NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TOYOTA SAVE MART 350
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES
JUNE 25, 2016
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 RALPH’S/KINGSFORD CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 2nd
YOU DIDN’T WIN THE POLE, BUT YOU LOOKED IMPRESSIVE:
“Honestly, for where we were yesterday; it was a struggle yesterday. We just never could really find the direction of the car. All my guys did a great job to get to work and get this Kroger/Kingsford Chevy closer to the front. When I saw Carl (Edwards) first lap, I kind of said I don’t care what kind of lap I run. If he runs that again, I’m not going to get close. And then I saw it was less than a tenth. I always nitpick, but it was a big gain from where we were yesterday. We’ve still got to go to work and we’ve still got to figure out what we need for race trim, but a good start at least.”
YOU SET THE BENCHMARK FOR SPEED ON THE ROAD COURSE RACES. IS IT TOUGH NOT TO PUT MORE PRESSURE ON YOURSELF, KNOWING THAT YOU CAN DEFINITELY EXCEL AND MAYBE SCORE A WIN?
“No pressure on me. He’s won here before. My best is seventh. I don’t know why they keep polling me for speed. We’ve had chances but we’ve just got to go out and have a solid day. As my team owners always tell me, all we can do is go out there and push hard and do our best and if that end result is in Victory Lane, great; if it’s not and we have a solid day, that’s all we can do.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 5th
ON HIS QUALIFYING ROUNDS:
“It’s cool to be disappointed with a fifth. We always seem to qualify really well here, I think I have a third, fourth and fifth now. I got the track record here last year. I thought we would have a really good shot at getting a pole and we still had a shot. It was fun, but barely made it in after the first round, so to make a big improvement to fifth is still really good. We will see how we race tomorrow. Just have to keep the rear tires underneath me and make no mistakes and hopefully get a win.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 RICHMOND/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 9th
“It was fun. We struggled in first practice yesterday with some brake issues and got that squared away and felt like we made some really good gains in the second practice and made some better gains overnight. I feel really good about our race car. I was actually pretty apprehensive about qualifying because our run we did yesterday wasn’t very good, but a good top 10 start and I feel like we have a really good Chevrolet for the race.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 NATURE’S BAKERY CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 11th
YOU MATCH YOUR BEST CAREER START HERE AT SONOMA, WITH 11TH. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW’S RACE? WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE?
“It’s just been a smooth weekend. I even told the guys yesterday thank you for a good car. I definitely have told myself that I need to be in attack mode. I think that for me, I’m a methodical driver. Being really aggressive right at first is something I have to discipline myself to do. So, I need to drive on the race track like I drive on the regular road more. I knew that was kind of the attitude I came in with. I just have to carry that through the rest of the season and in the future and I think it’s good. But, it comes from trusting your crew chief too, and you have to have worked together long enough that they’re not going to send you out there with something that is really going to make for problems. So, that was kind of my attitude. Other than that, the car is good. I feel like it has good speed and it’s consistent. We were able to do long runs. I was able to do pit road. I practiced braking on the inside of all the hairpins. I feel like I checked a lot of boxes off in practice that I don’t normally do, so I feel pretty ready.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 13th
WERE THE TRACK CONDITIONS WHAT GOT YOU TODAY?
“No, we just didn’t see what everybody had yesterday. We ran the same times as we did yesterday. The car drove the same. There were just some guys out there that were faster and they just never really made a mock run or showed that speed yesterday. We do have a good race car as far as race trim speed against everybody else. I still feel like this is the best car I’ve had at this race track. The car drove good. I made a couple of mistakes that cost me enough time to get into the next round. But, I make a mistake every lap I run here and that’s just the way it’s going to be. The guys have done a good job of giving me a good race car to cover me every once in a while and I’m pretty excited about tomorrow. I didn’t think we’d get the pole. I know everybody was excited. All the fans were excited about how we ran yesterday. But, I knew there were some guys that just get around this place no matter what car they’re in. They’re fast and when it came to pole day they were going to show up and they did.”
CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 14th
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT:
“It was just unfortunate. Here I think timing of when you go out and the sequence of traffic that is out there is pretty important. When I left pit road I wanted to run quite a bit harder, but I couldn’t because guys in front of me were running slow, so, when we started our good lap the tires just weren’t quite in like I wanted them to be. Typically I would have left sooner and got some heat in the tires, but I was held up from the guys that ran in front of me and just didn’t quite have enough heat in my tires to really put a lap in. I’m proud of ourselves; I think we have pretty good speed. There is no doubt that if we would have been able to run it like I wanted to run it I think we could have made that final round. That is unfortunate, but I’m happy with the speed we’ve had so far this weekend.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 3M CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 16th
WHAT AREAS DID YOU IMPROVE ON DURING THAT QUALIFYING LAP?
“I just tried to take a little bit of what we did yesterday. We had a good debrief yesterday without team guys like we do after practice each week. They gave me some good tips on just cleaning up a few sections. I was able to go out and follow Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) on that lap, which I know he wasn’t happy with his lap compared to what it was yesterday, but it was a lot better for me. Having the rabbit to follow, so to speak, was helpful for me, at least to see some of his braking points and the things he does. Just trying to piece together some things. I think our car is better than what I’m doing for it. I’m just trying to put some more pieces of the puzzle together and hopefully try to learn something here in the K&N race and then, most importantly for tomorrow.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 WIX FILTERS CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 17th
“We’ve got to be a little bit faster, but I think our WIX Filters Chevrolet drives good. That is the biggest part of this weekend’s race. Speed is a part of it, strategy is another part of it, but we did not get the qualifying run that we wanted to, but we have done that before and still had good finishes. We will work on it.”
YOU HAVE BEEN IN THIS A LONG TIME WHEN THERE WERE ONLY A HANDFUL OF DRIVERS THAT COULD WIN WHAT HAS CHANGED?
“Oh, I think we’ve got a chance to win and if you win you have a chance in the top 15. I think we’ve got a car and team that is capable of winning. We just have to piece it all together. It’s not easy to do. It’s so competitive and the rules have got it so tight that it is hard to get an advantage.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 21st
WHAT WERE YOU LACKING THERE?
“On my sticker run, or my initial run, I maybe gave up a little bit in Turn 1. I got loose there. But, the balance on our Cessna Chevy felt really good. Sometimes you cross the start/finish line and they tell you it’s this miraculous lap and you’re like wow, I didn’t feel that way. And that time, I thought it felt really good; it just didn’t have the speed. When we looked back at the Dartfish, it wasn’t one place that we lost it; we just lost a little bit everywhere. And then we went back out and tried to make a scuff run and it didn’t feel quite as good and then I got held up by a few cars in Turn 10. So we’ll start kind of mid-pack. I thought yesterday in race trim that we were one of the better cars, so I think it’ll be a lot of fun.”
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