JIMMIE JOHNSON, No. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET won his second Bud pole of the 2002 season during time trials for the Aaron'S 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. His first pole came in the season opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. ...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, No. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET won his second Bud pole of the 2002 season during time trials for the Aaron'S 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. His first pole came in the season opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Johnson has now been the highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie in four of the season's nine races. Johnson leads the chase for Raybestos® Rookie Of The Year honors by 10 points (111-101) over Ryan Newman.
"That's a very good lap. The thing that is amazing to me is this is the car that we had at Daytona and the body was knocked off of it. We got it in the fab shop and the 48 and 24 teams worked real hard to get this thing back together. We have some more motor from the engine department. It's a total team effort to come here and go this fast again. We didn't have a chance to wind tunnel it or take it testing. Hats off to the guys on this Lowe's Monte Carlo team. They did an awesome job."
YOU'VE RACED AT DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA IN THE BUSCH SERIES.
"Luckily the aero packages are close to the same. I just have a lot to learn about the draft. I learned a lot in Daytona and hopefully I'll do a little better here Sunday afternoon."
WERE THERE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR YOU AND THE TEAM HERE AT TALLADEGA?
"We had a feeling that we would be strong but the car had to be totally rebuilt after Daytona and these things are so temperamental you can do something really small and it makes a big difference. It was nice this morning when we unloaded that the car was right on par where it was when we were here testing it with the old body on it that was knocked off at Daytona. We're very happy."
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE RACE SUNDAY?
"Finish in the top-15. That was our goal going into the races at the beginning of the year. I finished 15th at Daytona and if we can keep finishing in the top-15, leaving that as a realistic mark, we'll be good in the points and getting the job done for the sponsor."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 12 ATTEL FORD, QUALIFIED EIGHTH.
"We tried to tune it up a little bit. It was a good run for the Alltel Ford and I think hopefully we'll be in the top-10. It's a big improvement from Daytona and that's important for us to make improvements. From where we came from in Daytona, where we qualified I think 36th, I am definitely happy. It's hard to make big improvements in these types of race cars. There not as much race cars as they are watches and it's hard to make that watch keep time for 400 years, I guess (laughs). That's what it feels like."
WHAT DID YOU DO TO IMPROVE YOUR PROGRAM FROM DAYTONA TO TALLADEGA?
"We just made the body a little better and made the engine a little bit better. The guys at the engine company did a great job. We had to reskin the body a little bit and make improvements wherever we could. Fortunately, we have made improvements and that's definitely hard to do at a place like this."
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH HERE IN SUNDAY'S RACE?
"Finish in the top-10. That's important for us right now."
YOU AND YOUR TEAMMATE RUSTY WALLACE ARE THE TWO FASTEST FORDS IN QUALIFYING. DID YOU SHARE ANY INFORMATION WITH YOUR TEAMMATE?
"We share everything. Back at the shop, the engineers, the crew chiefs, we share everything. I think we did a couple of things to our car to make it a little bit better. I don't know if we are going to be able to do those things in race trim. I'm happy to be able to have the run that we did."
SHAWNA ROBINSON, NO. 49 BAM RACING DODGE, QUALIFIED 42ND
"It's the first one that we're going home from. It's not very good. It's the best that we've run since we've been here. We tested 52-flats and I don't know why we haven't been able to get back there. We've changed everything that could be changed. The guys worked really hard. It just wasn't our day. I guess what gets me the most is that we did slow down so much from where we had tested. That's frustrating because we didn't change anything on the car. Before qualifying we changed the suspension in the rear end (to see) if it was anything like that. We don't have enough. Darn."