Tony Stewart Wins Pocono Pole; Juan Pablo Montoya Makes an All-Chevrolet Front Row; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Four of Top-Five and Eight of Top-10 Starting Positions Long Pond, PA - Tony Stewart knew he had a good race car, he wasn't sure how...
Tony Stewart Wins Pocono Pole; Juan Pablo Montoya Makes an All-Chevrolet Front Row; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Four of Top-Five and Eight of Top-10 Starting Positions
Long Pond, PA - Tony Stewart knew he had a good race car, he wasn't sure how good until he took his qualifying run for Sunday's running of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. When he got to turn one on his first lap, he radioed his crew to let them know it was very good.
The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion put the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet in the number one starting position for the second time in his career at Pocono Raceway. It was his second pole this season and the 12th overall.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, will start alongside Stewart to make it an all-Chevrolet front row.
In total, Team Chevy drivers captured four of the top-five and eight of the top-10 starting slots for Sunday's 200-lap/500-mile race.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, a four-time NSCS champion, will roll off fourth in the 43-car field. Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army Chevrolet will start in fifth position.
Four-time defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson will start the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, in the sixth starting place.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, was eighth fastest followed by last week's Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurray, No. 1 AXE Twist Chevrolet in the ninth starting position.
Mark Martin, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, rounds out the top-10 starters.
Denny Hamlin (Toyota) completes the top-five starters for the 21st race of the season.
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET -- POLE WINNER
HOW PERFECT WAS THAT LAP? "I knew we were really good through Turn 1 and through the tunnel turn and I don't know where I was with everybody else through Turn 3, but I knew it was a pretty good lap. I mean it was better than what we practiced for sure. I just didn't know how good it was."
YOU'RE BACK ON TOP AGAIN "Well, we've been having a lot of fun. We got here to Pocono late last night. We were in Fargo, North Dakota last night racing a winged Sprint Car and I was racing with some of the best wing guys in the country and crashed myself out of a second place run last night, so I was mad when I got here. I told 9crew chief) Darian Grubb and these guys that it might be a long practice day and I wasn't too bad on them was I was going to take it out on somebody and I took it out on the stopwatch there during qualifying.
GREAT LAP. CONGRATULATIONS, WILL IT HOLD UP? "I don't know; I hope so. I'm proud of this run no matter where we end up with it. Surely it'll be a top five run for the day so I'm really proud of these guys."
HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH THAT LAP? "I'm really happy. I'll be honest. I didn't even start the day off good when I woke up this morning. I raced in Fargo, North Dakota last night with my buddy Donny Schatz and was running second in the main and crashed myself into the inside tires and knocked the front end out. So, it was a long ride from Fargo to Pocono last night and it was about 5:30 when I finally went to sleep. So, I'm really proud of all these guys on this Office Depot/Old Spice team. I told (crew chief) Darian (Grubb) that I wasn't in a very good mood this morning and I was going to take it out on somebody. I just didn't realize I was going to take it out on the clock (laughs)."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 2ND
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "It was a good lap. I got up to speed really well. I seem to get on the gas; really important, the straights are really important here. I got on the gas good but I wasn't sure I rolled that good through the corners. But the amount of time you can spend wide open here makes a big difference. It's great. Last week was a rough week for the team but to rebound at a place where we don't run that well, it good. It's nice."
YOU JUST SAID, WOW! TELL US ABOUT YOUR LAP "I didn't know it was going to be like this. I carried a lot of speed at the corners and everything but I don't know. I thought, I don't know if this is good enough for some reason. This Target Chevy has been so strong and it's just nice. It's nice to have a run like that."
SO WHAT WILL YOU WORK ON DURING PRACTICE TOMORROW? "We have a little bit different approach. Our race pace, apart from Indy, hasn't been that great. We're trying to do a little bit different stuff and understand what the car needs."
WHAT WOULD IT BE FOR YOU TO START ON THE FRONT ROW? "I think it would be huge. I think track position is huge. This track and Indy; the same way. So, I'm pretty happy. We have a little bit different approach than what we've been doing on the car. I know at Indy we ran really good but for some reason we always run good there. This Target Chevy has been amazing. I want to thank all the guys. I know the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) won last week but everybody on the No. 42 has done a really good job. Last week we really had it covered all day and just one little mistake, but you know I always tell them, we win together we lose together so it's good."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 4TH
TELL US ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN: "It never hurts to get a cloud, especially on a track like here in Pocono. Car felt good; cloud was nice. For where we drew, I'm pretty excited about that lap. I felt like the car did what I wanted it to do and I felt like I hit all three corners pretty good. I'm not saying that's a pole run. I think someone could beat that, but I feel like we could be top five or six with that."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES THIS WEEK: "We were decent the last time we were here. We had a few issues that got us tied up in that wreck later near the end of the race. Pocono is always a track that we look forward to and run well at, so it's hard to really say right now where we stand. We weren't very good at Indy; this track is similar to Indy. We should signs of being good here the last time we were here, so I'm optimistic for sure."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 5TH
ON HIS LAP "It wasn't perfect but when you're fast and not perfect here, that means you've got something that you can work with and be faster and be better. So hopefully that will get us a top five starting spot and something to work for. And I look forward to the race.
"I was a little tight in Turn 1 but I felt like I was really good in the Tunnel Turn and pretty good down in Turn 3. But I think I gave up most of my time in Turn 1.
ON HIS CHANCES THIS WEEKEND "I think, well, this is one of my favorite racetracks. It's unique and fast and has a lot of character. It's a lot of fun up here. I enjoy the area and I enjoy the race track and I enjoy the people. So having a good starting spot is a good way to start the weekend.
"I have a really good hunch for this weekend; we've just got to keep our nose clean. The car feels really, really good."
HOW WAS YOUR CAR? "It was pretty good. I think we've got a lot better package right now than we did this time in the spring. So, I'm looking forward to it."
AS LONG AS THIS RACE IS, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO QUALIFY UP FRONT? "It just seems like it really spreads out really quick here. On a green flag start of a run, it seems like eight or 10 laps into a run you lose so much that you really can't gain that back no matter how fast your car is because of the way the traffic works. So starting up front is definitely a big part of it."
ON BUILDING MOMENTUM FOR THE LAST SIX RACES "These guys started building momentum last year. It's extremely important, but we've done nothing to make it more important than the last races or last year. It's a matter of building together as a team."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 AXE TWIST CHEVROLET - QUALIFIED 9TH
CONGRATS ON GREAT WIN LAST WEEKEND: "Yeah it was really special to not only win that race for my team and I, but for Chip with everything that was on the line there. It's fun to be able to get to be a part of making some history, and I don't know if anyone will ever get to beat that. It was really special; I had a good week."
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN: "Well if that cloud would go I thought that we'd be ok, but I had a really good lap there. That was quite a bit faster than I was in practice and faster than I expected to go so I feel good about it."
ON GOING OUT FIRST: "That will not be a pole lap, I don't think, but it's a good lap for having to go out first. It's hard with any track we go to with the exception of Indy because going out early is never good. I hope that cloud will go away that's there right now, and if it does I think that will hold up for a top 12 or top 15."
JEFF GORDON SAID THAT IF YOU RAN FAST LAST WEEKEND IN INDY, YOU PROBABLY HAVE A PRETTY GOOD CHANCE OF RUNNING FAST THIS WEEKEND TOO. DO YOU AGREE? "Yeah, I mean somewhat. This has not been a very good track for me. This has been my weakest track probably. I feel good that we have a good setup from Indy, but we don't' even have anything close to that in our car right now. We're not taking a whole lot from Indy this weekend into the plan for our car."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 10TH
ON BEING BACK IN POCONO: "Oh, I love racing here. I'm glad to be back here. We're hoping to have a great showing with our HendrickCar.com Chevrolet here. I haven't been comfortable with the car yet. We'll see how that time turns out. I couldn't drive the car hard because it's been giving me mixed signals and we need to get the car a little more comfortable. We're working on it. I'm really proud of these guys."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES COMING HERE--IT SEEMS LIKE A REALLY FUN, ACTION-PACKED WEEKEND HERE AT POCONO: "Well I think this truck race is going to be awesome. I'm so proud of the guys here for bringing them up here; it's going to be a great show. I can't wait to watch it myself."
TELL US ABOUT THIS WEEKEND: "Well, we sure would like to win with the HendrickCars.com Chevrolet. Everybody needs to check them out at hendrickcars.com. We sure would like to win this thing, but I just haven't been able to drive the car hard. It gives me mixed signals--like snaps, and it just does different things so I'm afraid that I'm going to wreck it. I almost wrecked it a couple times. I feel like I could drive it harder but it's giving me mixed snappy, signals with the backend. We need to get that under control. We really believe in what we're doing right now. I'm really proud of the work that we're doing. We've got a lot of work to go in front of us, but we're working hard and we're getting some speed back. We haven't felt as good about it as we did last weekend in Indy but we're still working."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 14TH
WHY DO YOU LIKE YOUR RACE CAR SO MUCH? "It just drives good. We unloaded and it was good in race trim. Anything better than 35th is good for us in qualifying. I'm looking forward to Sunday."
WHATS THE PLAN TO RUN DOUBLE-DUTY THIS WEEK? GOING BACK AND FORTH TO IOWA? "We'll do everything here and then we'll go to Iowa tomorrow and just if we make qualifying we do and we'll just race."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 20TH
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING RUN: "It was alright. I felt like I lost the most over in three and four. I got off in there too deep and the car got loose and backed up the race track there in the center. I just had to wait on it a little bit too long. I was just trying to do what we could. We weren't very good in practice, we made a little bit of a gain and helped the car with a little bit of changes that we made right before qualifying. The track is a little bit looser here for us than it was the last trip. We've just been trying to catch up and trying not to over adjust on it."
WAS THERE ONE PLACE IN PARTICULAR THAT GAVE YOU TROUBLE? "The tunnel is always tricky here, but not really. Just the track is characteristically a little different and we're just trying to creep up on it without over adjusting too much. Tomorrow you might find out that it just reverts back to where it was. The wind could be playing a little bit of a role."
WHAT DOES YOUR TEAM NEED TO DO OVER THE NEXT SIX RACES? "Well, run good. Get good finishes. Pretty obvious stuff. Just try to be the best we can."
IS CONSISTENCY THE KEY? "We need to do it every week. That is being consistent."
YOU'VE RUN REALLY WELL AT MICHIGAN--THIRD, SEVENTH--ARE YOU GUYS JUST A TICK AWAY FROM WINNING AT MICHIGAN? "We run pretty good. I guess we're a step or two away from being good enough to compete for wins. We don't run up front for the majority of the race. For most those races we've been running around tenth all day. It's just getting the strategy, and getting the tires or something to help us get a little better finish. The cars have been pretty good there. Last time, I really liked the way it raced. That was the most impressive car that I've ever had there. We're gaining on it, but I don't know. We sort of hit a barrier of some sort performance-wise and we haven't been able to break it yet. We're working on it though; we're trying to figure it out where that next step is."
-source: gm racing