Denny Hamlin Captures Pole at Martinsville Martinsville, VA - Team Chevy driver Denny Hamlin put his No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS on the pole for the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway. It is the first pole of the season for the...
Denny Hamlin Captures Pole at Martinsville
Martinsville, VA - Team Chevy driver Denny Hamlin put his No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS on the pole for the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway. It is the first pole of the season for the 2006 Raybestos Rookie of the Year and the fifth of his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career.
Four-time NNCS champion Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, qualified third. Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Impala SS, posted the fifth quickest time of the day giving Team Chevy three of the top-five qualifiers for Sunday's race.
A total of seven drivers put their Impala SS new-generation race cars in the top-10 in the starting order. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS qualified sixth followed by Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Impala SS in seventh.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Impala SS, qualified in the eighth spot and Johnny Sauter, No. 70 Yellow Transportation/Haas CNC Impala SS will start 10th.
Two practice sessions are set for Saturday, March 31 from 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. and final practice from 12:50 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS:
"Any time you can pick up anything here at Martinsville, it is a big thing. The FedEx Chevrolet was really good. I was really surprised at how well it cut, and how good the forward bite it had off was. Mike Ford and the guys did a good job compensating for what we had in practice. I don't think it will hold up for a pole run, but hopefully it will be in the top-10."
ON TURNING A GOOD QUALIFYING LAP IN AT HIS HOME TRACK: "Yeah, in these conditions to pick up a little bit is always good. A tenth and a half is big here to pick up. I'm pretty happy with the FedEx Express Chevrolet. We worked mostly in race trim in practice so to come here and run a good qualifying lap, we're pretty happy with it. We'll see if it ends up top 10."
HOW GOOD WOULD A WIN AT THIS TRACK FEEL? "It'd be right up there, that's for sure. I'd done missed out on one of these grandfather clocks one too many times. Its time to get one."
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS:
"I didn't think we were fast enough for the pole. We have been drawing really lucky here lately with late numbers but today we had the unlucky draw of first out. We made the best of it being in the 19 second bracket is definitely a good thing. I knew there were guys that were going to go fast than they did in practice, they are the ones who went later, but it was a good run for Steve Latarte and the guys on the DuPont Impala SS. We just didn't have the grip, couldn't drive in the corner as deep as I wanted to and couldn't get it to cut in the middle the way I like it to."
DO YOU STILL HAVE SOME WORK TO DO ON THE CAR OR ARE YOU GOING TO BE OK ON SUNDAY? "We had it really good there at the end of practice and we kind of got the unlucky draw with the DuPont Impala SS but all in all I think it's a decent lap. We backed up about what we ran in qualifying. It makes you feel like you're going to have to go faster. There are some guys out there that are definitely going to go faster than they went in practice. I just didn't have the grip. The track temperature has gone up and I just couldn't drive in the corners deep. It wouldn't turn in the middle. I felt like we made some good adjustments there late and we got a good car for Sunday. At least I think we do, we'll find out tomorrow."
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS:
"We only went two hundredths faster than we did in practice so I will expect to be around the 30s when it is done, unfortunately. We just didn't have what we needed today. I feel really bad for all the guys, here at the track and at the shop. They have been working hard to find something to bring to Martinsville with the feeling like I have had here in the past, it just hasn't worked so far. So the guys are going to go to work tonight, we are changing everything. Hopefully we will have things where we need them tomorrow."
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Impala SS:
"You hope you will go faster than you did in practice but the way practice was and like they have been saying on TV, it is so easy to slide the front tires getting in the corners. I was just trying to be conservative and make sure I got two really good clean laps. We ended up running exactly the same as we did earlier in practice."
J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Impala SS:
"It was a good run, just a little conservative on the first lap and tried to pick up the throttle too early on the second lap off of turn four. The mock qualifying run we made wasn't as good as the car really is, we got held up by the No. 7 and the No. 07. My teammate Denny put down a really good lap, he has been here a bunch of times. If we hang in there for a top-10, it will be great. We have a really good race car, we proved that last week in Bristol. If we can just avoid all the accidents and all the faults and put our three Joe Gibbs Racing cars in the top-three on Sunday.
Tony Raines, No. 96 DLP HDTV Impala SS:
"It was a good run for us. The DLP guys worked hard and we got a pretty good spot out of it. We would have liked to have been a little bit better, but at least we're starting on the inside. That makes it a little easier at the beginning."
-credit: gm racing