Jimmie Johnson Wins the Pole for Season Final Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway; Team Chevy Drivers Score Six of Top-10 Starting Positions Homestead, FL - Jimmie Johnson started the final weekend of the season and his quest for a fourth...
Jimmie Johnson Wins the Pole for Season Final Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway; Team Chevy Drivers Score Six of Top-10 Starting Positions
Homestead, FL - Jimmie Johnson started the final weekend of the season and his quest for a fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) off right by putting his No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS on the pole for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS).
It is Johnson's fourth pole of the year; his second at HMS and the 23rd of his career.
Six Team Chevy drivers scored top-10 starting positions in the 43-car field for Sunday's race.
Mark Martin, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS, will start fourth with Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS, in the fifth starting spot.
Kevin Harvick will start the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS in sixth spot. Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army All-American Bowl Impala SS, will roll off in the seventh position. Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Impala SS, will start in 10th position.
Other Team Chevy Chase contenders will start as follows: Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS - 20th and Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS - 23rd.
Scott Speed (Toyota) and Marcos Ambrose (Toyota) complete the top-five in qualifying.
DAVID RAGAN -- No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Qualified 42nd)
"I think the track lost a little grip. Speed-wise, I don't think we've got a lot of speed in qualifying trim and going out second is not gonna help our cause any. But I was happy with our UPS Ford when we unloaded in race trim. I think we were a little faster in race trim than we were in qualifying trim, so it just doesn't have a lot of speed. Hopefully, it'll drive good tomorrow and we'll see what kind of a race car it is for Sunday."
AJ ALLMENDINGER -- No. 44 Ford. Drive one. Ford Fusion (Qualified 13th)
"I'm happy with it. Obviously the draw is gonna hurt us, so if we can stay somewhere right around the top 15, I think that'll be good. I'm just happy at Richard Petty Motorsports. We're making progress with this Ford and I'm real excited about this weekend and especially the next year. I think overall the little things that we've learned in the two races, and the stuff we'll learn here will be great for next year so we're pumped up about it and pumped up to be with Ford. We'll be ready to go."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO DRIVE THIS CAR IN THE VINTAGE PETTY COLORS? "The tradition of it and just being able to drive for the King means so much to me. We've given it two good runs and hopefully we can end with one more great run here and have this paint job mean something to us at the end. It's an awesome car."
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Qualified 24th)
WITH A CAUTION JUST BEFORE YOUR RUN, DOES THAT BREAK UP YOUR RHYTHM? "You know, no, that really wasn't the issue there. It was actually good for us because it gave us more time for the track to cool off, the longer we wait. No, it makes you think but it didn't slow us down. That wasn't the problem."
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD FEEL YET FOR THE REST OF THE WEEKEND? "Not yet. We'll know tomorrow after race trim; we'll see where we stand."
ERIK DARNELL -- No. 96 Hall of Fame Ford Fusion (Qualified 32nd)
LOOKING FOR A LITTLE MORE? "Yeah, definitely, especially after practice. I felt like our Ford Fusion was pretty decent in qualifying trim. Just for me being new to these cars, it's been kind of tough I think to jump back and forth between this car and the Nationwide Series car, especially when we're sliding around on old tires in that thing. The car was good. It drove pretty well. I think it had more speed in it than what it's going to end up showing, so they've done a good job with the car all weekend."
GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Qualified 8th)
YOU, LIKE TEAMMATE CARL EDWARDS, HAD A CAUTION JUST BEFORE YOUR QUALIFYING RUN. DOES THAT MESS UP YOUR RHYTHM? "It does a little bit. You've got to think about it. But, it was a pretty good lap; I just didn't know where to run. I ran the top, and I really wanted to run the bottom, so my second lap I ran the bottom, and the car had a little bit less grip on the second lap. I think I could've maybe been a little bit better on the first lap on the bottom, maybe half a tenth. I don't know if that would've put us on top of the board or not, but it's pretty dang close, so I just wished I would've turned it to the bottom the first lap. You wish you could have it both ways, try and see which way is the fastest, you know?"
EARLIER TODAY, YOU SAI D YOU KNOW ON FRIDAY WHETHER YOU HAVE A GOOD CAR ON SUNDAY. YOU'VE WON HERE ON SUNDAY; DO YOU KNOW WHAT KIND OF CAR YOU HAVE? "We're a decent car right now. I think we're above where we were at Texas and California and Phoenix, but we're not a winning car yet -- but we are getting closer."
JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 11th)
"That was good. That was a big pick-up from practice for us. It didn't really run that much faster, I think the track slowed up a little bit. It's such a crapshoot, you know, after practice to qualifying, if you make the right adjustments or not, but we made some adjustments on our last qualifying run and just went more kind of in that direction. That was nice to end our last qualifying. It's not great, but it's not where we have been qualifying on a mile-and-a-half track."
GREB BIFFLE SAID EARLIER TODAY THAT YOU PRETTY MUCH KNOW ON FRIDAY WHETHER YOU HAVE A CAR THAT CAN WIN ON SUNDAY. WHAT ABOUT THE 26? "I thought that when we unloaded today that our car is as good as it has been in the last 10 weeks. So, that's obviously why we qualified so well. But our car in race trim, I thought, was really, really solid, so I look forward to Sunday. It's a Ford track."
BILL ELLIOTT -- No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion (Qualified 9th)
"They've done a good job and have worked really hard. The last two races have been pretty rough, but to come here is important because we really need to try and make a good run at it on Sunday. It seems like that sets the stage for the whole winter. You come down here and have both Terry (Labonte) and Bobby in the deal, so that makes it tough. You've got to go out there and you've got to put it all together and it just makes it nerve-racking."
-credit: ford racing