Concord, NC - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, claimed his third pole of the season taking the top starting spot for the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS). It is the defending and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ...
Concord, NC - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, claimed his third pole of the season taking the top starting spot for the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS). It is the defending and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion's third pole at LMS.
Johnson heads in to the fifth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leading the standings at the track where he has five previous victories.
Mark Martin, No. 5 Pop Tarts/CARQUEST Impala SS - second in the Chase point standings, will start on the outside of the front row. It is Martin's 10th top-two qualifying effort of the 2009 season.
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot - currently fourth in points, will start fifth in the 334-lap/501-mile race on Saturday night to give Team Chevy three of the top-five qualifiers.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen Impala SS - 10th in the point standings, will roll off sixth with Mike Bliss, No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Impala SS in the seventh starting position.
Brad Keselowski, No. 25 GoDaddy.com Impala SS and Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont/ Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen Impala SS - fifth in the Chase standings, will start eighth and ninth respectively giving Chevy Impala SS drivers seven of the top-10 starters.
Other Team Chevy Chase drivers qualified as follows: Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Lysol Impala SS - third in the standings - 18th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Pole Sitter
HAVE YOU QUIT SHAKING YET? "Yeah, I'm doing well now. What a lap. The speeds that we're running around here in the COT car are pretty amazing. It was just a great lap. We were great off the truck and were able to fine-tune a little bit and lay down another good one in qualifying.
ARE YOU READY TO RE-CLAIM THIS TRACK ON SATURDAY NIGHT? "I'd like to, but I just need to focus on doing my best job and making sure that this race team is focused on the right things and go out there and put in 100 percent; and where we end up is cool."
HOW WAS THAT LAP? "It was exciting. I think the grip level has gone down some from what we had earlier in the day. And that lap was much more eventful than what I had in practice earlier today. I'm very proud to back-up that lap. Hopefully it's enough. The tough part is everybody is sitting in the truck right now working up their courage to go bust off a lap and watching what's going on. I hope we stay on top. It would be nice to have that first pit stall."
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE SPEED SENSE HERE? 192 MPH, THAT'S PRETTY FAST "Man, its fast. You're not out of the gas long. At the end of the straightway it doesn't seem that fast because you're going so fast through the turn that the novelty has worn off once you get on the straightaway and you can catch your breath and okay, here comes that corner again and you bomb it in there and blast another lap. Whatever is going on with the tire combination right now and the track, there is a ton of grip. These cars are putting up some fast laps."
GREAT LAP "Yeah, we came close to backing up our time in practice and that says a lot. I think the track is losing some grip right now, but that's a fast lap. I don't know if it's a track record but I don't know if I've been that fast here before. That's really quick."
SEEMS LIKE YOU LOST A LITTLE GRIP SINCE THEY REPAVED LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY, ARE YOU STARTING TO GET THAT BACK NOW? "You know, new tracks and new surfaces are a little more forgiving and we seem to do better on tracks with some age and character where handling is a little more important and even line selection. So as this track is aging and it's not so easy to drive, I think the things Chad (Knaus) does with the race car and my driving style comes out. We're hoping to get it back. It's a nice time of the year to get things back and get back to victory lane."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 POP TARTS / CARQUEST IMPALA SS -- Qualified 2nd
ON THE LAP "I'm just so thankful. I feel like I'm one of the luckiest guys around to get a chance to drive Alan Gustafson's car and work with these guys. Man, they put some great stuff under me. It was so much fun to drive that car today, even though I only ran four laps. They were four great laps. I knew I needed to step up my game from practice and I did but it wasn't enough. I wanted to make sure I made it back, so at least I made it back."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE / OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS -- Qualified 5th:
YOU QUALIFYING LAP WAS A LOT BETTER THAN WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD DO EARLIER "Yeah, there are some guys who were shuffled around a little bit so that probably helps us a little bit too. So, I'm pretty happy; that's a pretty good lap for me here (laughs)."
-credit: gm racing