Jeff Gordon Will Start Second at Martinsville Denny Hamlin Captures Third Starting Position; Six Chevy Drivers Claim Top-10 Starting Spots Martinsville, VA - Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, will start on the outside of row one in...
Jeff Gordon Will Start Second at Martinsville
Denny Hamlin Captures Third Starting Position; Six Chevy Drivers Claim Top-10 Starting Spots
Martinsville, VA - Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, will start on the outside of row one in the Subway 500 Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
Raybestos Rookie Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Monte Carlo SS, will start third in the 43-car field with Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS, going off fifth.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS will start seventh with Jeff Green, No. 66 Best Buy/Haas CNC Monte Carlo SS, along side in eighth. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS, will start ninth.
Other Monte Carlo SS Chase for the Nextel Cup contenders qualified as follows: Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo SS, 12th; Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS, 15th; and current points leader Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS, scored the 28th starting position.
Ward Burton, No. 4 Lucas Oil Monte Carlo SS, qualified for his first NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race since November 2004, landing the 35th starting spot.
Kurt Busch (Dodge) will start on the pole and Ryan Newman (Dodge) will start on the outside of row two.
The Subway 500 is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. Sunday with live coverage on NBC TV, MRN Radio and XM Satellite Radio.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS - Qualified Second
"The guys on this DuPont Chevrolet have brought an awesome race car again here to Martinsville. We're having fun being here and trying to make the most of it. The first lap on the clock I knew it was a good one. I got through the corner decent but I didn't feel like I was aggressive enough so I went out there a little bit harder on the second lap. I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't hit the wall but I don't think it was going to be better anyway. I'm a little mad at myself for getting the car out of shape there and scratching the wall there. It's nothing that the guys can't fix. But we're just getting out there trying to get all of it."
*** Tony Stewart, No. 20 The Home Depot Monte Carlo SS - Qualified Fifth
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "We picked up a lot (from practice), which is good. We tried some stuff in practice that didn't work well. But you've got to do those things. If you don't try things and don't do things to try and make yourself better, you don't get any better. We put back on what we knew would work, and I'd like to go re-run (the lap) again and make one little adjustment because we'd definitely go faster and have a shot at the pole. But I'm really happy. Zippy (crew chief Greg Zipadelli) and the guys did a good job getting it back together and we're really good in race trim."
WOULD YOU HAVE MADE ALL THOSE CHANGES IF YOU WERE IN THE CHASE? "Yeah, even if we were in the Chase we'd of done the same thing. Technology changes so fast that what you ran here and won with in the spring isn't necessarily what will win you the race in the fall. So, you've got to try things. The guys did a good job of getting it all squared away and we ended up with a good time."
HOW DO YOU LIKE RACING AT MARTINSVILLE? "I love this place. We run really well here. Hopefully, this will keep us in the top-five or six spots, hopefully, and we'll have a good starting spot for the race."
IF YOU WIN ANOTHER CLOCK, WHERE WILL YOU PUT IT? "Don't worry. Flavor Flav's got more clocks than me. So, until I catch up with him, I'm not worried about it."
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS - Qualified Seventh
"My car handled great. I don't think it makes a difference really when you go (for qualifying). My team did a great job giving me a good car to drive. I think the car was actually a little bit better than that so I'm really excited for the race."
DO YOU SEE THIS AS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN HAVE AN ADVANTAGE OVER SOME OF THE OTHER GUYS IN THE CHASE? "I don't know if there's an advantage. Obviously Jeff Gordon has got a kung foo grip on the winning here. We'll just go at it like we always have. We run good here. We run in the top five. We have great cars. It's going to come around one of these days and get us a win. If we keep running up front here you give yourself that opportunity to win. I'm really excited, again, about the race Sunday. Martin (Truex, Jr.) tested our race setup. This morning we worked on qualifying only and it paid off."
IS THAT WHERE HAVING TEAMMATES NOT IN THE CHASE REALLY HELPS? "Absolutely. This is the first time this year that we've actually used practice for qualifying only. Normally we come in in race setup then get a few qualifying runs in at the end of practice. Tony (Eury) Jr. wanted to gamble and try to use that whole practice for qualifying to get a great pit stall and it worked. He figured we'd go out there and qualify well so we'll get a good stall for Sunday because it's really, really important here to have a good stall. Martin was down there running some race stuff and said he liked it so I'm excited."
Tony Raines, No. 96 DLP® HDTV Monte Carlo SS - Qualified 11th
"We just about didn't make it. We were on a five minute clock. We were good on race runs we thought. Then we switched over to qualifying and the car was actually slower. They were scrambling real hard which was the reason we just barely made it but the car drove a lot better. I think that will give us a solid starting spot for the race on Sunday."
Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS - Qualified 15th
"The car was really loose. We tried different things here. I watched a couple of qualifying laps here from this spring here to see what I needed to do differently. It seems like a lot of guys would roll and then mash the gas and get back after it. Today I couldn't do it. I couldn't step on the gas the way I wanted to. I kind of had to more so roll into it earlier. That's just not what I was looking to do. We'll take it and go on and see what the Kellogg's Chevrolet has in store for Sunday."
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS - Qualified 28th
"Certainly we're not ecstatic with it but we did the best we could. I think we've got a really good car for the race. We really practiced well. We worked mainly on race setup. We went to make a few runs. We just didn't have speed for whatever reason. Nonetheless, certainly we'd like to be better than that but I feel good about Sunday."
J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Imitrex Monte Carlo SS - Qualified 36th
How was your qualifying lap? "The Imitrex Chevy was probably a lot better than what that lap was. I think it's so easy to overdrive a car here. We fought being too tight in our mock qualifying run, so I made sure that I just backed my entry up. I think I just scrapped way too much speed. I think it's easy to do here. The car handled a lot better than I really expected it to, especially turning through the center of the corner. I just didn't push the car hard enough."
-credit: gm racing