NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010
Jimmie Johnson Wins the Pole at Dover; 15 Team Chevy Drivers to Start AAA 400
Dover, Del. (September 24, 2010) – For the 25th time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) career, four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson will start from the pole. Johnson qualified his No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet in the No. 1 starting position for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.
It is his second pole of the 2010 season and his third at Dover. It is the 12th pole for Team Chevy in 28 races this season.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, will start fifth with Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet, seventh in the 43-car starting lineup. A total of 15 Team Chevy drivers will start race two of the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
AJ Allmendinger (Ford), Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) complete the top-five qualifiers for the 400-lap/400-mile race on Sunday.
ESPN TV, MRN Radio and Sirius NASCAR Satellite Radio Channel 128 will provide live coverage of the race scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER:
YOU MADE A COUPLE OF ADJUSTMENTS ON THE CAR AND HERE YOU ARE ON THE POLE
“I have a lot of faith in this race team. We worked on some things. I knew the car was going to be more comfortable for me and help some of the loose. I didn’t know how much. As I heard on the telecast earlier, some of the other drivers we speaking about the commitment it takes. As a Sprint Cup driver you’ve got to climb in the car and hope for the best. Every time you go into Turn 1 you’ve got to anticipate that grip is there and fortunately for me today it was. If it wasn’t, I would have been backwards and in the fence, and I had a big issue off of (Turn) 4 but (Turns) 1 and 2 gave me a good feel for what (Turns) 3 and 4 had and I got a good end down there. I’m just proud of these guys and this whole Lowe’s /KOBALT Tools team. We’ve got a good starting spot, obviously, and hopefully we can make some good of it on Sunday.”
ON HIS START TO THE CHASE
“It certainly isn’t the way we wanted to start the Chase. We ran better than where we finished (at Loudon). We were in the eye of the storm a few times and had some issues and lost track position and then we had an issue with the right front tire. When I watched the comments through the week and heard what Tony Stewart had to say, and I really parallel his thoughts. It’s not what you want but there are still nine races left and no time to panic. We don’t need to change what we’re doing. We know we’re a great race team. We’ve just got to go race for this thing and I think this year’s Chase, every guy in the Chase is ready to race. We know that we are.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE FIRST PIT STALL? “Dover is such a tough track to pass on. Especially early in the race and the short run side of it. The most important thing is pit road and it is a very dangerous pit road. Even for the crew guys in a certain respect, but just from the car standpoint, you can get hit in the left front; you can get smashed in the wall. All kinds of damage can take place. You can get pinned in your pit box so to have that first pit box is everything. From where we were in practice, we were just hoping for a top-10 and I got a really good lap because of some great adjustments. We are very pleased to have that first pit stall.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON’S POLE WINNER POST QUALIFYING TRANSCRIPT:
ON RACING AT DOVER:
“I do like the race track. It’s always been a very fun race track for me. Practice was in the not-so-fun category and we made some changes to get a good lap. I wasn’t sure if it was enough for the pole, but I knew I’d be far better than I was in practice. It was a fun challenge for me today; especially the way things turned out. And there are a lot of times where you change the race car around and you’re not sure what to expect with the balance and you go out and you run a lap and things happen. Today, to really go into qualifying blind and go off of past notes for qualifying and the rhythm and mindset that I thought I needed to drive here and just blindly go into it in the first turn and just lay the car in there as I would hope, it could handle the speed and the car stuck and made the transition through (Turns) 1 and 2 and was strong. It’s cool to have that come full circle. And I guess a lot of that boils down to the confidence I have in my race team and the faith I have in them and the trust I have in them to give me a car that I need to feel. So today was a neat challenge the way it all turned out.”
IS THIS THE BEST MEDICINE AFTER LAST WEEK? HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION AT THIS TRACK?
“This is certainly a step in the right direction for momentum. Last weekend we ran much better than where we finished. It stinks that we finished where we did but there is nothing we can really do about it and to come out this weekend and qualify on the pole just starts the weekend off on the right foot. And it really creates a good situation for us in the race having that first pit stall. Track position is very, very important here. It seems to be more important as each weekend and each year goes by. We just learn more about the cars and make them more equal and the aero deficit that you’re in being one position back; just one position back is enough to keep you from running the lap times you need to. So, it’s all small little steps now and track position is one of the few big steps left in our sport. And the best way to get that track position is by qualifying on the front row or up front, and we did that. Hopefully we can maintain that track position throughout the race and have a good finish.”
ON THE ADJUSTMENT FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING THAT ALLOWED HIM TO WIN THE POLE. WHAT WILL YOU WORK ON IN TOMORROW’S PRACTICE?
“We just worked on qualifying trim today. So we can learn some trends from what we saw today and carry that into race practice tomorrow. But the track, to be honest with you, it was a little different than what we expected today. The grip level was a little off. The balance of the car wasn’t as we anticipated. So hopefully what we learned today we can lay that into our race set-up and transition into a smoother day tomorrow.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE LAP, WAS IT THE PERFECT LAP FOR THIS TRACK? DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD A SHOT AT THE POLE?
“No, I wasn’t sure it was a pole lap. Our practice session was really, really loose. And it was the first time I wasn’t crashing loose so I felt like I was going to be better than 18th or wherever I was in practice and I was prepared to run a second lap and was carrying my speed into Turn 1 and committed to running my lap when (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) with great surprise said on the radio, ‘Whoa, whoa, stop, stop…pole! You’re good, you’re good!’ And I’m like what’? I didn’t know the lap would turn out to be that fast. It was cool to see it all come together for us.”
DID YOU FEEL THE LAP WOULD HOLD UP?
“I was the last of the guaranteed starters, I’m not even sure what the heck we’re called, but I was the last of those guys. And I didn’t feel like a go or go-homer had a shot to win the pole from what I saw in practice. I didn’t count them out, but I felt pretty good about things.
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