Impala SS Driver Clint Bowyer Wins First Career Bud Pole at Darlington Team Chevy Drivers Capture Five of Top-10 Starting Spots for Dodge Avenger 500 DARLINGTON, S.C. - Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS won the pole ...
Impala SS Driver Clint Bowyer Wins First Career Bud Pole at Darlington
Team Chevy Drivers Capture Five of Top-10 Starting Spots for Dodge Avenger 500
DARLINGTON, S.C. - Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS won the pole position at Darlington Raceway today with a fast time of 29.806 seconds and an average speed of 164.987 miles an hour. It was his first career NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole and the eighth pole position for Chevy in 11 races (seventh consecutive).
Chevy drivers have also claimed the pole position in every new-generation Nextel Cup race featuring the Impala SS - a race car that is yet to be beaten.
"It's very important to me to get a pole," said Bowyer. "I know it was high on (crew chief) Gil (Martin's) list to get himself a pole and get his team in (next year's) Bud Shootout - that's what it's all about. It's nice to start up front in a race but man, I tell you, it's a bummer to have to sit and watch that race (The Bud Shootout) on TV."
Bowyer will start tomorrow's race on the front row next to Greg Biffle. Kenny Wallace, No. 78 Furniture Row Impala SS, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS and Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS were the other Chevy drivers in the top 10 qualifying sixth, seventh, ninth and 10th respectively.
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS - Pole Winner
ON RICHARD CHILDRESS BEING HERE FOR HIS FIRST BUD POLE: "Yeah, he probably wasn't too happy about that. Now I cost him a lot of money. He's got to get another car ready for the Bud Shootout. That's a good one to make him spend some money on."
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN: "Hopefully we can hold on to that. That was a really good bouceback for Gil (Martin) and all the guys. I went out and tore it up in practice and hopefully that will be a good way to pay 'em back.
"(Crew chief) Gil (Martin) and all the guys on this Jack Daniel's Chevrolet is what's good. I went out and tore it up, did my part of trying to run it for them in practice and they came back and fixed it up. The old girl was pretty good."
Kenny Wallace, No. 78 Furniture Row Impala SS - Qualified Sixth
"I just want to thank all my team. We weren't that good when we unloaded. I got through turns one and two as good as I could and I couldn't hit the wall. I knew I made up my mind that if the wall was coming up close to the white flag, if I was coming to the white flag and the wall was coming close I said I'm going to stay in it and just see what happens. I knew that I had to run a fast lap. This one is for my middle daughter Brandy. My wife and all my family is in New York celebrating Mother's Day. I have three daughters and Brandy said she's going to come down and watch her dad so I had to make the race for her."
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Impala SS - Qualified Ninth
THE LAST EIGHT TIMES HERE YOU QUALIFIED OUTSIDE THE TOP 10. DID YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY THIS YEAR? "I don't know, the guys have just done a great job on this Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet. We always run really well here and (have) been in contention to win a couple of races, just haven't closed the deal. But all in all it's been a really good weekend for us. I only did half my job there, I got through one and two good and just kind of didn't get what I needed to out of three and four but all in all it was a great lap for us."
WOULD YOU WANT DALE EARNHARDT, JR. AS A TEAMMATE? "I think he's obviously made a tough decision in his life and I've been in the same situation. It's a hard decision to make and I chose to do what I'm doing here at RCR and that's a great place to race. I don't know how it's all going to work out. I'm sure a lot of things are going to be talked about and (will) happen and he's obviously welcome here. It's just something that we'll have to wait and see how it plays out.
WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR TOMORROW? "I think it's going to be fun. This place is always a lot of fun to race at so I enjoy coming here. It's just a huge challenge to make the car handle well and go good. Our car has been really good since we unloaded and (we) feel really good about it in race trim. I just didn't do a very good job for myself in qualifying. The guys did a great job on the car, I just didn't capitalize on it."
WILL YOU LOBBY FOR DALE JR.? "I'm here to race, man. I'm not going to get in the middle of the politics of anything like that. I'm just going to do my job and however it plays out, it was meant to be and that's the way it will be. It's just something that we'll have to wait and see how it plays."
HOW DID YOU GET THROUGH CAREER DECISIONS? "In the end I think you have to take the advice from everyone around you and you take all the factors of everything involved in it. I can kind of relate. I don't know if there is one particular thing that leads to something but that's a huge shadow that is cast from the Earnhardt name. I've lived that driving a GM Goodwrench car and feel like we've kind of stepped out from underneath that. I can only imagine what it's like as he has to live in that shadow. He's his own person, he's an adult and he wants to win championships and win races and you have to admire somebody that wants to do that just for the fact that he's a true competitor and he's not letting sub-par or whatever scenarios hinder him. He's trying to better himself and his career and trying to win championships. How can you fault somebody for that who wants to become a champion and that's all he cares about in this sport. He made a decision that's really, really hard to make and it's just a hard situation to be in."
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS - Qualified 10th
ON NOT STARTING ON THE FRONT ROW THIS WEEKEND: "No, but that was a big gain for us. We don't expect to sit on every Bud Pole. We're pretty excited about the way things have been going for us all year qualifying. Today we showed up here getting ready to qualify and we had some real issues. To me this a great way to end up qualifying because we were so far off in practice so we made some big gains. I'm real proud of all these guys on this DuPont Chevrolet for that big gain."
ON THE NEXT PRATICE BEING CRUCIAL FOR HIM: "It's the most important one, that's what we're here for. Where you qualify here at Darlington, it's important always (but) it's how you race here and how you get the car to run over the long runs and conserve those tires (and) stay out of the wall."
Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Impala SS - Qualified 11th
ON WHAT HAPPENED DURING HIS QUALIFYING LAP: "It didn't handle real good down in one and two so I went in three and four, made an adjustment and then got off four pretty good (laughs). I'm real proud of our National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet. It's run real good. Darian (Grubb) and all the guys are doing a great job. We need a good qualifying run, we need a good result this week. We'll see how it goes. That wasn't the prettiest lap I've ever ran but hopefully it will hold up all right.
"Going first out I knew it was going to be slicker and the only thing you can do is go out and try to run it like it's going to be good. We made some adjustments to try and tighten up the car because I was a little bit loose on my run and it was way too tight. If we probably would have left it alone from practice I think it probably would have been pretty good but I think we made the right calls for what we were feeling in practice. I think it's still a pretty good lap for getting into the fence. The guys will beat the right side out. Everybody's been doing a good job this week and we'll go racing."
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS - Qualified 12th
FOUR TOP-FIVE STARTS IN DARLINGTON FOR YOU. IS TODAY ANOTHER ONE? "I don't think so. That lap was really eventful. It's funny, Casey (Mears) - we've got almost similar cars, the same cars. Extremely tight, I was extremely loose. It wasn't the prettiest lap or cleanest lap by far but I know all of us are having a hard time getting around here. It's tough for us but it's going to put on one heck of a show for the fans. They're going to see a lot of great racing and a lot of exciting moments as the weekend progresses."
DO YOU THINK ANYBODY WILL BEAT YOUR TIME? "I don't know. I hope it will. We've never had a pole and I know that's really important. It's high up on Gil's list to do this year. Hopefully we'll get it right here."
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Impala SS - Qualified 25th
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP. DID YOU USE UP THE TIRES THAT MUCH? "It's Darlington, you know. One lap is about all you get on qualifying air pressures and stuff. I just want to say thank you to (crew chief Kevin) Bono (Manion) and all those guys. That was a huge, huge improvement from practice. We made a huge pick-up; that was like half a second or something. Wherever it ends up, it ends up but real proud of them (team); they've been doing this all year for me. It means a lot - it's real cool."
ON DALE EARNHARDT, JR. LEAVING DEI: "We're still going to be friends; we'll still hang out. I'll still see him so that's not going to be an issue. It's not like he's going. I think missing his experience, being able to go to him any time I want, call him any time I want and get true information from him. That's probably going to be the hardest part and the worst thing I'll miss about it. And he's fun to be around. I enjoy racing with him. He's a lot of fun."
WHAT'S THE ATMOSPHERE LIKE AT DEI NOW SINCE THE ANNOUNCEMENT? "I don't think it's changed. I think that at first everybody was surprised and maybe a little bit sad but they said 'we've got to go on; we'll go to work'. The only thing we can do from this is get better and show Junior and everybody else of what we're capable of doing and we'll see what happens."
WILL IT BE TOUGH FOR YOU TO MAKE THE ADJUSTMENT? "Absolutely not. I don't think it's going to change much, to be honest with you. I've still got my race team. He didn't work on my race car. He didn't drive my race car. He obviously helped in developing things and setups and race cars and stuff like that, which is always a huge help and it'll be hard to not have his input because he's really smart and he's a really good driver. At the same time, we're still doing the same thing we were doing. He's not driving 'A' but I was never on the 'A' team so we'll just see what happens."
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Impala SS - Qualified 26th
ON DALE JUNIOR BEING THE ONE IN THE SPOTLIGHT NOW INSTEAD OF HIM: "I love that kid. I love him like a brother. I can't imagine what it's like for Dale Jr. I thought he did a really good job at speaking yesterday. That's got to be a tough decision for a kid like him. It's kind of nice to get the monkey off my back here for a couple weeks where I can worry about going racing because I struggle here so this is a good week to have something like this happen."
WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THIS IS GOING TO LAST A COUPLE OF WEEKS? "It'll last a lot longer than that. It's going to last until he signs a contract with somebody which is really good. I don't think I could punch anybody even this week and anybody would find out about it. It'd be a pretty slow week for me I think (laughs)."
Jeff Green, No. 66 Best Buy Impala SS - Qualified 39th
ON YOUR QUALIFYING: "We knew qualifying wasn't going to be great for us but we thought we'd be a little better than that. They say 'qualifying doesn't pay anything,' and we're taking that to heart. The car is really, really good in race trim, and I think we've got a great car for tomorrow night. We've run well in all of the other Car of Tomorrow races, so if we can keep our brakes under us, we should be strong tomorrow."
-credit: gm racing