JIMMIE JOHNSON "That's great, that's the fastest lap I've ever turned here. I'm very happy with that. The time we were here before we started second but it was because of points, so for my first time qualifying here I'm very proud of what ...
"That's great, that's the fastest lap I've ever turned here. I'm very happy with that. The time we were here before we started second but it was because of points, so for my first time qualifying here I'm very proud of what we've been able to do with the Lowe's Monte Carlo. We struggle a little bit in practice. There at the end Chad (Knaus, crew chief) went to work and thought about some stuff and got the car back together. I also want to give a special thanks to Lowe's for letting me run a sticker on the side of the car in memory of Blaise Alexander, big thanks to them for opening up the space. We're going to have fun on Sunday."
WHAT WAS THE THING THAT YOU HAVE TO MOST KEEP IN MIND DURING A LONG 500 MILE RACE HERE AT POCONO?
"This race is so long and you have to worry about upshifts and downshifts and all your points change on the track during the race so it's hard to stay mentally into it and stay on top of it to keep the speed in the car. When I left here I was beat. I was drained mentally. I think I learned a lot and we'll be good here Sunday."
WAS QUALIFYING HERE MORE DIFFICULT THAN YOU THOUGH IT WOULD BE?
"There's a lot of opportunities to mess up out there so I'm very happy that I didn't mess up that bad anywhere (laughs). That's the thing about this track: there are so many places to mess up."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF LOWE'S CHEVROLET:
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT YOU STRUGGLED DURING PRACTICE?
"I was very sad because we came up here a couple of months ago and we tested. We tested great, ran like a 53.15 testing and I was really excited about coming back. We went home, thought about everything and came back with what I thought was going to be a better package and it wasn't. We struggled and struggled and couldn't really figure out why. What I did right before qualifying was I put the car exactly the same way it was when we left from testing and it ran three one-hundredths faster (in qualifying) than it did when we were here testing. I'm really happy. We got to come up here and test, got great information, took great notes, and we were able to put the race car back exactly the same way it was and were able to come out of here with a top-10 qualifying effort. That's awesome."
DID THE COOL WEATHER HELP YOU?
"No, it's been pretty cloudy and overcast all day. The only thing I was concerned about was when the 18 (Bobby Labonte) blew up coming off of turn three. I was a little worried there might be a little bit of oil; even a mist or something like that could hurt you. We got lucky and everything paid off."
RYAN NEWMAN IN THE NO.12 ALLTEL/MOBIL 1 FORD, QUALIFIED EIGHTH.
"I got pretty loose there in the middle of turn one and it just kind of set me back for that one lap there. It did the same thing on the second lap so I figured there was no sense in finishing it."
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHY THE CAR ACTED LIKE IT DID IN TURN ONE?
"I don't know. There's a couple of things we can look at. It's tough because there's three separate corners and each corner is a little different. All it takes is one little thing in the setup to make that one corner go wrong."
YOU WENT OUT LATE IN THE SESSION. WAS THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE?
"I don't think it seemed to matter all day today, really. There's pretty good cloud cover and the breeze has been the same. I don't think it really matters."
MOST DRIVERS WOULD BE HAPPY WITH AN EIGHTH PLACE RUN BUT YOU ARE NOT.
"We definitely had the potential to be a lot faster. We came up here and almost put one on them in the spring race here without any practice or qualifying at all. Overall, it's a little bit disappointing but it's still a good qualifying run for the Alltel/Mobil 1 Ford."
CARL LONG, NO. 79 SR RACING/JUVENILE DIABETES DODGE:
"The car was still tight. We had one lap of practice. We freed it up and drove it on in to where I thought I needed to go and the car was a little bit tight, especially in one and two. It was a little bit tight coming out of the tunnel turn. We just needed more practice, that's the bottom line."