Ft. Worth - April 4, 2008 - Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, blistered the competition to capture the pole for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). His lap of 28.286 seconds, 190.097 mph was over...
Ft. Worth - April 4, 2008 - Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, blistered the competition to capture the pole for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). His lap of 28.286 seconds, 190.097 mph was over two-tenths second faster than the second place qualifier.
The number one starting spot is Junior's second at Texas Motor Speedway and the eighth of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) career. The 1.5-mile speedway is the site of not only his career-first Cup victory (2000), but his career-first NASCAR Nationwide Series win as well. (1998)
Junior's Hendrick Motorsports teammate and defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, will start fifth. Johnson was the fall 2007 race winner at TMS as he campaigned to his second consecutive championship.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS -- POLE WINNER
ON HIS LAP: "I really can't put my finger on anything. Tony (Eury) Jr. and Tony (Eury) Sr. have always set my cars up really good here. Whenever you run a lap like that you've got to say the car is doing a lot of things there and they did a good job with the car this week and I've got to thank everybody at Hendrick. The motor was awesome. I'm just real proud of my guys. They just do such a good job. I'm just so lucky to have such good talent around me."
HOW CLOSE TO A PERFECT LAP WAS THAT FROM BEHIND THE WHEEL? "Oh, it's never perfect, I don't think. It didn't feel any better than that .89 I ran in practice. You never can tell. When you talk about a half a second, I don't' think you can feel it out there. We had a great advantage going so much later than Carl (Edwards) ran. There is no denying that. The car handled really good. We ran in some race trim this morning and the car is as good and as comfortable. It could be a great weekend for us."
YOU REALLY LIKE COMING TO TEXAS, DON'T YOU? "I do enjoy coming to Texas. It's one of our better markets as far as NASCAR goes for west of the Mississippi. They really do make us feel welcome when we come here. The fans turn out and they really get excited about our sport. It's fun when we run good and we always have here."
WAS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT THAT LAP THAT SURPRISED YOU? "Just the time. But from inside the car, it didn't feel like it was any quicker than what we ran in practice, which was an .89. So I was surprised the time was as good as it was. But it can be beat. There are some good strong cars that can challenge that time. I'm really proud of my guys. They deserve a lot of credit. I had a real good car all day in practice."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Qualified 5th:
ON HIS LAP: "The track was a little slick down in (Turns) 1 and 2 with all the work that had gone on down there. But those guys around me went fast. I went fast. I thought I had a little bit more. I was maybe just a little aggressive with my line on entry and was up in the trash a little bit, but it was a great performance for us."
ARE YOU GETTING YOUR PROGRAM TOGETHER WITH THE NEW RACE CAR ON THE 1.5-MILE TRACKS? "Yeah, we really do. And this weekend is going to be a good test for us. We've been working hard to find some speed and this weekend's performance will let us know where we are on progress."
-credit: gm racing