Tony Stewart Wins the Pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway
CHARLOTTE - (October 13, 2011) - For 13th time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) career, Tony Stewart will lead the 43-car field to the green flag.
With a lap of 28.131seconds, 191.959 mph behind the wheel of his No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, the two-time NSCS champion captured the pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday night's Bank of America 500.
Team Chevy will have four drivers starting in the top-10. Ryan Newman, No. 39 Cookies for Kid's Cancer/Gene Haas Foundation Chevrolet will start in sixth position. Paul Menard, No. 27 Certain Teed/Menards Chevrolet, will roll off seventh.
Five-time defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's/Chevy 100th Anniversary Chevrolet, will start ninth in the 334-lap/501 mile race, the fifth in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Other Team Chevy drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualified as follows: Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Jimmy John's Chevrolet -14th; Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard/Chevy 100th Anniversary Chevrolet-15th and four-time NSCS champion Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger/Chevy 100th Anniversary Chevrolet-23rd.
The race is scheduled to start Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET with live coverage on ABC TV, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
JEFF GORDON NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER/CHEVY 100TH ANNIVERSARY CHEVROLET ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: QUALIFIED 23RD
“We are missing something today. We have been off all day, in practice and we tried to get more out of it there. I thought that lap was better than that, so we will see where it ends up. We certainly gave it our best effort. Last time we were here I thought we qualified pretty good. Qualified on the pole here last year at this race, we expected a little bit more out of it.
DALE EARNHARDT JR. NO.88 AMP ENERGY/ NATIONAL GUARD/CHEVY 100TH ANNIVERSARY CHEVROLET ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: QUALIFIED 15TH
“We have been good in one and two all day long, but looking at the dark fish, we were not. I got lose down in the middle of one and two and didn’t get back to the gas as soon as in one and two. Didn’t think the lap was that great hopefully it will hold us, we need a little boost to qualifying. The guys have been working hard. They worked really hard today to get something out of it; we will see how it works out. “
DOES THIS PLACE OWE YOU ONE, AFTER THE SPRING? “Well, I won’t say it owes me one, but we are due a win, and we are going to work our tails off to get one before this year is out.”
YOU DIDN’T HOLD THE POLE THAT LONG; YOU WILL HAVE TO TALK TO HARVICK ABOUT THAT: “That is just the way it goes. We were pretty happy about being able to pick up a little bit from practice; we were curious where we got the fastest speed out of the car. I don’t know really where that is going to stack up. That will probably be one of our better qualifying efforts for the year. We are trying to make some gains in that area, so we can race better and hopefully we will be able to do that tonight.”
KEVIN HARVICK NO. 29 JIMMY JOHNS CHEVROLET ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: QUALIFIED 14TH
“I think it was pretty good, the car drove really good and they done a great job. The car unloaded good, I feel really confident about what we have.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS STARTING UP FRONT HERE? “I think for us, it is important, we have qualified for the most part better in the chase than we have all year. We are paying a lot more attention to it too. It definitely does not hurt anything, so we will take any starting position that we can because usually we are in the late twenties, early thirties here so that makes the day a lot easier.”
PAUL MENARD NO. 27 CERTAINTEED/MENARDS CHEVROLET ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: QUALIFIED 7TH
“The car drove really good. Obviously it is a lot cooler now than when we were practicing. There is just more grip out there. I didn’t use it all. I wish I had another shot at it. I feel pretty bad about it; we had a shot at the pole. Three and four coming to the green was good, one and two felt good, there was just a little more grip in three and four on my time lap that I didn’t use.”
RYAN NEWMAN NO. 39 COOKIES FOR KID’S CANCER CHEVROLET TALKS ABOUT HIS QUALIFYING LAP: QUALIFIED 6TH
“I didn’t get the lap that I wanted, car bottomed out pretty good in one and two. Really proud that we picked up a lot of speed, something we have been lacking here the last couple of weeks. It was a good effort for the guys and we will see what we can do. Proud to represent Gene Haas’s foundation, the Cookies for Kid’s Cancer car, that is a tongue twister, was pretty good.
TONY STEWART NO.14
ON POLE WINNING QUALIFYING LAP: “That’s a Newman (Ryan) lap right there. I don’t know we will see if it holds up. Pretty proud of Darian (Grubb, Crew Chief), and everyone on the Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet tonight. We have been pretty solid since we unloaded so it’s a perfect way to start the weekend so far.”
YOU CLIMBED OUT WITH A SMILE; DID YOU LEAVE SOMETHING OUT THERE? “That was all that I could do. The guys that are after us are after us because they are quicker. We stare at the pillion for the next twenty minutes.”
THIS IS THE SAME TIRE WE RAN AT CHICAGO THAT COULD BODE WELL FOR YOU COULDN’T IT? “You hope so, but it is definitely a different race track, but the same tires. We sit here and stare at the scoring pillion for the next ten minutes and see what we get.”
IS THIS AN ENCOURAGING WAY TO START THE WEEKEND? “Yea, I mean we have felt solid with the car from the very first run of the day, so I don’t know where it is going to end up but , this is the best Friday, well, I guess Thursday here, it is our best first day of the weekend here at Charlotte in a long time.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 19TH:
ON YOUR RUN, WAS IT WHAT YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE? “Yeah, it was close. Obviously we were a little bit off in practice and we’re probably still a little bit off. But in race trim, it was really, really good and did everything you needed it to do. Hopefully we’re not too far back where we can race.”