NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
November 19, 2010
Team Chevy Championship Contenders Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick Qualified Sixth and 28th To Set the Stage for Sunday’s Battle for the Title NASCAR at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla – (November 19, 2010) – The field is set for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) battle for the title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Team Chevy championship contenders Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, qualified sixth and 28th respectively for the 267-lap/400.5-mile race.
Four-time defending NSCS champion Johnson heads into the final race second in the standings 15 points out of the top spot. Harvick is third, 31 points down to Johnson.
Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, will start third in the 36th race of the year.
Mark Martin, No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, posted the eighth fastest qualifying time. Regan Smith, No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, was 10th fastest to give Chevrolet four of the top-10 starters in the 43-car field.
A total of 15 Team Chevy drivers will take the green flag one final time this season.
Kasey Kahne (Toyota) was the pole sitter. Carl Edwards (Ford), Bill Elliott (Ford) and A.J. Allmendinger (Ford) complete the top-five qualifiers.
The Ford 400 is set to start at 1:00 p.m. ET Sunday with live broadcast coverage on ESPN TV, MRN Radio and Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128.
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 3RD:
CONGRATULATIONS ON A VERY SOLID SEASON. YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER CHANCE TO TACK ON ANOTHER WIN ON SUNDAY AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
“Yeah, we unloaded really good today. You know, you show up on Friday and you just never know. People ask you throughout the week, how’s your car going to be for this weekend, and you just really never know until you get to make those first laps on Friday. We unloaded here with a little different set-up than what we have run at the other 1.5-mile tracks and the car had really good speed in it. And it even seemed like it was going to be good on the longer runs. It’s been a great weekend for us. We were racing both Kasey (Kahne) and Carl (Edwards) for the most poles so I thought it was ironic that we all ended up first, second, and third. But it’s been a really good day for us.”
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON 2010, IS IT OVERWHELMINGLY POSITIVE, OR DO YU FEEL LIKE YOU LEFT SOMETHING ON THE TABLE? WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO TOP IT NEXT YEAR?
“We’ve had really an amazing year. To come back to Ganassi’s organization and then start rolling in the (Daytona) 500 and the Brickyard 400, we’ve just had a great year. At the beginning of the season we’ve struggled a little bit with some consistency, but since Chicago, our bad days have still been pretty good. And after knocking the spoiler off the car last week and coming back in and somehow those guys taping it back on and to come back and finish 10th, honestly I was not as happy running 10th last week as I was winning the big races. But I thought that showed a lot about the strength of our team to be able to come back; and Phoenix is really hard to pass. It’s a really tough track to go all the way to the back; especially with a wounded car to drive back up and finish 10th; that was a really big day for us. So I feel like we’ve become a lot more consistent and our bad days seems to be 15th now which is really good. And so I’m just looking forward to starting next season. Our qualifying has been really good this year and really, our 1.5-mile program has been great. We probably need to work a little bit on our short track program.”
WHO IS GOING TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND WHY?
“I would probably rather be in Denny’s (Hamlin) position because he’s leading. All he has to do is outrun Jimmie (Johnson). I don’t know. I don’t think any of those guys are out of it. I think Kevin (Harvick) certainly could be a spoiler in all that. He’s been really consistent and I don’t know. If I did, I would put a lot of money on it in Vegas, but I don’t.
IF YOU HAD A LOT OF MONEY, WHERE WOULD YOU PUT IT?
“In the bank (laughter). I think it’s just really hard to pick one because they all have had really good years and I think any of them are capable of winning on Sunday. So, it’s just hard to put your finger on which one is going to come out the winner. I don’t think it matters where you qualified. If you can get a lucky pit selection, because honestly guys, it’s really weird, but qualifying 15th is like the worst time to pick pits because there can be a good car that picks in front of your or behind you. When you qualify that far back, sometimes there is a good opening left. So, as long as he can get a good put pick, I think that he’ll be okay. He’s certainly not been known to be a qualifier.”
WHY AM I DOING BETTER THIS YEAR? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW?
“For me, I feel like they do more where I am now than where I was as far as the effort that’s put in. I know that Carl (Edwards) has shown up the last 8 or 10 weeks it seems like and every week he’s in qualifying trim. We don’t do that. We show up in race trim and then put our car in qualifying trim, but there’s a bigger transition of qualifying set-up to race set-up and the amount of lead the car holds. I think a lot of it, for us, has to do with our engines. I think the ECR engines are really awesome. And you can show that when you come to a track like this and there is so much wide-open throttle. I’m with Carl (Edwards); I have never been one of those guys that on Friday (says) I think I’ve got a chance at the pole. Maybe at Sonoma I always felt like I had a shot at the pole but certainly not at a 1.5-mile. And then I came here and honestly each Friday I feel like we have a chance. You know, today, sitting out there I’m thinking I believe we have a chance to sit on the pole today if we do everything right. I feel like our organization does a better job at getting the cars prepared for qualifying.”
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