Sonoma: GM teams qualifying notes, quotes

Jimmie Johnson to Start Second at Sonoma; Five Team Chevy Drivers Score Top-10 Starting Spots for Save Mart 350 Sonoma, CA - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, scored the second fastest qualifying time at Infineon Raceway for Sunday's ...

Jimmie Johnson to Start Second at Sonoma; Five Team Chevy Drivers Score Top-10 Starting Spots for Save Mart 350

Sonoma, CA - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, scored the second fastest qualifying time at Infineon Raceway for Sunday's running of the Save Mart 350. He leads a contingent of five Team Chevy drivers capturing top-10 starting positions for the first road course race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, will roll off fourth in the 43-car starting field. With Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, starting in the fifth position.

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, will start in the fourth row from the seventh starting spot with Bobby Labonte, No. 71 Adobe Road Winery Chevrolet along side in the eighth position.

A total of 14 Chevrolet drivers will take the green flag for the 350K/110-Lap/218.9-mile race.

Kasey Kahne (Ford) was the pole winner. Kurt Busch (Dodge) qualified third to complete the top-five starters.

The race is scheduled to start at 12:00 noon (PST) (3:00 p.m. EDT) with live coverage on TNT TV, PRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.


ON HIS LAP "It ended up being a good lap. It's hard to tell inside the car. I knew I had good grip off the turns. We thought the car was a little slow in some other areas but certainly netted out to be a good lap time for us. We worked on qualifying trim throughout the day and I felt like if I had a little more to give to the team, we ended up 11th but a second off the pace. So I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I could push harder in a couple of areas and I did and made it. So, I'm happy about the effort and I've certainly been trying from my standpoint and I know the team has, to get a road course victory. If we're able to start up front this weekend, that'll be a step in the right direction."

ON HIS WIFE'S PREGNANCY AND BABY DUE SOON, ARE YOU ABLE TO STAY THIS ENTIRE WEEKEND? "Yeah, so far so good. We had a doctor's appointment yesterday and everything was great in Charlotte. We've got every plan knocked out known to mankind. So, hopefully the little baby girl comes when she's supposed to during that off-week, but if not we're ready for anything. Yeah, I'm thinking she's going to come late based on her mother (laughs)."



"It has been a great year so far for our Shell-Pennzoil Chevy. Last week we struggled a little bit, but really that was the only week we haven't been competitive like we want to. The car has been good here this weekend. Glad we got a good, solid qualifying lap in and I don't know who ordered the weather, but if we could order this every week, this would be great. For me, I am fortunate. I have been racing here since 1995 in something or another, so, the first lap was relatively good. The main thing here is just having a good car and they have prepared a good car for us this time. Hopefully we will have a good race on Sunday."



ON SUNDAY, WHICH IS FATHER'S DAY AND HIS DAUGHTER ELLA'S 3RD BIRTHDAY: "I keep wanting to get her a bicycle with training wheels. She doesn't really seem to be into her little tricycle that she has. She likes to go on bike rides with me. But yeah, unfortunately Ingrid and Ella couldn't travel out here with me so I'm really going to miss them on Sunday. But hopefully we've got something to celebrate when we go back to them and have fun. We're going to have Ella's birthday party on Tuesday and I don't know if they're going to do anything for Father's Day but it's kind of cool to be out here with my father and my step-father and so hopefully we can have some fun with them. So far, the DuPont Chevrolet is; I'm liking it."

WAS THAT A POLE-WINNING LAP? "I always feel like in every road course the qualifying session is always a little something you can do to make up a little bit of time. I thought it was a pretty solid lap. It's been a while, to be honest with you, since we hit the set-up for qualifying and today I feel like the car was really there. It's always a compromise.

"In the slow stuff, you're going to be one way and in the fast stuff you're going to be another. But I thought overall the compromise was great and it was definitely a solid lap. Anytime you pick up a little bit of speed from practice, you're happy."

ON HIS CAR "Well, it was better than I thought it was going to be. We really struggled getting heat in the tires during practice. It stuck pretty good in the corner and I said, whoa! We made some improvements here. It was a solid lap. There are definitely always areas on a road course you feel like you could have done better. And as we got further and further around the lap, I got looser and looser. But when I heard the time I was extremely happy."



ON RACING IN THE MONTH OF JUNE: "Yeah, this is definitely my favorite time of year. This is a track that I always look forward to coming to. This is a big weekend for me. This is a beautiful area to come to but this is a race that I really, really enjoy. I always like to go road course racing and it's a weekend when I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well."

WHEN THE RACE STARTS SUNDAY, DO YOU START THINKING ABOUT FUEL MILEAGE RIGHT AWAY? "I don't but Darian (Grubb) does (laughs). My job is just to worry about driving the car. If he tells me I've got to start saving fuel, we go with that. But the biggest thing is working on the balance of our car and worrying about going fast right now and get this Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet in victory lane.

"We didn't get a chance to do a qualifying run in practice, so we went into it a little bit unsure of what to expect. I'm real proud of Darian Grubb (crew chief) and all the guys on this Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet. It was a pretty good lap for us."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne