Two Chevrolet Monte Carlos qualified in the top 10 today, with Michael Waltrip grabbing the highest qualifying spot for Chevrolet, third, in his No. 15 NAPA Parts Chevy Monte Carlo. Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Jimmie Johnson, in the No.
Two Chevrolet Monte Carlos qualified in the top 10 today, with Michael Waltrip grabbing the highest qualifying spot for Chevrolet, third, in his No. 15 NAPA Parts Chevy Monte Carlo. Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Jimmie Johnson, in the No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo, qualified seventh as highest rookie qualifier.
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (third):
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (seventh):
HIGHLIGHTS FROM POST-QUALIYFING PRESS CONFERENCE:
ON PRACTICE INCIDENT: "Everybody did a great job. We were the fastest in practice when we went out after our first run and then it rained a little bit and we were able to get back out right at the end of practice and unfortunately hit the wall. I was real confident that after they fixed the car it would be just like it was. It didn't bend the chassis, it just bent some components that bolt to it. My car, I was real happy with the setup. I knew it had good balance. I thought I understood why we had trouble in practice. I thought I knew where that came from and why it happened. So I was real confident that when I went to run I would be fine and when I qualified -- and I wouldn't want to try it over again. A lot of times you'll run, and you'll wish you had done something different, but my car handled perfect and I was just able to run a little bit faster on the second lap than the first, just because it was good the first time so I pushed a little harder for the second. We had gearing issues or shifting issues, or something along those lines that cost us the pole, not the fact that it didn't handle well or that I hit the wall; that really didn't have anything to do with it."
JIMMIE JOHNSON (highest qualifying rookie):
ON THE DECAL AND SALUTE TO BLAISE ALEXANDER: "It's pretty neat to have the decal on the side of the car. It says 'In Loving Memory of Blaise Alexander.' You'll see it right in front of the rear tires. First of all, I've got to thank Lowe's for opening up the space on the car to do that. We all know how special it is to have decals on the sides of these race cars. So it's nice to open up a real big area to put that on there. Him and I were real close friends and tragically we lost him at Lowe's Motor Speedway in an ARCA race last year. I'm very close to his family and some of his friends went to his parents and said, You know let's do something at the Pocono race. This is the last place he won and then this being his hometown area it just made sense to do it here without doing something at Charlotte."
ON SHIFT CHANGES ON POCONO:
WALTRIP: "We shifted once today; we'll probably shift twice tomorrow, and the gearing is such that you can. If you set your car up where you can shift twice I think it's a bit of an advantage because you can shift twice when the tires are new and keep some rpm off the engine then you can go back to just shifting on the front straightaway once you get some laps into the run. It's just a preference thing. I think that you'll see more guys shifting twice as we go forward 'cause we understand that's the best way to get the optimum rpm out of the engine for a race run."
ON CONDITION OF TRACK:
WALTRIP: "I just want to go kiss it because it's not turning to gravel and it's a great track and there's plenty of room to race."
JOHNSON: "Based on the race we had here in the spring, it seemed like you could have two-wide racing more down in turn 1 than you can on the tunnel turn or off turn 3, but I had gotten myself deep in traffic in the pack and was able to come up to a third place finish. Usually you're stronger than somebody in one area here and you've got two and a half miles to set it up, and hopefully you're close enough and you can get the pack set up in time to get position and get by the other driver. We saw a little something here when we tested with the water seeping out of the track. That's my only fear is that for some reason some rain comes in and raises the water table any further; we'll have some issues there."