Team Chevy Drivers Claim Two Top-Five and Five Top-10 Starting Spots at The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 13, 2011) - Going out 25th in the qualifying order, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, sat on the provisional pole in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying after his lap broke the existing track record at Watkins Glen International as driver after driver couldn't match his lap of 1:10:188 (125.663 mph). But, ultimately, the five-time defending champion had to settle for the fourth place starting position in the 43-car field for Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen.
Starting fifth in the 90-lap/220.5-mile road course race will be 2010 winner Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.
Also scoring top-10 starting positions for Team Chevy are Ryan Newman, No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet starts sixth; Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet rolls off seventh and Regan Smith, No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in 10th place.
A total of 16 Chevrolet drivers will take the green flag of the 22nd race of the 2011 season.
Kyle Busch (Toyota) won the pole. A.J. Allmendinger (Ford) and Marcos Ambrose (Ford) complete the top-five qualifiers.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 4th:
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: "It is hard for me to say that I did (leave anything on the table). I didn't beat the pace that some guys did yesterday, so I think there might be some speed out there. But the changes that we made really calmed down my car, I knew that was the fasted lap I had made and the most put together I've made. Very proud of the effort Chad (Knaus, crew chief) and the guys have put into this thing and hope it gets us close to the front.
“We made some changes going into today’s qualifying session. We found some speed in the car and made it a lot more comfortable to drive. So I’m pleased with the lap; I’m not sure where that will kind of stack up there in the end. But it was a respectable and solid lap for us.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 7TH:
“We had a good qualifying run there. We struggled a little bit yesterday in the practices, but we’re still making change on it and we’ll take what we learned here in qualifying and hopefully make a couple more before the race tomorrow and get a little bit better. But I’m really proud of (crew chief) Darian Grubb and all the guys on the Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy. They’ve don’t a great job as always.”
YOU GOT TO DRIVE A CAR THROUGH THE BOOT A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. DID YOU ALMOST DRIVE DOWN THERE TODAY? “No, I knew where I was going. It was fun; it was an honor to drive a McLaren Formula 1 car here and do a seat-swap with Lewis Hamilton. It was a lot of fun; we had a really good time. I enjoyed it. The problem is when we come back here after running that car, I told Darian I’m going to want this thing to stick like glue like that thing did. It’s made for a fun weekend. But it was really cool to do that. It was neat to run the boot. Hopefully one of these days we’ll get to run the Cup Series down there too.”
GOOD QUALIFYING EFFORT “Yeah, I’m definitely happy with that. It was a good run for us, for sure. We struggled this weekend so hopefully this is a sign that we’re getting things turned around. I’m proud of Darian Grubb and all the guys on this Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy; they really worked hard yesterday. We threw a lot of things at this car. We just can’t seem to find the balance of what it’s wanting. But it was much better in qualifying here, so hopefully we’ll be good tomorrow.”
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP AROUND THE GLEN “It was pretty uneventful. I just made sure I didn’t over-drive any of the corners. We’ve been watching qualifying today and watching guys that are forcing themselves into mistakes. So I just tried to not make that mistake and to have just a nice clean solid lap.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 5TH:
“We made a lot of changes in the second practice so I wasn’t really sure how the car was going to handle during that qualifying lap. It was a little loose and there was a lot of dirt in some of the corners on the track so I don’t think I pushed it as hard as I should of. Overall, I’m still happy with what the guys have put together and I think the set-up will work for us come race time.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 6TH:
“It was a good lap. I had more speed in the car; I felt that afterwards, but I was really proud of the effort. We spent some time in qualifying trim yesterday in first practice and I think that was a definite gain for us as far as just knowing what we had speed-wise. I don’t know if Kyle (Busch) is going to beat us but a top six qualifying effort here is probably our best I think, at least in my memory.”
SO WAS THIS BETTER THAN YOU EXPECTED? “Not better than I expected. I gave up what I thought could have been a pole run in hindsight; I had more in the car. But I’m happy getting the top-10 run that we did.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 10th:
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN: "We struggled yesterday really bad. These guys have been working hard on this car. I honestly think that most of our struggles are with the universal joint between the pedals and the steering wheel...that would be me. But we are getting there. We are making gains on it. Hopefully that will be a good starting spot for this Furniture Row Chevy. We can work on our race trim from there."
*** KEVIN HARVICK, NO.29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 23RD:
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? “It was just way too conservative. I went through Turn 1 just a little bit hot and it didn’t really hurt me that bad there but I was just watching everything else that everybody was doing and got in the bus stop just way too easy”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 25TH:
ON HIS LAP “I just made some mistakes there but the car was driving really good and it was just not enough time to get the heat in the brakes; and wheel-hopped down into (Turn) 1. I need to be able to try to do a better job of getting more heat in the rear brakes.”
WAS THIS BETTER THAN YESTERDAY? BETTER THAN WHAT YOU EXPECTED? “The car drove good. The car drove pretty good today.”
DURING THE RACE TOMORROW, DO YOU JUST WANT TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE SO YOU DON’T LOSE ANYTHING HERE? “Yeah, we’ve just got to try to have a good finish. Hopefully we can do the right things and get a good finish.”
DO YOU HAVE YOUR DAY PLANNED IN CASE IT RAINS? “No, not really. I don’t know where to go here.”
JEFF BURTON, NO.31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 41st:
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: "We've been struggling this weekend. We really haven't been very good. Last night we decided to make a lot of changes, which was the right thing to do. We thought we would qualify 25th the way we were, and then we made a lot of changes and it just didn't work out for us. But it was the right strategy. What we figured is that we would either get better or we won't and if we don't get better, that puts us in a position to play some different strategies that some other people can't play, and as you know, that means as much here as anything. Its bad to qualify bad, but on the other hand you can make it work here. It just puts you in a different strategy position than everybody else. Disappointing because that certainly not what we wanted but it is what it is and we are going to try and make it work."