'RE LACKING AND WHAT YOU KNOW HAVE?

JAMIE McMURRAY: "I don't know the differences. It does not take a lot to go from good to bad at this level. Even with our cars, we have practices where we don't change very much and the car just goes to crap, and it's not really driveable. It's way off the pace, and you change something small and you're right back there. So, I'm very shocked that they have not been able to get that turned around by now. When I left there last year I really thought in the first three or four races that they would hit on something that would make their cars faster. It just hasn't gotten any better for them. Matt Kenseth is one of my best friends, and I know that's very frustrating for all of those guys. Matt and my relationship is that I don't know that we ever talk about racing. We did talk about the conference-room meeting, that was a good story. But, other than that, we talk about just general life. I think he's as frustrated as anybody. Because those guys are really talented race-car drivers and they've had a lot of success over there. I know that it seems like they just can't find what they need to get the speed out of those cars. When you get in a car that has more speed in it, it feels better everywhere. It's not like it's just the motor, or it's just the entry to the corner, or the center, it just has more speed everywhere. I had a lot of people ask me that at Fontana after we sat on the pole, like, 'What's the difference?' And even Matt and Greg were like, 'Can you tell anything?' You really can't tell any difference. The car just has more grip and the balance is just better and it just has more overall speed."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing