Chevy Teams Infineon Qualifying Notes, Quotes

By Team Chevy

Three Team Chevy Drivers Score Top-Five Starting Positions at Infineon Raceway

Jamie McMurray will start on the outside of the front row for Sunday's Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Fellow Team Chevy driver Paul Menard, No. 27 Duracell/Menards Chevrolet, will roll off third for the 110-lap/218.9-mile/350K race, the first road course of the season.

Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, will start fifth in the 43-car field for the 16th race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, will start ninth to give Team Chevy four of the top-10 starters.

A total of 16 Chevrolet drivers will take the green flag at Noon P.T. (3:00 P.M. ET). Joey Logano (Toyota) won the pole. Denny Hamlin (Toyota) completed the top-five qualifiers.


JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 2ND: “We’ve got a really good McDonald’s Chevrolet. I was happy with the way that we unloaded today. We’ve really had a tough season; especially after all the success that we had last year. So, it was nice to come here and unload and have a really good car. I think we’ll be in the Top 10 in qualifying and if we can just have the right strategy; the hardest part about Sonoma is not getting collected in someone else’s issue. Turn 7 is always really tough on restarts because guys will dive bomb in there and it might be three rows behind you but if they start wheel-hopping they can’t get stopped. So, it’s a really frustrating track. But I love coming out here. So I’m really happy with our run there.”

YOU ENDED UP SECOND: ‘Honestly last year after our qualifying run I told Bono (crew chief) that I just didn’t drive hard enough. So I drove as hard as I could there. And the car had a lot of grip. I’m really happy for our McDonald’s Chevrolet. We’ve had a really tough year and it’s a lot of fun to come out here. It’s one of my favorite tracks. We’ve got a really good car this weekend. So I hope that we can get a good qualifying run and then capitalize on it in the race.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 DURACELL/MENARDS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 3RD “You’ve got to be so smooth. Goodyear brought a different tire and it’s very slippery and everybody is kind of fighting that. So you just have to have a lot of discipline with the throttle. We made a few changes after practice. We made a couple of adjustments and kind of made a swing at it. The car drove really good right there. We still fought some forward-bite issues, but hopefully it holds on for a good starting spot. We had a pretty good lap; uneventful, which is good in qualifying on road courses. It seems like the slower you’re going, the faster you’re really going and when you start hustling too much, and then you go slower. I’m looking forward to practice tomorrow to work on some more stuff.”



ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: "It was actually a solid run for us this evening, especially after the way we unloaded. I'm not a road course racer by any means, but I enjoy coming here. The guys worked hard to get us a top-10 starting position so we should be ready to go on Sunday."



ON GETTING A RE-DO, FOR YOU IT WORKED OUT PRETTY GOOD “Yeah, it did. It did distract me. I got a blue flag. I saw the debris. If they had left it alone and not flagged nothing, I’d have been fine. But with the blue flag and a black flag; I know how this stuff works. You’d better get your time. I don’t care what flag is out there! So, I got my time, but I was distracted a little. So it was nice of them to give us another crack at it. It’s better. I thought we should have run a .30 or .40; but we ran a .50, so that’s pretty close to what I was hoping for. I was real disappointed when they told me the first lap was a .90.”



THAT WAS A PRETTY GOOD PICK-UP FOR YOU AFTER PRACTICE “Yeah, a lot of guys are picking up. I’m pretty happy that we picked up. I’ve been here before where we haven’t. So it was a clean lap. There are definitely some areas where we still need to make some improvements, but I’m certainly encouraged by that as well as encouraged about how good our car is when we made our race runs. So we’ll know more tomorrow. But yeah, that’s pretty good for the DuPont Chevrolet. I’m happy with it.”



THAT WAS A GOOD LAP “Yeah, it was a god lap. It was a little bit freer than I expected it to be but the track picked up grip and we picked up time. I didn’t get a really good practice lap; just had some traffic and I’m sure other guys did too. But we’ll see where that shakes us out with the Haas Chevrolet. I feel like we’re more competitive this year than we have been the last two years here. So we’ll see if we can improve it tomorrow and shake it and bake it on Sunday.”



“As bad as we were in practice in this Cottonelle Chevy, I think we gained a lot and I think we have a very good direction for tomorrow and for the race. Our qualifying normally has been terrible here, so it’s not a surprise. I think we’re actually better than expected. I think that’s positive. I think we’ll be okay; it’s just a little bit of time and patience.”



TELL ME ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING. "It was the best lap we've run all day but I don't know where I'm missing the speed this year. So hopefully we can find a good race set up tomorrow and be good in the race."

I KNOW THAT THE HENDRICK GUYS ARE RELYING ON A LOT ON YOUR EXPERTISE FOR THIS, WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU CAN ALL SHARE AND ALL BE BETTER? "I don't think I've done the best job yet. We're going back to the drawing board for sure because we're not where we need to be yet. But that's racing. You've got to learn faster than your competition. You can't give up and you've got to keep learning. I'm just missing something right now. There are a few things I don't like about the car and I don't know if it’s because the track has changed a lot or the tire is different or what or if I'm just older I'm not sure but we're going to keep working on it."

NOT HAPPY WITH THE QUALIFYING, ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE K&N WEST RUBBER ON THE RACE TRACK? "Yeah, I mean for sure. We found that in the first practice right in the beginning the track was actually slippery and hard to get forward bite. I mean we are trying to hook up 900 horsepower so it definitely hurt. We didn't get a good practice qualifying time and to go this early is a disadvantage but we're working on our car, we're getting it better. Hopefully we'll get the Security Benefit/Thank A Teacher Chevrolet better tomorrow in race practice."



WATCHED THAT LAP AND THE CAR LOOKED PRETTY GOOD. "Yeah I didn't do a very good job there in our mock qualifying run and over drove all the corners so we had to kind of take a stab at what we had to do with the car and my guys did a good job with making some changes without a whole lot of information. We could have bee a little better if i had hit my marks in qualifying practice. Nonetheless it has been a hard year for us and hopefully we can turn things around this week. I believe in this team. i believe in what we are doing. We keep fighting and we'll be okay."



THIS IS THE CAR YOU WON IN LAST YEAR. CAN YOU DUPLICATE THAT ON SUNDAY? "We're getting closer. We had a rough practice session. Made some adjustments to the car and I think that will allow the car to be in the top 10. There's still some speed out there to have. This new tire is just throwing us for a loop. A couple of guys had it under control early in practice; we're playing a bit of catch up and certainly on the right track now. Excited to have the Jimmie Johnson Foundation on the car. We had a big week of fundraising and looking forward to a good race on Sunday."

IS SIDEWAYS LOOSE REALLY FAST BECAUSE YOU PICKED UP A FULL SECOND FROM YOUR PRACTICE RUN? "Yeah, I definitely had the effort level at eleven out there on that qualifying run and gave up some time in the process but we've been fighting this new tire really bad in practice and it was kind of a situation where I was learning my grip level. i went through each corner and made it back with a much better time than what we had in practice. So excited about the direction we're going. I don't think this will stand up for the pole but hopefully it will have us close to the front for a good pit road pick, good track position and all that kind of things. More than anything I'm glad we found a little traction with the car so we can apply that for tomorrow's race practice."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Paul Menard , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Tags mcmurray, sonoma, sprint cup