Hampton, GA - Mark Martin put the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS on the pole for Sunday's running of the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It is the 42nd career number one starting spot for Martin and his first since May, ...
Hampton, GA - Mark Martin put the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS on the pole for Sunday's running of the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It is the 42nd career number one starting spot for Martin and his first since May, 2001.
Winning the pole made Martin only the second driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) history over the age of 50 to capture the top qualifying spot.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS, will start fourth in the 325-lap/500.5 mile race.
Defending and three-time NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Impala SS, will start seventh in the 43-car field.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Reese's Impala SS, will roll off 10th in the field to give Team Chevy four of the top-10 qualifiers for the fourth race of the 2009 season.
A total of 16 Chevrolets will start Sunday's race, more than any other manufacturer.
Kurt Busch (Dodge), Jamie McMurray (Ford) and Greg Biffle (Ford) complete the top-five starters.
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 1st:
HOW CLOSE TO THE WALL DID YOU COME TO THE WALL? "I don't know, but I ran out of talent, that is for sure. I am still shaking so I don't know how good I can talk in this interview. I ran out of talent from the center off of four there, there was not way I could leave my foot on the floor and bring it back. Awfully, awfully proud to be driving for CARQUEST and Kellogg's and these guys. We don't have anything to show for what the effort that has been put in but we have had some fast race cars and we are going to keep getting faster. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) is doing a real good job of second guessing me. I think he learns how to second guess me, the better we are doing to do because if we had left it the way I wanted to, I would definitely would have hit the wall coming off of four. I think experience is just going to keep building for us as we go forward. He needs to because I am trying so hard that I will go right over the edge on some of these setup calls. We are making progress working together.
"I was pushing it pretty hard there even at half throttle up off of four there, I just about cleaned the wall out there. Real proud of these guys and this car that I am getting to drive."
YOU SAID YOU WERE A LITTLE WORRIED BECAUSE YOUR FASTEST LAP WAS SO EARLY IN PRACTICE, YOU HAD NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT: "Oh, I wish I would have believed you because I wouldn't be sick now. I will tell you what, I am still shaking, I feel like a rookie to be real honest with you. That is really, really, really cool. In the No. 8 car last year, those guys gave me six outside poles so it is pretty cool for Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) CARQUEST and Kellogg's and this entire bunch, especially after all we have gone through the first three races. The car has been fast. You know I did run out of talent on that lap at least we made it to the line sooner than anybody else so I am really proud for this team."
IT HAS BEEN ALMOST EIGHT YEARS SINCE YOUR LAST POLE: "I was nervous and sick at my stomach about the whole thing just to be honest with you. This is a real special group and I am just so happy for them. We need to go win us a race but this will give us a good starting spot."
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE LOOKING AT IN FINAL PRACTICE? "We have to make this thing drive good. It was a handful in practice. Just because we sat on the pole doesn't give us a leg up on the competition for the race. It is all about getting that thing setup right and that is all in front of us tomorrow. We didn't do any race trim today."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 7th:
HAS THIS TRACK CHANGED OVER THE LAST YEAR? "It has really been since this car was introduced here, it has just been a handful. We have had some good finishes to show for it. They don't have the car we wanted to. We worked very hard and made some great improvements from qualifying practice to now, so I think we are on the right path, going the right way. Carl Edwards is the guys that has had this place figured out the last couple of times in my opinion. We are working hard. It is a track that I love. You can really race anywhere. It is rough, it is old, things that usually help this No. 48 Chevrolet car and myself out. Hopefully we get ourselves dialed in and get the job done
"It is a tough one to get a hold of and it is turning in to a Darlington of sorts. Yes, I am glad we have done so well here and hopefully we can keep it up. We made some great changes to go in to qualifying here and the guys found a lot of speed in the car and I am thankful for that. It is Kobalt Tools race so we need this Kobalt Tools Impala running well."
WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY IT IS TURNING IN TO A DARLINGTON OF SORTS, IS THERE GOING TO BE AN ATLANTA STRIPE? "There is a very good chance. I am serious. Especially as the tires get a little older. I know we are on a different tire, it doesn't feel much different to me but you have to slow down so much as tires fall from lap to lap on a tire. When the sun is out like we had in practice today, it is slick and nasty. The race is going to be exciting. I don't think you will see a race car drive straight, even on the straightaways."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 4th:
"I am very happy because the last couple of weeks because we have been so fast with this Target Chevy in practice and we get to qualifying and struggle because it is too tight and I guess we are still a little bit too tight. We made a little improvement. We went a little more aggressive in the last couple of weeks. The car at the pace to be on pole, but coming out of four I started putting on the power and the front started washing out. I was half throttle when everybody has been wide open and that didn't help. It is great to see the progress that everybody at Earnhardt Ganassi has done over the weekend."
WHAT IS ABOUT ATLANTA THAT SUITS YOUR STYLE? "I don't know, "I don't know. Everybody at Earnhardt Ganassi and this Target Chevy team, we have been running better. I think going to Chevrolet has helped a lot. Having (Martin) Truex and Aric (Almirola) has been a good compliment. I think we are going to learn a lot from each other. If this is the way we are running right now, I am anxious to see what is coming up in about six months from now."
-credit: gm racing