Team Chevy press release
Team Chevy Drivers Paul Menard and Jimmie Johnson Post Strong Qualifying Effort at The Monster Mile
Dover, DE (October 1, 2011) Paul Menard (No. 27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet) posted his third top-10 start at Dover International Speedway on Saturday during qualifying for the AAA 400. Menard will start third, which marks his 14th top-10 start in 29 races this season.
Five-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet) turned in the sixth-fastest lap in time trials here at Dover International Speedway today. Johnson has won six times at Dover in the NSCS with four of those races being the Fall events.
Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota) won the pole, Kurt Busch (Dodge) starts second, Carl Edwards (Ford) starts fourth, and Kyle Busch (Toyota) is fifth in the starting order to round out the top six starters.
In total, 16 Chevrolet’s will take the green flag for tomorrow’s AAA 400. There are a total of six Team Chevy drivers vying for the series championship in the 2011 NASCAR Chase to the Sprint Cup.
The AAA 400 can be seen live on ESPN at 2:00 pm ET and heard on MRN radio and Sirius Satellite Radio as well.
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 PITTSBURGH PAINTS/MENARDS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 3RD:
TALK ABOUT YOUR 3rd PLACE QUALIFYING EFFORT: “It was a good run for us. Obviously wanted that pole, we have talked all year we have a win now, we want to get a pole. Still shaking a little bit from the run it is really fast obviously; track is a lot greener than it was yesterday with the rain over night. Car was a little bit on the free side and it just takes a lot to get up on the wheel after not practicing at all today.
‘I’m proud of my guys; we have a really good car even in race runs. Qualifying up front is really important here. Seems like last few times we have run the middle grove opens up a little bit but primarily you want to be at the bottom makes it a little bit tough to pass so starting P.3 is pretty good for us.”
DO YOU HAVE A CAR THAT CAN WIN, ATOP-FIVE CAR? HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU FEELING IN RACE TRIM? “I feel really good about the car in race trim, we started in race trim the first practice and then switched over to qualifying trim did a couple of runs but then did all race runs the second practice and the car was really good and I think we had the best ten race average, it drove good, I can move around a little bit, run real low, move through the middle and the car accepted it. We felt good coming into races before, and struggled but this week I really think we have a good car if we can maintain track position, we can run top five.”
IS QUALIFYING THE CAR WITH NO PRACTICE A HANDICAP? “Today I think it was because the track changed a lot with the rain over night. Typically, No I mean you kind of got what you got anyways, going through three and four, coming to the green you get a good read on the car and might have to adjust a little bit depending on what the car tells you, but today I think it was a little bit of a disadvantage but it was the same for almost everybody. I know some guys got a lap or two in Nationwide but those cars are so different but again same for everybody but I would have liked to have had a little bit of practice for sure.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 6TH:
HOW HAPPY ARE YOU TO BE BACK AT DOVER? “I’m excited. In these first two races (Chicago & Loudon), we’ve had much better cars than where we’ve finished and it just didn’t work out for us. One for fuel mileage and some contact in the race last weekend took us out of a strong finish. But that’s racing. Anything can and will happen, and we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen this weekend.”
ON YESTERDAY’S PRACTICE AND RACE SET-UP “Yesterday was a challenge for everybody. The track had so much rubber on it that it was kind of like we were at mid to late-race circumstances. So I think we learned a lot through all that. It’s changed quite a bit now with the rain and the first half of tomorrow’s race will be familiar; and then we’re going to have rubber build up and it’s going to get a little bit wacky then.”
WHY DON’T THEY CALL YOU ‘CONCRETE JIMMIE’ SINCE YOU HAVE SO MUCH SUCCESS HERE AT DOVER? “I guess it’s just because it doesn’t rhyme all that well (laughs). We’ve had a lot of trouble finding me a nickname over the years. Once again, there’s one that we can’t have. I know there’s a lot of focus on a rebound, but if you look at Chicago, and even the races prior to that, we were fast. We’ve been fast. We just haven’t been finishing where we’ve been running. And we’ve got to correct that problem. Chicago was an issue with fuel and there’s not much we can do about that; granted, we are working in some areas, especially on my side and what I can do to save fuel. And then last week, we would have been in the top 10 but had a racing deal with the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and tore our car up. So we’re happy to be in Dover and we’re excited about a strong qualifying effort and looking forward to a great race tomorrow.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 13TH:
“We kind of had a little bit of a bad break as the sun popped out and then the sun would go back. But the track’s got a lot of grip and that’s honestly about what I thought we could run. And that’s going to be about where we were in practice yesterday. It’s a little better but we need to be a little quicker. The car was just a little tighter than what we wanted it to be to go fast. The car goes good but this is just not my best qualifying place in the world by any means and we just need to find a way to be better. We’re not terrible; we’re decent. We just need to be a little better.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY ROTC CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 20TH:
“The track is a bit different because of the rain from yesterday but our U.S. Army Chevrolet was pretty good. We made a lot of changes so there was a lot of anticipation about what it was going to do. The car stuck pretty good and even though it wasn’t a pole run, it was an improvement if felt like, upon yesterday. We’ll keep tuning on it. We’ve got one more day with this goofy schedule to work on it.”
KEVIN HARVICK NO.29 RHEEM”CHASING A CURE” CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 22ND: ON THE RACE CAR:
“Just excited to have sponsor such as Rheem to participate in the breast cancer awareness month and having the pink car this weekend and all the Chevy’s with pink numbers. Our Rheem Chevy has run pretty well in race trim, a little bit nervous about the qualifying side of it, but that is nothing different than normal.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 28th:
“We were just tight. We struggled yesterday in practice and obviously didn’t get the lap we wanted. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”