Mark Martin Wins the Pole at Daytona; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Six of Top-10 Starting Positions
Mark Martin powered his No. 5 CARQUEST/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet to the pole for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
It is the 50th time the veteran driver has won the pole in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and puts him eighth on the all-time list.
Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Wheaties FUEL Chevrolet, will start third in the 43-car field with Jeff Gordon, No. 24 PepsiMAX Chevrolet, in the fourth starting position to give Team Chevy three of the top-five starters in the 160-lap/400-mile race.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard Heritage/AMP Energy Chevrolet, will roll off in the sixth starting spot with Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Summer Salute Chevrolet in eighth place at the drop of the green flag.
Paul Menard, No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet, was 10th fastest to give Team Chevy six of the top-10 starters.
Trevor Bayne (Ford) and David Ragan (Ford) complete the top-five qualifiers.
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER:
ON HIS 50th CAREER POLE: “Oh, this is awesome. I need to thank Hendrick Motorsports and just everybody. The CARQUEST Auto Parts colors are beautiful and I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow night. We’ve had a good run at Talladega with Jeff (Gordon) and we’re looking forward to tomorrow night.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 WHEATIES FUEL CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD:
ON HIS GREAT LAP: "It was pretty uneventful. I am just real proud of all the Wheaties FUEL guys and this Chevrolet. They did a great job preparing the race car to come here and go to battle. That is exactly what it is. You have to have a good dancing partner with our teammates there. All of us have these ECR engines under the hood. Looking good so far. Looking forward to tonight, having some fun in that Nationwide race and looking forward to a good effort tomorrow night."
WHAT DID YOU AND BURTON TALK ABOUT? "He asked me if I lifted getting into three a little bit. I told him as nervous as I was, I left it down."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSIMAX CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 4TH:
ON HIS RUN: "We keep sharing these poles on these speedways for Hendrick Motorsports. So great run for Mark (Martin) and a really good run for us and our PepsiMax Chevrolet. I can't wait to get on track with this thing tomorrow and get hooked up with Mark Martin and have a lot of fun. It is an exciting race for a very exciting July 4th weekend. Ought to be plenty of fireworks out there. Hopefully the only fireworks we are worrying about are the ones in victory lane."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD HERITAGE/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 6TH:
ON TANDEM RACING, IS IT MORE FUN OR MORE CHALLENGING? “No, it’s not more fun. What’s more fun is just driving your own car and driving your own race. But qualifying is like that, man. You’ve just got to put together two laps as best as you can. But our car seems like it’s got some good speed so hopefully we can do a good job tomorrow.”
HAS THE TWO-CAR DRAFTING BECOME EASIER, BETTER, WORSE, HARDER OR WHAT? “None of those, really. It’s the way you’ve got to race; it’s just the way you’ve got to race. We’ll just have to see if we can do it the best; I don’t know.”
THE LAST FEW WEEKS, YOU SEEM TO BE HAPPY WITH YOUR RACE CARS AND WITH THE TEAM, HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS WEEKEND? “We’ve been good all year and I’m happy with the way the guys have been working. We’re just trying to keep it going. Everybody’s car is the same this weekend. So you’ve got to drop your name in a hat and pull one out and hopefully your name is on the card when the race is over.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 NRA/BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 11TH
“We’re really thankful for Bass Pro Shops and NRA to be on the car this weekend. We feel like we have a good Chevrolet. We’re really spending most of our time like most people did in race trim. We’ll see where that puts us. Hopefully it puts us around where we need to be so that we can be in our correct tandem.”
WHAT YOU’RE SAYING ACTUALLY, IS THAT YOU WANT TO BE SOMEWHERE NEAR TONY STEWART? “Yep; actually, right behind me. No, we worked with the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) in practice. We haven’t finished very well at all in the last two races so we’re just going to go with the odds and see how that works.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S SUMMER SALUTE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 8TH
ON HIS LAP “Nothing bad happened. It’s still a little early yet, but I think we’ll be in the Top 10 or Top-15; so it’s not bad. Everything is going like we hoped and we’ve got a good plan in place.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 18TH
ON HIS LAP “Yeah, it’s a little bit of a surprise that we ran that quick. We didn’t really focus, like most guys, on qualifying. So that’s good. I don’t know where Juan (Pablo Montoya – team mate) ended up, but certainly we need to get with him at the start of the race and he will be my drafting partner.”
ANY CONCERNS ABOUT LIFTING UP THAT DECK LID THERE AND HAVING TO WORK IN THE TRUNK? “No, it just had a little bit of oil leaking back there. I could explain it to you but it would take 20 minutes. It’s not a problem; it just burped a little bit of oil in the trunk and they just wanted to clean it up because it was actually leaking on pit road.”
SO THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITH HAVING TO START AT THE BACK? “No, but that wouldn’t matter anyway.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BURGER KING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 19TH:
ON HIS QUALIFYING THE BURGER KING CHEVROLET THAT HE SEEMS TO ALWAYS TAKE TO VICTORY LANE: "I hope so. We got them here the first time here in the 400, hopefully we can do the same thing tomorrow night. We have two really good cars for both nights. Kevin Harvick's TapOut Chevy, we're on the outside front row with that (for the Nationwide race). Really excited. We have a good car here and we have a good teammate in Ryan Newman that is good and our unofficial teammate in David Gilliland is good too. We have been pretty excited about our car this week."
WHY WEREN'T YOU AND RYAN DRAFTING TOGETHER? "We know we can and we have here in the past and know we can do that. It is just he has worked with Denny (Hamlin) some and had good with that and I've had good luck with David. Different theories for different points of the race and doesn't mean one is right or wrong, we just have two different approaches. Trust me, we are comfortable running with each other when it comes to the end if we need to."
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 QUAKER STATE/MENARDS CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 10TH:
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: "We had no idea how we would qualifying. We just did tandem drafting yesterday with Kevin (Harvick). It looks like we are going to start a long ways away from each other. We'll have to get teamed up after the start of the race and get gone. We'll figure out what to plan is until we get together tonight."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER FOLDS OF HONOR CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 31ST:
ON QUALIFYING: "As you go through the weekend, you learn a lot of things about who you want to draft with and hopefully we can stick with our teammates and do the things that we need to do to put ourselves in position at the end with our Budweiser Chevrolet. I just want to thank the fans out there, they voted on this car to pick this particular paint scheme and tonight's (Nationwide Series) race should be fun"
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH:
ON HIS RADIO DIAL GRAPHIC: "We are having fun. We have got little pictures of everybody's faces. They teased me about forgetting who is driving what car sometimes so they put pictures of everybody's faces on there so I couldn't get confused. They aren't very flattering pictures to say the least. They are actually pretty comical."
IS IT HARD TO CONCENTRATE? "It really isn't because honestly you are not doing it often. Once you get with a guy, you are going to be with him awhile. Then as things get mixed up towards the end of the race, you might have to change it quickly. Pretty much everybody is going to have a lot of different frequencies on their radio. You can't have everybody, you just have to have the people you think you are most likely to work with. Some of it is just a guess. Hopefully we'll, at the end of the race tomorrow; people will be talking about hoping they could work with us. Hopefully everything works out."