CHEVY NSCS AT INDIANAPOLIS: Post Qualifying Notes and Quotes

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
THE COMBAT WOUNDED COALITION 400 AT THE BRICKYARD
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES
JULY 23, 2016

TONY STEWART LEADS TEAM CHEVY IN BRICKYARD 400 QUALIFYING

INDIANAPOLIS (July 23, 2016) – Indiana native Tony Stewart led a contingent of Chevrolet SS drivers in qualifying for the 23rd running of the The Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard.  Stewart will start the third with a lap of 48.826-seconds/184.328 mph behind the wheel of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Chevy Summer Sell Down Chevrolet SS fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR)

The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be battling Sunday for his third trip to Victory Lane at his “home” track.  Stewart won the Brickyard 400 in 2005 and 2007.

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A total of seven Team Chevy drivers made it to round three of knock-out qualifying to compete for the Coors Light Pole Award.  Ryan Newman qualified the No. 31 Grainger Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevrolet SS in the sixth starting position followed by Stewart’s teammate Kevin Harvick who put the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS in the seventh spot in the starting field.

Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS, will start ninth and 10th respectively.

Kurt Busch put the No. 41 SHR Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet SS in the 11th starting position of the 40-car field.  RCR’s Austin Dillon will start 12th behind the wheel of the No. 3 DOW/Mycogen Chevrolet SS.

Kyle Busch (Toyota) was the pole winner with Carl Edwards (Toyota), Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and Brad Keselowski (Ford) complete the top five finishers.

All the action from the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway is scheduled to begin July 24 at 3 p.m., ET. Live coverage will be available on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), IMS Radio Network, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com.

QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES:

 

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/CHEVY SUMMER SELL DOWN CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 3rd

ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT:
“I was happy with all three rounds to be honest. Yesterday the two runs we made, we didn’t even finish a lap really. We bailed out on the first attempt and the second attempt was terrible. My crew chief did an awesome job. Mike (Bugarewicz, crew chief) did a great job of making changes over night for qualifying, and it showed today.  I just wish I could do lap three one more time and not clip the apron in four, I think we could have been on the pole.

 

“I think after yesterday we were a little better. What we learned today for qualifying, we are going to have to take some of that and try to make our car a little better for tomorrow.  Tonight I am going to go to Kokomo Speedway tonight for our All Stars race, and go to work there. Then come here tomorrow and have fun with our friends.”

 

YOU SEEMED TO BE ZEROED IN HERE:
“Yeah, we still have too much downforce in these cars and it’s still too cool.  It could be another five to eight degrees hotter and I would be really happy.  We will take it.  This is the kind of weekend I wanted for my last weekend.  I’m having a good time with it so far.”

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS STARTING THIRD HERE?
“I think it’s a big deal here.  It always has been.  It seems like the more downforce they take off these cars the easier it is to race around each other.  That is what you need, but it always helps when you can start up front.  When you can get up there and really get working on your car in cleaner air and plan for the end of the race that is really an advantage.”

 

IS THERE A PART OF YOU THAT WOULDN’T MIND LEAVING JEFF (GORDON) AS THE STORY AT THE BEGINNING FO THE WEEKEND AND YOU THE STORY AT THE END OF THE WEEKEND?
“I’m more than happy for Jeff to keep taking all you guys and keeping all you guys busy.  It makes my life a lot easier.”

 

HOW MUCH OF A REFLECTION IS THIS OF THE MOMENTUM YOU GUYS ARE CARRYING RIGHT NOW?
“I think it’s a direct reflection of it 100 percent.  We just have been plugging away.  Everybody thinks Sonoma was the game changer and it wasn’t.  I mean it was Pocono, it was Michigan – those two races leading up to Sonoma were probably as big if not bigger than what we did at Sonoma.  Sonoma just gave us the opportunity to hopefully use what we are doing to get going in the Chase now.”

 

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 GRAINGER CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 6th

DID YOU GET EVERYTHING THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD OUT OF THE CAR?

“I got just a little bit too much in Turn 3. I had a pretty good lap going until turn 3 and tried to turn it in and it didn’t want to turn. It was a good effort today for us, for sure, with the Grainger Chevrolet and I’m obviously looking forward to the 400 tomorrow. But, man is it hot.”

 

YOU’VE BEEN HOT HERE GETTING A WIN HERE AT THE BRICKYARD A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COME BACK?

“Well, it’s a special place in the history of motorsports and it’s a special place obviously because of me and having won here in 2013. But it’s a new day tomorrow and hopefully we can just go for another one.”

 

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 7th

ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT:
“We just struggled with Turn 4 today.  That was a new problem for us.  Our teammates talked about it a lot yesterday, but I just had to let all the way out of the gas.  I had three really good corners and Turn 4 was just really bad.”

 

FROM WHAT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED SO FAR THIS WEEKEND WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THE RACE:
“I’m nervous about the race just because the cars drive so bad.  Everybody’s car is driving bad and it’s just real easy to miss your marks.  The front tires take off and then it just goes to snapping loose.  It’s hard to manage what you have.  You’ve got to be consistent to not make huge mistakes.  I don’t really know what is right or wrong with the car to send them in a direction to make it better.”

 

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW/MYCOGEN CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 12th

ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT:
“It was a good run for us, just missed a little bit that last round more than we wanted to.  I think we made the right adjustments just driver wasn’t ready for it.  Good first two rounds just got to work on the third.”

 

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S RED VEST CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 13th

ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT:
“I love the conditions.  I love how challenging they are.  Decent starting spot.  We had higher hopes based on the first round and how that went, but the car just wouldn’t repeat on speed on older tires.  We have been showing a lot of speed on sticker tires from the test session when we were here and even through this weekend.  We just have to get a little bit more long run speed out of the car.”

 

THOUGHTS ON CAR IN RACE TRIM:
“Without having race practice today we go off of yesterday.  Just make changes based on notes and past history.  Unfortunately, I won’t know, no one will know where they stand come race time.  I am sure we will all make changes going into Sunday’s race.  With just a lap or two today and a totally different type of trim on the race car nothing really correlates.  I have been doing this long enough that I won’t lose sleep over it.  It is what it is and we will come out and race tomorrow.”

 

ON THE HEAT:
“It’s hot.  Since they did away with the ride-height rule the cars are lower.  We are trapping more heat under the vehicle.  The last two or three seasons these cars have been a lot hotter than they have ever been.  Hydration, your fitness, even nutrition comes into play.  It’s a long race.  Not only do the drivers have to worry about it, but our guys that go over the wall and have to get stuff done in 12 seconds.  They have to be on their game too.  We all know this coming into Indy.  I can say that I have sat in a meeting in January and we know Indy is going to be blazing hot.”

 

JEFF GORDON, INTERIM DRIVER, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 21st

ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT:

“Greg Ives and this Axalta Chevrolet team did a great job.  We made some improvements in the car. It was a nice lap we put out there the first time. We hit all four corners like I was anticipating. We were just a little bit tight, so we wanted to free the car up. When we went out that second time, unfortunately it just freed me up in the wrong areas. I got in the corner and I was real loose getting in. Once I lost all the momentum in turn one, the whole lap was kind of over.  It is disappointing because I felt pretty good about it. I felt like I didn’t get the best lap the first time out. I thought with the adjustments we could actually make some improvements. It is tough to make four corners here, let alone…. Some of these guys have to go and do it four more times. Really tricky to keep up with those conditions and the adjustments.  Hey we have started in the back and won this thing before.  Right now I feel real good about where we are at as a team, and the balance of the car in race trim to be able to move up through the field.”

HOW WAS IT?
“The first lap was good.  The car was a little bit tight.  I felt like put four corners together to get us through to the second round, which is part of the goal.  Then based on that I thought we could make some slight adjustments and improve it for that second round.  Unfortunately, I got loose going into Turn 1 and the car just kind of did something I didn’t anticipate.  It wasn’t like that in the first round.  So, that kind of got me off and lost the momentum and from that point on I knew it wasn’t going to be a good lap.  A little disappointed with that, but I’m having fun working with Greg (Ives, crew chief) and all the guys on this No. 88 team.  I feel really good about the things that we learned yesterday at the end of practice.  I would have liked to have been started further forward, but you know we have some work to do.  I look forward to the challengetomorrow.”

 

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR?
“I felt really comfortable right there.  I feel like today I’m much calmer than I was yesterday.  Usually my heart is beating more for qualifying than it is for practice, but that wasn’t the case yesterday.  So, today I feel more relaxed and comfortable in the car.  I hope to feel the same way tomorrowTomorrow’s challenge is going to be being around traffic and also trying to get the balance of the car right and do that when you are by yourself as well as when you are around other cars.”

 

WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS NOW LEADING UP TO THE RACE?
“I mean for the most part all the work is done.  We did all of our practice yesterday.  We did our debrief with all the drivers and crew chiefs last night.  Then we qualified here today.  Every time we are on track we are gathering information and learning.  I am certainly.  We will continue to talk about it, but that is about all we can do is talk about it and make the best guesses moving forward as to how we are going to set this car up for tomorrow.  When you know where you qualify it can change things a little bit about where you are going to be at in traffic and on pit road.  It will also – those guys will be working hard on their pit strategy for the race.  For me for the most part the work is done other than me thinking about somethings I can tell Greg and the engineers.  But the work all begins when the green flag drops tomorrow.”

 

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 KROGER/KINGSFORD CHEVROLET SS- Qualified 25th

YOU’RE NOT HAPPY WITH THAT QUALIFYING EFFORT, BUT WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING FROM THIS FIRST ROUND?

“To make it into the second round. When you’re 10th on Friday and you go out there and not make it, I expected to make it into the second round and I didn’t. I apologize to my sponsors for not doing my job.”

 

ARE YOU MORE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE IN RACE TRIM?

“I don’t know.”

 

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 26th
WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE LIKE STARTING 26TH ON SUNDAY?

“It’s going to be tough behind cars. It’s going to free-up a good bit, in my opinion. And I think your entry will be tough so you want to keep as clean of air as you can on the front of your car. But if it’s turning good, center off, I think you can make moves and get to the inside of cars off of Turns 1 and 3 and get position by the time you get to Turns 4 and 2 and then get down the straightaways. I would say we could pass, but we’ll still need strategy to get to where we want to be.”

 

 

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