MARTINSVILLE, Va. – For the 28th time in his career, and the second time at Martinsville (VA) Speedway, Jimmie Johnson will lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) field to the green flag.
The driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet won his third pole of the season with a lap of 19.402 seconds/97.598 m.p.h. around the 0.526-mile Virginia race track.
A total of seven Team Chevy drivers posted top-15 qualifying efforts for Sunday’s running of the TUMS Fast Relief 500. Jeff Burton, No. 31 Odyssey Battery/EnerSys Chevrolet – fourth; Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet-seventh; Paul Menard, No. 27 Zecol/Menards Chevrolet-ninth; Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Chevrolet-11th; Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Rheem Chasing the Cure Chevrolet-13th and Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet-15th.
The sixth race in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is schedule to start at 1:30 p.m. ET. The 500-lap, 263-mile race will be broadcast live on ESPN TV, MRN Radio and Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER – IS THIS THE PLACE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO SCORE THOSE POINTS? “You know, on paper it kind of looks that way. But you just never know. When the playoffs hit, it doesn’t matter what sport it is, crazy things happen. And with that being said, yeah, we come here thinking that we should be able to get some points on the 2 (Brad Keselowski), but you never know. It’s going to be a long race. We’ve helped ourselves out dramatically today by qualifying on the pole, we’ve got the safest pit stall, and starting with track position is very important. So, stats show one thing, but you’ve still got to go run the race and I feel really good about my Lowe’s Chevrolet and I think we’ll be in strong, championship-form leaving here.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 ODYSSEY BATTERY / ENERSYS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FOURTH – ON HIS LAP “We were tighter than we wanted to be. But in practice we struggled; on one run we were tight and the next one we were too loose and we actually went a little quicker when we were tight. So we actually tightened it up more than I wanted to. That isn’t going to be a pole or anything, but it’s better than we were in practice. Making a gain is real important and that was about a tenth-and-a-half gain from practice. So that was a good pick-up.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SIXTH – HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING RUN? “We’ll have to see. I think it’s supposed to get cooler the rest of the weekend. But we had a decent practice. I think we made gains right at the end of our race runs before we switched over to qualifying. So we’ll see. I think we’ll definitely get a lot of use out of the two practices tomorrow.”
ON HOW IMPORTANT QUALIFYING IS HERE: “It really is. We’ll just take what we’ve got, which is somewhat decent. Hopefully we can stay ahead of the melee.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 11TH – ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN: “It was pretty disappointing. We were really good in practice and it was just a little bit too free there.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 15TH – ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN: “It was pretty good actually. The car was pretty good I was just a little bit tight, just didn’t turn the center of the corner quite as strong as I would have liked. The car still felt really good.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 17TH – YOUR FIRST WEEK BACK WITH MATT BORLAND AS YOUR CREW CHIEF HOW HAS YOUR WEEKEND BEEN THUS FAR AND HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? “The Quicken Loans Chevrolet, our first change we got off on the race car and we played catch up all the way through qualifying. We’ve got a better race car than we showed today and we will prove that tomorrow and Sunday.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 26th – ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN: “We struggled today a little bit. The whole day has been kind of messed up. We have really been struggling with some brake trouble. The guys are working hard. I think in race trim, it’s not as bad as the outright speed in qualifying trim. We’ll just keep working hard. We’ve got two practices tomorrow. I started 29th here in the first race here and finished second so we will be alright and good to go.”