Richmond, VA -- Jeff Gordon will start the No. 24 DuPont Impala SS on the outside of the front row tomorrow night in the Crown Royal Presents the Russell Friedman 400. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion missed the pole by just five...
Richmond, VA -- Jeff Gordon will start the No. 24 DuPont Impala SS on the outside of the front row tomorrow night in the Crown Royal Presents the Russell Friedman 400. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion missed the pole by just five one-hundredths of a second at Richmond International Raceway.
Five Team Chevy Impala SS drivers scored top-10 starting spots for the 400-lap/300-mile race scheduled to start Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala SS, will start fourth. Jeff Burton, No. 31 Prilosec OTC Impala SS, will roll off fifth. Mark Martin, No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Impala SS, captured the sixth starting position. Ryan Newman, No. 39 U.S. Army Impala SS, will start in 10th, on the outside of the fifth row.
Brain Vickers (Toyota) won the pole. Denny Hamlin (Toyota) is the remaining top-five starter.
FOX TV, MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio will provide live coverage for the 10th race of the 2009 season.
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS:
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT TODAY: "It was two laps. Just do the best we can. I am really proud of our guys, we picked up about 4/10th. Pretty happy with that pickup there. Don't know where that is going to put us, it will be a good starting spot I am pretty sure.
HOW SENSITIVE IS THIS TRACK TO CHANGES IN THE WEATHER? "It has always been sensitive. I am not sure, I think we have been pretty lucky with the draw today with the clouds. Cooled it off quite a bit for our run. Hopefully it won't be so sensitive to the cars later with the track cooling off. But it does. We go faster when it gets cooler here."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T IMPALA SS:
"Going out as early as we did, I know there were a lot of cars that beat us, but I am pretty happy with how we have things turned around. We'll be just fine."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD-DRIVE THE GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS:
"We just worked really hard to get a little better in our qualifying setup. We didn't really gain too much on it. We haven't been too good here the last couple of trips. We have a little more work to do before we get faster for qualifying. We have a great race setup that works pretty good."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS: HOW MUCH BETTER IS THIS TEAM THAN IT WAS AT DAYTONA?
"It is definitely better. I would say 100% better. We didn't know what we had then. We just kind of speculated. I am really happy with the U.S. Army Chevrolet. It was a good effort. We were better than we were in practice. Just looking forward to tomorrow. We were really good in race trim. I am really happy with the car. A good starting spot is a great way to start the race.
"We were just a little bit too free. A great first lap, I didn't expect to be that good on the first lap. I am real happy with the U.S. Army Chevrolet. We are really really good in race trim. We will have a good starting spot so we will have something to work with for the whole race.
WHY DO GUYS PICKUP SO MUCH ON THE SECOND LAP HERE? "Just because the tires come in. When you pick up a half-second from practice times, it gives the driver time to adjust too. Usually the tires are a little bit better the second lap as well."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 PRILOSEC OTC IMPALA SS:
"Coming off the truck, we were really, really slow. They had a game plan, they stuck with their game plan. By the time practice was over, I think we have a car that can win the race. I felt really good about it. They worked really hard and kept trying things. Had a great plan and stuck to it. Even though we might panic, I try to get them to check over their plan and they did and they stuck to it. I am just really proud of all their effort."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS:
"That was a pretty good lap for the Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet It wasn't as good as we wanted, but we should be OK. It was tight in the center and that got me up off the bottom line, and then it was a little loose coming off turn 4. I'm really proud of how Gil (Martin) and the guys have worked together today. We had a really good practice and I feel like we'll be strong in the race."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS: ON HIS LAP
"Oh, I'm very happy. I thought Brian (Vickers) put a really good lap down. This team worked so hard during practice today. I'm very proud to be running up front like that and it was a great qualifying effort. I felt like the lap itself was great. I just didn't get off Turn 4 coming to the white as good as I would like to have. And that might have been the difference."
HOW IMPORTANT IS QUALIYFING AT RIR? "Well, today was like a different type of practice session for us. Today was unloading for the race and doing a lot in race trim. And then when you have a long practice like that you can experiment a little bit you want to be close. We actually started pretty far off, but what makes me so proud and what's making this team so good this year is that we never gave up on them, we stuck together and by the end of practice, I felt like we really brought the car to life for the race tomorrow. And then we put it in qualifying trim and it seemed to be good right away. So the car is there, the engine, the body and the team certainly is doing just an awesome job."
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE A FRONT ROW RUN? "I knew it was going to be close just based on the first lap in practice. I got to tell you, these DuPont Chevrolet guys worked so hard today. We really didn't unload off the truck very good. We were struggling with the race runs and finally started to get on some things and the car started to come to life right on our last run. And then we put it into qualifying trim and it was fast right away and they just kept tuning on it. Brian (Vickers) put up a great lap. It's going to be tough for anybody to beat him. I'm just glad we're close. I don't know. I just thought that second lap was good. I didn't get off Turn 4 coming to the white as good as I wanted to, but the lap itself was spectacular."
-credit: gm racing