Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Wins the Pole at Atlanta; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Four of Top-Five and Five of Top-10 Starting Spots Hampton, GA -- March 5, 2010 -- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will start the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet on the pole...
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Wins the Pole at Atlanta; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Four of Top-Five and Five of Top-10 Starting Spots
Hampton, GA -- March 5, 2010 -- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will start the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet on the pole for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500. Earnhardt's pole speed set a record for fastest in the new-generation NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. This is his second pole in 22 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Four Team Chevy drivers captured top-five starting positions. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, will start third with Mark Martin, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in the fourth starting spot. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet, will roll off fifth for the 325-lap/500.5-mile race.
Ryan Newman qualified the No. 39 Tornados Chevrolet in the seventh starting position to give Chevrolet five of the top-10 starters.
Kyle Busch (Toyota) qualified second.
A total of 14 Team Chevy drivers will take the green flag on Sunday, more than any other manufacturer.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER:
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "The Amp Energy/National Guard Chevrolet was pretty good in practice. We just needed to get a little bit better. And we just need to hit that perfect lap. There are a lot of cars out there that are fast and able to run good. You've just got to hit the marks and everything and the car was there. We knew that the time of day would be a little bit different. It's really, really fast. You've just got to hang on. I think there are a lot of cars out there that can run that fast. You've just got to hang on to it."
DID YOU LEAVE ANYTHING OUT THERE?
"I was not back on the gas as hard as I wanted it to be, so there's a lot more out there. The track is in great shape and it's a good tire and there are some really fast cars out there that can beat that."
TALK ABOUT YOUR CAR FOR SUNDAY
"Well we ran it in qualifying trim the whole practice. I always enjoy this place. But at the same time, I'll tell you this. We come here and practice really well on Saturday and then have not had that same experience in the race. I really will have to try to work a little bit harder to make sure if the car is really fast in practice just make sure we've got it driving good."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3rd:
"It was good; we were tight in practice and still a little tight. But it was good. Our Target Chevy is good. We have a good car every week. Today is the first time in a long time we came in from practice and say "Oh, this doesn't drive that good.' So we had to work on it a lot today. It seems like the track has slowed down a little so to run that fast is pretty good. I was telling the guys if we could run through the middle of three, we would be very good. I'm sure I Iost a little bit out of four. As soon as I picked up the throttle it washed. But good.
"It was a good lap, we have been working on it really hard. After first practice I said it sucked, I know I say that and here we go again, we don't have to change anything. We had to work on it a lot today. The relationship with Brian (Pattie) and the whole team is so good, we just can't go wrong. We should be ok for Sunday. We made a lot of changes, tried a lot of different things. We have a very good idea of what we need to do. The whole thing is how much the tires are going to drop off. It can lose a lot of grip. It is going to be very different than before."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET QUALIFIED 4TH:
ON THE LAP: "I'm happy with it. We had some minor issues. We were quick in practice but we had some issues that we really needed to address. And they did a good job of addressing those, we just missed it just a little bit on the whole package. And I missed the lap just a little bit. It was a good run. I'm tickled to death to be driving for these guys. I want to encourage all the fans out there to go to Hendrickcars.com and register to win my uniform; the one I'm going to race in on Sunday."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 5TH:
ON THE LAP "I'm real proud of this team. That was a great lap. I know it's not a qualifying lap, but what a huge pick-up. And I know the track's getting a lot more grip in it but the car just drove both ends the same. I got a little bit loose off of (Turn) 2. It was a good lap. The guys worked so hard. We thought we had a good car for race runs but we were way off. There wasn't a whole lot of room for improvement but I felt like there was enough that we could get beat, and the track was only going to get colder and faster so our early draw might have hurt us, but all in all I'm very happy with the car."
ON THE SUNSHINE: "I actually lucked out. I was going to put a dark shield on it (windshield) but I said no, I think we'll be all right. And it went down behind the billboards right as I went, so I got lucky with the sun and I needed my sight (sun) and needed to be able to see every square inch of the race track."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 7TH:
HOW WAS YOUR RUN? "Kasey Kahne was a good benchmark. I think he was third in practice and we were forth. We missed it about as much as we did in practice. But the Tornados Chevrolet was good. We couldn't see anything going into Turn 1. Need to talk to NASCAR about that. But it's a fun race track and we've got a great car this weekend and we'll just go out there and see what we've got.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 16th:
"To be honest with you, it was a decent. We were concerned about over driving the entry in to three so I may have been a little conservative there. I will just have go back look a lap tracker and video and all that stuff to bet a better understanding because I thought that was decent. I figured it would be top-five. I just don't have a clue right not, it seemed like a decent lap. I felt like that was pretty tall so a little confused. Last week we qualified 20th and finished well. I want a good pit stall but fortunately it was slow enough, we should get a good pit stall, see who we are going to be around and where and where the fast cars. Tomorrow we will look for comfort and make sure I can drive it for 500 miles. Speed really isn't a big deal; it is just about being comfortable in the seat for the whole race on Sunday."
MIKE BLISS, No. 36 WAVE ENERGY DRINK CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 30TH:
"That was good. That was pretty good, actually. I don't know, though--it felt pretty fast. It felt a lot faster than the time we ran. The car was exactly the same from practice, very balanced and neutral." I have no idea how we will be on Sunday (smiles)."
-source: gm racing