Charlotte: GM teams qualifying quotes

Jimmie Johnson ...

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
5th position

HOW WAS THE LAP? It was a really good effort for the Lowe's team. We're still trying to figure this track out. We obviously had it figured out and knew exactly what we needed to do at the old track. We're still searching a little bit, but we're making great gains. Ran a very respectable lap and we'll just get to work in race practice and make the car better yet. I'm very happy. We're withing the window of winning this race and the Lowe's team is doing a great job. I'm real happy.

DOES IT MATTER WHERE YOU START IN THIS RACE? No, it doesn't. Everybody's on a different agenda. If you set the car up for the beginning of the race in the sun, you're not going to be very good for the night portions. Everybody has a different strategy. It doesn't matter where you start a 600 mile race. It does matter where you are on pit road to qualify in the top 5 so that you can get a good pit road selection. But, after that is 600 miles.

Kyle Busch #5 CARQUEST Chevrolet
6th position

IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S NOT THAT EASY TO QUALIFY HERE AT CHARLOTTE That was one of the scariest laps I've had in a long time. I haven't had very many scary laps either, but, that was one of the most. The Carquest Chevrolet has been awesome all weekend long. Even so when we tested here a couple of weeks ago, it was really, really good. I know that we have a good race car. I didn't think we were going to be that good in qualifying. I told Steve before we went out that I'm not too optimistic about going out this early, especially here at the Coke 600 because I know the cooler it gets, the faster you go. So, we'll just have to see.


WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO RUN A LONG RACE LIKE THE COCA-COLA 600? It just takes good nutrition like a good meal before the race and a good night before - also a good day before the race. Running the Busch race this year as well as going into the Cup race, I did the same thing last year, but the Cup race I believe I missed out probably on only a couple miles because we ended up racing the whole thing last year and we made the race. I think we only missed about four laps or something like that. Jeff was a few laps down and we had to give him a spot at the end of the race. It was a good event for us and we were able to have a decent day and just kind of hung out there. Jimmie was fast and it was kind of cool to watch him blow by us and disappear. And then he'd come around a little bit later and we'd see him again. This year I think it's going to be a different story. Maybe we can watch him from the front windshield and stay there.

WITH ALL THE RUBBER PUT DOWN ON THE TRACK THIS WEEKEND, HOW MUCH CHANGE DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE? I predict it being more or less the same pretty much. The more rubber that gets on the place is going to be a little bit different for some guys and a little bit different for others. But I think overall the more rubber that's going to get down is not really going to benefit us. I think the speeds might slow down just a little bit due to the more rubber, I think, because of the fact that the grinding has gone on here. If you're running on that fresh asphalt where it's ground, I think you're gong to be faster than when the rubber starts building up. Then you're just running on top of rubber. Other places we go to, it seems as though the more rubber that gets built up, the better it is for tire wear. So it's kind of a wish-wash deal there. So it's just going to depend on how far guys move up the race track and how far they think they need to go in order to stay with the fresh asphalt or not and how their tire wear is and everything else. It'll be curious to see. I was talking to Humpy today earlier today and he says as soon as this race is over, he's coming back in here and finish grinding the bottom in Turn 2 and he's going to do a couple of other spots around the race track and the Legends oval for the guys who run on the outside of the Legends track. So that's what I'm looking forward to because I've got to run the Legends series here as a car owner this summer, so it's going to be fun.

Mike Bliss #0 Net Zero Best Buy Chevrolet
8th position

THAT'S A GREAT AMOUNT OF SPEED FOR THE TEMPERATURES Well, we tested real hard and this is a better car. We weren't that good in practice. Just kind of put in some great calls there in changes. I was a little surprised we ran that quick. I didn't think I'd run that quick in the heat. I was mad after the truck driver came back and said that we drew one (first qualifying position), I was like, 'Hey, no way we're going to have a good starting spot.' We'll be pretty good, I think. The Net Zero Best Buy team is working hard. Now I can go home and watch the end of this and eat dinner.

Brian Vickers #25 GMAC / Chevrolet
14th position

HOW WAS YOUR LAP? You know, it wasn't bad. We wanted to be a little bit better, but we'll take it. I think we've got a lot better race car than a qualifying car. The GMAC Chevy team did a great job in practice. Little tight off both ends. And it was one of those laps that felt a lot faster than it was. But, you know, we'll take it.

SAME SUCCESSFUL CAR YOU HAD LAST WEEKEND? Yeah, 10-4. This isn't an impound race but I honestly wish it was. We seem to do a little bit better when it was. You know, it's still a solid start for us.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. #8 Budweiser Chevrolet
15th position

I don't really know where we'll end up once it's over, but I don't care. I'm real happy with that lap. We picked up a lot from practice, and as long as we're able to get the car better, I'm happy about it. We had a team meeting after practice, got Martin and Michael and everybody together and discussed where our cars were at, and how to make 'em better. Our car was a little bit tight on the qualifying run, but we'll be good for the race.

Robby Gordon #7 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet
25th position

Note: Gordon matched his best qualifying effort since February where he also started 25th in Fontana, Calif.

We were consistently fast in practice and had it not been for being a bit loose in qualifying, our time would have been a little bit better. The Fruit of the Loom team is working hard and I'm excited for Sunday's race.

Terry Labonte #44 Kellogg's Chevrolet
26th position

HOW WAS YOUR LAP? My car was a little tighter than I thought I was going to be, so it wasn't bad. Not bad for qualifying?

CONDITIONS FAST OUT THERE? No, it was too tight and that slowed me down a little bit. That's why I was faster on the second lap because it was so tight on the first lap that I had to run a second lap. And then it got better. Anyways, it was good.

Scott Riggs #10 Valvoline Chevrolet
28th position

HOW WAS YOUR LAP? Well, it wasn't bad for us. Good pickup for us because the track cooled down, so everyone is going to pick up a lot. You know, I hoped it would be a decent qualifying spot for us. I think that, you know, we made some adjustments there in qualifying that were definitely in the right direction. Just wish we could have found them all over. But you know, we've still got a car in tact. We didn't back it into the wall this time. We're going to work on it for the 600.

YOU'RE COMING OFF A ROUGH WEEKEND LAST SATURDAY. LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS ONE? Yeah, that was a rough weekend last weekend. We had a lot of room for improvement from last weekend and we were able to do it today. We were able to bring another car out and feel a lot of things out today. I felt like we were just starting to get into our area where we were fine tuning it and then practice was over. We sort of rolled the dice and made some more changes right before qualifying. I think they were right, so hopefully those same kind of changes will help us for the 600.

Dave Blaney #07 Jack Daniel's Country Cocktail Chevrolet
31st position

Well, we struggled in practice today and it was a big improvement. It's still not going to be very good, but it improved. I was a little shocked-I thought the lap was better than the time. It felt better to me than what that time showed. I don't know if I didn't run it hard enough or what we didn't get there, but we'll take what we got.

Kevin Harvick #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet
33rd position

HOW WAS QUALIFYING? Qualifying was good.

HOW WAS THE TRACK? Track is fast, that's why it sucks when we race. It's so fast that you can't race side by side. But, it's cool for qualifying.

HOW WAS THIS FROM PRACTICE? Practice we struggled a little bit. We got it pretty good though, and we'll be fine for the race.

Cal Wells
Car Owner, PPI Motorsports #25 Tide Chevrolet

Note: Driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr. did not qualify for Sunday's race

DID BOBBY MAKE ANY COMMENTS FOLLOWING HIS LAPS? We had an engine problem. The engine problem, I'm sure kept us out of the race, but we need to be better anyway. I don't know-it just wouldn't run. We had the problem earlier today and we thought we had it fixed but we didn't. I don't know if it was running out of gas or too much gas, but in the corners, it was missing and popping and banging.

The thing that's so suprising is that we ran a 50 here in testing. It was cool like this like it is now. It wasn't in the sun. And we had a good run last week. Qualified reasonably well and ran really well in the Open. I was really excited for the race and thought we'd be good in the race. You know, when it's all about one lap, the draw is critical and horsepower is critical. And we didn't get either tonight. I'm looking forward to Dover. Good track for Bobby and a good track for us. And I think we'll bounce back and dig in. And, you know, we've got Ron (Fellows) driving for us at the road courses and I'm sure he'll get it in the show there. So, I think we'll be fine. We'll claw our way back.

Jason Leffler #11 FedEx Freight Chevrolet

Note: Driver Jason Leffler did not qualify for Sunday's race

Yeah, I don't know if it's good enough. It might be too little too late. Hopefully we get this FedEx car in the race and get it running a little better. We've been struggling all day but the guys have been doing a good job. We had a little bit of an issue with the motor before qualifying and a vibration. We changed that and the guys worked hard.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Hamilton , Terry Labonte , Jason Leffler , Kevin Harvick , Robby Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Scott Riggs , Mike Bliss , Brian Vickers , Dave Blaney , Kyle Busch