RaybestosÂ® Rookie Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe'S Chevrolet won the pole For The Monte Carlo 400 At Richmond. "That was pretty good. I just found out that I did that on the first lap which was surprising to me. I thought the second lap...
Raybestos® Rookie Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe'S Chevrolet won the pole For The Monte Carlo 400 At Richmond.
"That was pretty good. I just found out that I did that on the first lap which was surprising to me. I thought the second lap was going to be a little better. It got real loose off of four and I thought I left some on the table but it doesn't matter. I did it on the first lap. It's a credit to these guys on the Lowe's Monte Carlo. These guys worked their butts off at the shop and here at the race track. We're working awesome as a team and having a good time."
COULD YOU TELL THAT THE TRACK WAS A LOT SLICKER IN QUALIFYING?
"You could see that there was a glare on the track that wasn't there before, so the track has changed with the oils are coming out of it and the sun has been beating on it."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT AT THE POLE?
"Coming into this weekend I didn't think we had a shot at it, but as practice went on we had a really strong car that was really solid the whole time. I knew we had a shot at it. It was just a matter of me being able to repeat."
YOU RAN WELL HERE IN THE SPRING AND SEEMED POISED TO BE STRONG AGAIN SATURDAY NIGHT.
"That's the neat thing about this sport is that there is a lot of races throughout the season. The neat thing is that this team, regardless of the ups and downs we might have for performances, they are always behind me 100 percent all the time."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 12 ALLTEL FORD, QUALIFIED SECOND. NEWMAN MISSED THE POLE BY JUST .070 SECOND. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN WINSTON CUP RACING'S MODERN ERA THAT TWO RAYBESTOS® ROOKIES HAVE QUALIFIED ON THE FRONT ROW FOR A WINSTON CUP RACE.
"I guess I might have left a little bit on the table with one them. The Alltel crew did a good job preparing the car after me spinning out in practice there. It was a good run for the Alltel Ford. Hopefully we can stick with it but I see Jimmie (Johnson) just knocked us off. We will see what we can do when we get them in the race."
WILL THE CHASSIS MAKE MOST OF THE DIFFERENCE SATURDAY NIGHT OR WILL IT BE THE CAR BODY?
"The chassis makes a big difference here, but Tony Stewart and I both knew what it is was like to have aero push here in the spring race."
WHAT HAPPENED IN PRACTICE WHEN YOUR CAR WENT AROUND?
"We got the balance a little too loose and I screwed up my lap and got it up into the fence. The guys did an awesome job fixing it."
WAS THE TRACK A LOT SLICKER IN QUALIFYING VERSUS PRACTICE?
"It definitely lost grip. I wouldn't say it was more slippery, but it definitely lost a lot of grip."
SELECTED JOHNSON PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
"It was a great lap and I think it's neat that we have an all Raybestos® Rookie front row. Hopefully we'll scare everybody behind us and they'll let us go for the first few laps and let us get sorted out. Congratulations to Ryan. They've obviously had an incredible year. Our Fridays have been real tough on us, from crashing in practice and qualifying poorly. We've had a hard day on Friday but we've always been able to rally back on Sundays and have a solid finish. I'm really excited to turn around our qualifying program and get a pole here. We've got four poles now, two at speedway races where I didn't have anything to do with it; it was all the team. To get a pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway which is one of the hardest tracks to qualify at, and on the short track here at Richmond means a lot to me and this whole team."
YOU WERE ONE OF THREE GUYS THAT CAME HERE TO TEST IN JULY AND CAME AWAY VERY PLEASED WITH HOW WELL THE TEST WENT. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN HERE FOR A DAY?
"When we were here in the spring, when we were racing at night the track was fine and didn't have issues. But when we had to restart the race in the day time the next day with all the heat of the cars and the heat of the day it started to roll up the sealer. With our entire race and all the other races that have taken place and all the traffic on the race track it has worn down the sealer and we're going to have Richmond race like everyone is used to seeing."
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE RACE TO YOU?
"It's extremely important, especially when you are in such a tight battle and such a competitive battle. Ryan is racing every week for the win. We've been up there racing for wins and have a couple of wins. So to win the rookie of the year battle you're going to have to be top-10, maybe even top-five in points to win the rookie of the year, which is an incredible feat in itself. Ryan and I have a friendship off the race track and we respect each other on the race track and each other's teams. It's been a very competitive year and I'm sure it's going to go down to the last race."