Vickers on pole at Richmond Brian Vickers , ...
Vickers on pole at Richmond
, #25 GMAC Chevrolet (on the pole with a time of 20.772 and top rookie qualifier)
Press conference highlights:
On qualifying run:
"It was awesome. The GMAC Chevy guys did an awesome job with the car. We made some good changes before qualifying. The track was extremely slick. We got a real good smooth lap in. The track was extremely slick and I think it was intensified by the new pavement. It's always been tough at this place and especially now to find that edge.
"You saw a lot of guys go past it and talk about in the interviews. It's so easy to underdrive, but so hard to find that edge without stepping over here at this place and find that margin of error. That was the biggest thing, we had to get a smooth, solid lap in. Our number one priority wasn't to get on the pole, it was to get a smooth solid lap in and get a good starting spot and I think that what's helped get us the pole."
On being comfortable with qualifying:
"Everyone was telling me to be patient and it will come. We've come so close so many times and Newman has beat us out by so little a margin so many times and I was starting to get frustrated with him. It's nice to turn the tables on him. We've come so close and it can be frustrating. It's nice to get seconds and thirds. We qualified top four every time last year. We knew we had a good qualifying effort but it was just a matter of time before we got our pole. We were kind of anxious waiting on it."
On being out front on the new surface:
"Its very important. Unfortunately it's part of racing. I don't car how well designed the track is like this one. Any new paved race track is going to be more of a one group race track. NASCAR is doing everything they can to promote the second group by using the cars at happy hour. The Bush race is going to help. You're going to see some guys up there but not like it was last year and that's just going to take time. Starting out front and having a good clean track is going to be very important for this race."
On not making the field hear at an earlier race:
"Thanks for bringing that up (laughs). My first or second Bush start here, or attempt to start, somebody went out and left the rear end plug out of the rear end and dragged oil all the way around the race track for two laps right in the groove. We were next to go out. It was my first year with the #40 car and we didn't' have any provisionals and we ended up going home. It was pretty tough leaving a race track. I think that was the first time I ever had to do that. That was probably one of the hardest things I've had to do as a racers. Maybe the track thought it owed me one and it gave it to use today."
Are there any similarities with the #25 car that Joe Nemechek won the race with last year?
"There's some. We came here and tested and changed it some with the new pavement and new configurations and the track's a little faster. Some of the things we learned since then since then there are a lot of the same things on the car. This team had a great race here last season. Hopefully we can repeat that. The set up has a lot of differences as well."
Did you think your speed would hold up?
"To be honest I wasn't really sure. I was hoping so. I thought it would be a good possibility. If it would have been beaten I would have been disappointed but I wouldn't have been surprised. The track was so slick and this race track is know for being slick for the first 10 or 15 cars. We went out kind of early and maybe the new pavement helped with that. The pavement stayed slick for whatever reason. It stayed that way and slowed everyone else down as well fortunately."
Are you more optimistic now for your first Nextel Cup series win after being on the pole:
"It definitely helps the confidence of myself and entire GMAC Chevy team. It never hurts to be on poles and run good. We are looking forward to the race. Our goal is to win a race. We definitely want to try and do that and this can't do anything but help."
On tires after testing session and them not giving it up enough:
"I think Goodyear had to come with here with a harder tire because of the payment which is very smart on their behalf. We want to promotion competition and great racing but we have to consider safety too. We don't need real soft tires blowing out on new pavement. I think they made the right decision. The fall isn't going to be quite as much but I still think its going to be a great race."
Will drivers will be cautious on the first half of the race and then open up:
"I believe it will be. These are long races in the Cup series and you're always going to be a little cautious. With this being a new race track with a lot of unknowns, the second groove being unknown, a new tire for us this year. I think you'll see a lot of people trying things with their set up and on the race track. Cautious to a race driver is different from most people.
"Cautious to us is 98 or 99 percent, not 80 percent. You're still going to see good racing and guys wanting to the lead and get those bonus points. You can be as cautious as you want to but we are all competitors and we don't like to see anybody up front."
Will this will be a wild race:
"Richmond is always a wild race. Most people will be cautious at the beginning because of the new track and so many unknowns but at the same time it's a night race. This is a short track night race and there's always going to be excitement."