NASCAR; Chevy teams Phoenix II qualifying notes, quotes

Team Chevy Racing press release

Team Chevy Qualifying Report - Phoenix International Raceway

Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

AVONDALE, AZ - (November 12, 2011) - Mark Martin, No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, leads three Team Chevy drivers with top-10 qualifying efforts for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500. Martin will start fourth in the 43-car field.

Jamie McMurray put the No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet in the sixth starting position and two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion Tony Stewart behind the wheel of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet will roll off eighth for the 312-lap/312-mile/500K race.

Matt Kenseth (Ford) was the pole winner. A.J. Allmendinger (Ford), Marcos Ambrose (Ford) and Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) complete the top-five qualifiers.

A total of 16 Team Chevy drivers will take the green flag at 3:00 p.m. ET with live coverage on ESPN TV, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

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MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 4TH:

ON HIS LAP: “I got a really good one and two and was really surprised how good it was, I thought three and four was going to be really good for grip, I thought all the guys were having trouble in one and two, so I went after it a little too much down there, got the car up in the high groove and lost a ton of time there. It is too bad, we had half the track right anyway, just big complement to everybody on the GoDaddy.com team, did an awesome job, just guessing what we might need for this condition and just wish I would have gotten all of it on both ends. At least got one end right.”

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JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH:

ON HIS LAP: “Not a very good lap, you stand down there and you watch everybody drive in turn one and you see them all get loose and chase the car, but when it comes to qualifying, you kind of have to go for it and give it a shot. I drove in there the first lap and thought I was going to make it initially before I got on the brakes but, as the car got down towards the corner, it just got out from underneath me. It is really hard to explain to people that are watching us on TV that when you get out of that black zone, it goes from being able to run like a 26 second lap to a 50 second lap, it is just really slick. That was a good recovery; I am disappointed because I really thought we had a shot at the pole. We have had a really good car all weekend, so that is disappointing, but the McDonald’s Chevy has been good and there will be some big pit strategies happen I think.”

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TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 8TH:

ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: “I thought it was alright, we did not get on the pole, but we had a nice solid lap and that is what we needed to do.”

HOW IS THE TRACK? “I didn’t think it was a big drama, I mean it is slower obviously, it lost grip but it is the same as what we had when we tested here. I am alright if it stays like this for the whole day.”

YOU LIKE THE SLICK TRACKS: “Yea, I love it.”

DO YOU THINK THE SECOND GROOVE WILL COME IN, ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT IT? “You got a whole Nationwide race to watch to figure that out, you will know as soon as we know, because you are going to watch the same race we are going to watch here in about an hour, so we will know here in a little while.”

WERE YOU SURPRISED BY ANYTHING OUT THERE? “I wasn’t, this track was real temperature sensitive at the test, so this is what we anticipated once we saw the day and what kind of conditions we were going to have, this was not a shock by any means.”

IS THIS TRACK LIKE INDY AND CHARLOTTE? “Yea, the way the temperature sensitivity is, absolutely, it is very, very similar to those two.”

I GUESS THE FIRST BATTLE WAS A TOP-TEN STARTING SPOT FOR THE WEEKEND, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THAT STARTING SPOT? “Yea, I would like to have been a little better; I think our car is a little better than that. I was a little too free to run a faster lap than that. It was a solid run and we are in good shape right now.”

DID YOU DO A QUALIFYING RUN IN THAT SESSION OF PRACTICE YESTERDAY? “We only did one qualifying run for the two sessions, so pretty happy with the way we ran.”

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JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 16TH

ON HIS LAP “I got an ‘okay’ second lap but it’s just unclear what type of lap it’s going to take right now. It’s early in the session and we’re sitting in second. I’d love to stay there; but I just don’t know right now. I hope the sun comes out and it gets hot and more slick and then that would guarantee us a better starting spot. But that was an exciting lap to say the least.”

WHAT MADE IT EXCITING? “Well, I went into Turn 1 and anticipated what I thought the grip level would be and as I got there, it wasn’t the case (laughs) and I ended up by the wall in the center of the turn. Luckily I didn’t tear the car up.”

THESE ARE THE ONLY TWO LAPS YOU’LL HAVE ON THE TRACK FROM FRIDAY UNTIL SUNDAY, SO HOW DO YOU PREPARE; ESPECIALLY WITH THE WEATHER CONDITIONS? “We’re really learning. The track changed so much from the first two test sessions I was a part of with the tire test to where we were yesterday; and yesterday was like we’d never been here before just because the track changed so much. I think at the end of the day you just need to have a lot of adjustability built in your car. We’ll learn a little today but the race is a whole other game. So it’s going to be a crapshoot.”

DO YOU WISH YOU WERE IN THE NATIONWIDE RACE, OR WOULD THAT MESS YOU UP EVEN FURTHER? “I haven’t spent enough time between the two cars to help or have it work. I commend Carl (Edwards) and (Kevin) Harvick and (Clint) Bowyer and a lot of these guys but it takes a lot of time in both series to get it right. I would probably just screw myself up if I just came in and did a one-off.”

WOULD YOU BE PAYING ATTENTION TO THE LINE ON THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS? “Every Cup driver will be glued to the television and making sure that they see what’s going on. With it being so new, you can’t fall off of past experience; it’s a whole new race track and a whole new world.”

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JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 23RD:

ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: “Yea, we will see that track is treacherous right now. Last night we were able to really get after it, and go hard right from pit-road and a lot of grip, but boy the conditions have changed dramatically here today and I mean that is a good lap but let me tell you, it was not pretty and I could not be aggressive at all. It is a little frustrating, but we will see where it ends up.”

WE HAD A SPIN EARLY IN QUALIFYING AND ONE IN NATIONWIDE AS WELL, HOW MUCH ARE YOU DECIDING YOU HAVE TO HOLD BACK? “Well, it is obvious when you see what is going on out there and that the grip level is low and so it plays a factor of what your decision making is and I just tried to come off pit-road as hard as I could, get as much heat in the tires as I could, and came to the green decent but I could tell the grip was not quite there but I was not expecting what I had in turn one it was just completely sideways going in there, which I had never had any of that throughout practice, so it is going to be interesting to watch and see what happens.”

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LANDON CASSILL, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 21ST:

ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: “It was fun, I want to do it again, this track is nice and smooth and fresh pavement always does funny things with these race cars so, it is kind of a man’s-man’s lap out there right now, so it will be cool to see who is up top.”

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DALE EARNHARDT JR, NO. 88 RETRO MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22ND:

ON HIS LAP: “The track is real slick, we just tried to go out there and do the best we could. I think the track is going to keep improving, which is a little bit disappointing, and guys are going to get faster and faster. We struggled yesterday in practice and felt like we improved a little bit. It is real slick and you just kind of go out there and take care of yourself.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, gordon, johnson, martin, mcmurray