Watkins Glen: GM teams qualifying quotes

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 1ST: ON FIRST ROAD COURSE POLE: "I am really excited and happy for the team. We worked really hard to improve our road course program and I have been working hard as a driver to figure out what...


ON FIRST ROAD COURSE POLE: "I am really excited and happy for the team. We worked really hard to improve our road course program and I have been working hard as a driver to figure out what to do right. Certainly made some mistakes on my lap but my mistakes didn't cost me too much. It was a tough qualifying session for a lot of people, it was a little slick out there. Very proud of it. Hopefully it gives all of those Lowe's employee-owners something to smile about and we will look forward to tomorrow's practice and to Sunday's race."

CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT THINGS YOU CONCENTRATE ON? "There are so many variables on a road course. It is hard to pick just one. The thing I have reeling in my head is that there are a lot of opportunities to lose time on a road course and very few opportunities to make time. I have to realize where I can make time and where I am going to lose time and kind of evaluate my risk and make better decisions at that point in time. It is helping me. I hasn't picked me up a ton of speed, but I have become a more consistent road course driver and I just got my first road course pole."

IS IT A BIG RELIEF NOT TO HAVE TO COME THROUGH TRAFFIC? "It is. What I saw last year here and also at Sonoma, the top three or four, maybe five cars are going to be very close on speed and its going to boil down to track position and the pit stops. So hopefully we can stay up there and not have any issues and be leading after that last pit stops which will hopefully give us a real good shot at a trophy here."

"We had some trouble trying to make our lap on stickers. The lap that I ran in practice was on old tires. And we've corrected the problem and gotten the car much closer. I think there was a little bit of speed left out there, but we put up a good number for those guys to chase down. I'm real happy with the effort that this Lowe's team has put in. They've been working hard. It's going to be nice to have a good view from the front.

"We've worked really hard to make this Lowe's Impala quick and fast. We did all the right things today. The car could have been a little bit better for us. It was a little bit adventurous from time to time (laughs) in qualifying trim, but I guess we had fewer problems than everybody else in putting in a really good lap. I'm really proud of the team and we'll have a great view from up front and good track position and hopefully we can keep and make good use of it."

TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU PICKED UP YOUR TIME FROM PRACTICE: "We had trouble in practice trying to make our lap on stickers. The lap I ran in practice was on old tires. We corrected the problem, got the car much closer. I tried to not make any mistakes; I still made a few there so I think there is a little speed out there. Hopefully that will keep us toward the front. The guys have been working really hard on this car. As everybody knows, we are trying really hard to get a road course win. A good starting spot for Sunday in this Lowe's Impala would help that out."

TALK ABOUT THE GREAT FINISH YOU MANAGED TO GET AT POCONO AFTER ALL THS ISSUES YOU AND YOUR TEAM BATTLED: "Monday was a lot of work. Luckily we had some things come our way when we had issues and there was a real big gap between those cars that were on the lead lap and guys that



"We have a little work to do. We are just fighting the same thing everybody else is fighting today, trying to get tightened up. We lost a lot of practice today while they cleaned the track up. We didn't get as much stuff accomplished in practice as we would have looked.

"I was a little bit slow there in the esses, but I know we can gain a bunch of time there in race trim and it was pretty good there in race trim (in practice), so I'm pretty happy with our car. You know, we just didn't get enough time today in practice. I heard a lot of guys talking about how much time we all lost because of a couple of incidents in the track today. But we just didn't get enough time to get qualifying trim exactly where we wanted it to be. But I'm pretty proud of this Old Spice/Office Depot team."

WHAT MAKES YOU SO GOOD AT WATKINS GLEN? "I don't know. If we figure it out, we'll bottle it and sell it. I just like this place. I like Sonoma. I like being here at The Glen. It's a track that we've always run well at. This is a weekend that a lot of drivers don't look forward to, but I always look forward to the two road courses. Those are two places that I like."

WERE YOU CONCENTRATING ON RACE STETUP OR QUALIFYING? "We worked mainly on the race setup. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) likes to work more on qualifying setup and I like to work more on race so we split the difference here. We quit earlier than I want but later than he wants each time we work on Friday. Our car was good today. I was pretty happy with it in race trim. We didn't quite get as much time in qualifying trim as we would have liked."



"We worked so hard in practice here. I just have to TRG and this whole crew. We were really thrashing during what was a really trying practice session initially here. This No. 71 Adobe Road Winery TRG Motorsports Chevrolet Impala did great here. We have Taxslayer.com on our other car here today. It is great to have all of these people on board and cheering us on. GOSH, HOLY COW, I qualified for the Cup race.

"I am not going to Disneyland yet, we are just going to put our head down with these guys and start thinking about the race. We are going to focus on getting a good race car tomorrow during practice. I have to thank all these guys, I can't tell you enough how much it means to me. That was the biggest pressure moment in my entire career to go one lap and try to make the field with these great drivers and the guys I have been looking up to all of my life."



TALK ABOUT HOW STRESSFUL QUALIFYING WAS TODAY: "We had our first chance at Infineon with that go or go home group and it didn't go too badly. This was very disappointing. But it is what it is. We're in the race, but we have some work to do."

WHAT KINDS OF THINGS WILL YOU WORK ON TOMORROW? "We have just got to get the car to roll front and rear together. Right now, it turns in fine then the backend wants to turn around. Air for the center of the concrete patches and the front doesn't stick. It is a bit of a handful but the guys will massage on it. We weren't that close when we started and when you



"It was a pretty good lap even though the car was a little free in turns nine, 10 and 11," said Newman. "What's encouraging for the U.S. Army/Haas Automation team is that in practice today we were better in race trim than in qualifying trim. This is a fun place to race at as you can hustle the car through the turns. We just need to stay clean on Sunday and bring home a strong finish."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup