Richmond: GM teams qualifying quotes, notes

Team Chevy's Jeff Gordon Scores His Fourth-Consecutive Pole Position Six Team Chevy Drivers Qualify Their Impala SSs in the Top-10 at Richmond International Raceway Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, scored ...

Team Chevy's Jeff Gordon Scores His Fourth-Consecutive Pole Position

Six Team Chevy Drivers Qualify Their Impala SSs in the Top-10 at Richmond International Raceway

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, scored his fourth-consecutive pole position after a qualifying lap time of 21.386 seconds and a speed of 126.251 mph on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. This is his sixth Bud Pole this season and 61st career pole in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

Gordon will start from the front row of the Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 under the lights on Saturday evening and leads a total of six Team Chevy drivers with top-10 qualifying positions. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, will start from the fourth spot on the grid.

Virginia native and Chevy driver Denny Hamlin will start Saturday's race sixth followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Martin Truex, Jr. and Mark Martin who will start seventh through ninth respectively.

The Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be broadcast live on FOX and local MRN affiliates.


Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS - Pole Winner

ON SAYING HIS PREVIOUS QUALIFYING EFFORTS WOULDN'T HOLD UP FOR THE POLE WHEN THEY IN FACT THEY DID: "Well I was surprised then and I'll be very surprised if it holds up this time as well. It's a great lap, no doubt about it. The DuPont Chevrolet team has just been providing some awesome equipment and giving us some great results and that's another example of it. We were off a little bit in practice. The track came to us a little bit and the adjustments that Steve Letarte and all these guys made really came to us so that's a pretty good lap. We'll see where it ends up."


Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Impala SS - Qualified Seventh

ON HAVING SIX TOP-10 STARTS SO FAR AND MAYBE SEVEN TONIGHT: "Yeah, that'd be really good. I've got to give my team a lot of credit. We were late getting through tech and they really busted their butts and got us done and got us through there and gave me a good car to drive so I'm pretty proud of what they've been able to do. I did everything I could to mess it up. I over drove it pretty bad but I'm pretty happy with the lap."

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PLACE YOU FIGURED OUT? "I ran Myrtle Beach a lot when I was in late models; I ran it for four years every weekend. The size and shape, everything about the track is about the same. I would have to say, if I could think of one thing that stuck out it would be the fact that when I came here I felt like I'd been around here before."

DOES STARTING POSITION MEAN ANY MORE CONSIDERING DRIVERS ARE SAYING IT'S TOUGHER TO PASS WITH THIS RACE CAR? "Starting position is important mainly for pit selection. If you qualify good you get to pit yourself between a couple of guys who you're going to gamble on one lap down, not being on pit road when you're trying to pit. Unfortunately that's just the name of the game when you're doing pit selection. So that's why qualifying is really important obviously. It is hard to pass here but this track is fortunate in the fact that it has a second or even sometimes even a third groove that you can try to work your car and make your car work in the top, move around and get around guys."

DO YOU HAVE A CAR THAT CAN WIN HERE TOMORROW NIGHT? "Yeah. We've got a little bit more work to do. Obviously we don't have any more track time so hopefully we'll make some good guesses. We need another tenth."

CAN YOU REALLY SEE YOURSELF IN A FORD? "No. We'll be driving Chevrolets. I promise you that."

ABOUT PRACTICE TIME: "We thought we were really bad in practice. Apparently there was a scoring error throughout all of practice and we ended up turning out pretty good on our times. I went to my bus for a sandwich about sick to my stomach. (Crew chief) Tony (Eury), Jr. was pretty down. But it was wrong."

WHAT WAS THE SCORING ERROR? 15th in practice without doing a qualifying run - we thought we were so bad that we ran out of time trying to make the race package work. My hopes have been improved for tomorrow night and I think we've got a pretty decent car."


Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS - Qualified Ninth

"I was apologizing to Ryan (Pemberton) for not getting more out of the race car. These guys are just awesome. I love working with this whole U.S. Army team and it's good to be back at the race track and be here with my race track family and all the fans and everything. The car's pretty good. I was pretty happy with that for qualifying. I think we've made improvements on the car from the Phoenix race and we still have a little bit to go."


Tony Stewart, No. 20 The Home Depot Impala SS - Qualified 22nd

HOW COME THE CONSISTENCY HAS BEEN AN ISSUE THIS SEASON? "I'm not real sure to be honest. The good thing is even though the finishes aren't what we wanted the performance of the car on the tracks is. Sometimes we missed that bad luck at the end of the races. It's better than being consistent and being consistently 30th."

ON WHY DRIVERS GET EXCITED ABOUT THIS TRACK: "I don't know. The drivers were excited, the teams were excited; we just can't get people that build tracks to figure this out that this is the perfect size race track. Racing is always good here. It's always exciting. It always has good finishes so that's what so special about this place."

HOW DOES YOUR APPROACH CHANGE RUNNING THE IMPALA SS HERE? "It really doesn't change. It doesn't matter to me the whether it's a Car of Tomorrow race or not. Whatever we can get into it's about how fast we can get it to go and trying to be faster than everyone else is."

ON JEFF GORDON'S SUCCESS: "I mean the whole Hendrick organization has been good compared to what they'd been. It's not just been Jeff. Jimmie's been good. Kyle Busch has been good and Casey Mears has been better than he's probably ever been so the whole organization has got their act together."

ON QUALIFYING: "I never really felt like we got heat in the tires. We only got to do one simulated qualifying run and Johnny Benson got right in the middle of it. Qualifying is a big deal because of pit selection here and if you get a bad start because of qualifying, normally it will bite you."


Jeff Burton, No. 31 LENOX Industrial Tools Impala SS - Qualified 43rd

ON WHY THEY PLANNED TO QUALIFY LATER THAN SCHEDULED: "We had a mechanical problem during the change over between practice and the race. A part got loose and we had to go track it down. We had to tear the motor apart to get it out the engine. We got a lucky break. Our guys did a great job and had an inventory knowing the part was missing. Thankfully those guys got to work and found it but the engine had to get taken apart to find it so we're running a little bit late."

ON THE CAR IN PRACTICE TODAY: "We struggled. It's probably our worst practice we've had all year to be perfectly honest but I have a tremendous amount of confidence that we'll make it better and we'll see what happens."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Casey Mears , Johnny Benson , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin