Phoenix II: GM teams qualifying quotes, notes

Avondale, AZ -- Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, won the pole for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. It is Johnson's sixth pole of the 2008 season and the 19th of his career. As the top qualifier,...

Avondale, AZ -- Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, won the pole for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. It is Johnson's sixth pole of the 2008 season and the 19th of his career.

As the top qualifier, Johnson has the first pit box selection at a track where track position is critical.

Johnson is currently holds the lead in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup by 106 points. To clinch his third consecutive and overall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title, Johnson needs to leave Phoenix is a 196 point advantage over second place. With a 162-point lead, he needs to only start the final race at Homestead.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Impala SS, will start fifth in Sunday afternoon's race.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, will roll of seventh in the order. Paul Menard, No. 15 Menards Impala SS, starts ninth and Mark Martin, U.S. Army Impala SS, is tenth in the 43-car field to give Team Chevy five of the top-10 qualifiers.

Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch and David Reutimann make up the remainder of the top-five.

A total of 14 Chevrolet Impala SS drivers will start the 312-lap/312-mile/500K race set to take the green flag at 1:45 p.m. MST. Live coverage will be provided by ABC TV, MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.

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PAUL MENARD, NO. 15 MENARDS IMPALA SS, STARTS 9TH:

"Our DEI cars are all real close. We will all vary a few pounds between front springs, but we are all close. Mark (Martin) almost won this race in the spring, probably should have won it. It came down to fuel mileage. It is a good baseline for everybody to start from at DEI. I am just really happy. When we unloaded we just weren't that good, they guys kept working on it and got it better. Good starting spot for us."

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JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, STARTS 1ST:

"It wasn't too bad. The sunlight going in to turn one is pretty bad so you don't you are going to be until you bust through that second shadow. Then you know where you are at and you can make the corner. On the first lap I missed it on the second lap I had it right. I am very proud of that effort that the Lowe's team put in."

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JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, STARTS 7TH:

"The DuPont Chevrolet was way better than that, I am really disappointed in myself right now. With the sun angle, it is just so hard to get your reference points going in to one. I used the first lap to get a reference and I just didn't drive in the second lap. The car was great through the corner. Then I was starting to make up for it on the backstretch and I drove in to three too deep. The car was awesome. We obviously weren't bad, but I feel like we had a shot at that front row and a little disappointed with that run. The sun wasn't in my eyes; it was just the angle of it. It totally changes the reference points. One is you are blind in the corner; you can't see the corner at all as you are going in to the shade. I had tape on my visor, a dark visor and more tape on the windshield. I feel like I got to my mark, I was just turning in too early and I could have gone further than I did. The mark I had in practice, I could have gone a lot further than that. This time of day, everybody has to deal with that part of it. I am just disappointed with myself right now."

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DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS, STARTS 5TH:

"The car is really is really good, they did an awesome job getting a good, comfortable car here. I am really happy with that. I made a few mistakes myself. I overdrove turn one really bad on the first lap and that was the best lap for us; I would like to have the opportunity to do that over. I am just so proud of my team; they did an awesome job with this car."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , David Reutimann , Paul Menard , Mark Martin