NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER QUALIFYING NOTES & QUOTES
OCTOBER 7, 2011
Three Team Chevy Drivers Grab Top-10 Starting Spots at Kansas Speedway
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (October 7, 2011) – Paul Menard, No. 27 Schrock/Menards Chevrolet was the fastest Chevrolet in qualifying today at Kansas Speedway, securing the sixth starting position for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.
Mark Martin, No. 5 CARQUEST/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, will start ninth and 10th respectively in the 267-lap/400.5-mile race.
A total of 17 Team Chevy drivers will take the green flag for the 30th race of the season and the third race in the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Austin Dillon, currently the points leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, qualified for his career-first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, turning in the 26th quickest lap.
In addition to Gordon, other Team Chevy championship contenders qualified as follows: Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet – 11th; Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet – 14th; Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet-18th; Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet-19th and Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet-23rd.
Greg Biffle (Ford) won the pole. Carl Edwards (Ford), Kyle Busch (Toyota), Matt Kenseth (Ford) and Kasey Kahne (Toyota) complete the top-five qualifiers.
Live broadcast coverage of Sunday’s race will be provided by ESPN TV, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET.
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SCHROCK/MENARDS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 6TH
“We really wanted to get a pole. And we had a good shot at it today. The wind was really gusty and it was hard to predict what it was doing. We got through (Turns) 1 and 2 really good. I might have overshot the entry to Turn 3 a little bit and just could never get it to point and drive it straight off, so I was just kind of tight all the way through (Turns) 3 and 4. But we’ll get us one (pole).”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 9TH:
ON HIS LAP:
“I was real disappointed with that because we had a pretty big push in both corners and the car really had potential to go and we were just a little conservative with our balance there on the tight side. So we had good speed and that’s very, very nice to have what I would consider a fairly sorry lap and still get a pretty decent starting position. It’s better than we do we’ve got good laps a lot of times.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH:
“We just again got loose. I about wrecked over there; (turns 3 and 4 due to gusty winds). Yeah, I got really lucky. I had a big, big moment and it could have cost us a heck of a lot more than that and even possibly a race car. So, I’m glad that we’re sitting where we are. We can get it done from there.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 11th : ON HIS LAP: “We made some improvements I feel on our race car even though a couple guys beat us, I think the car was better there. We started off the truck really far out to lunch. At least we are a little closer to supper now. The wind just really has got us kind of messed up. The wind seems like it has let down a little bit now. But, it still really pushes the car in the opposite direction you want it to go. So it is a challenge.
“I didn’t get everything I wanted to out of it. It did most everything I wanted. But just the overall speed was just a little off. We have got a little bit of work to do. But the Haas Automation Chevrolet was much better there than it was off the truck today.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 14th: ON HIS LAP: “It was a lot better than what we had in practice. We were off quite a bit in qualifying trim in practice. That was almost a half of a second improvement for us. Still wasn’t quite what we needed, but a lot better.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 98 CURB AGAJANIAN/REAGAN CENTENNIAL/CAMPING WORLD/CURB RECORDS CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 26th: ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: “Thinking about it going up there, I wasn’t nervous all the way up until it was time to go. And then it’s just like you think of every little thing that could go wrong. We were fast enough in practice to get in really fast. That time we actually picked up some more speed, but I think if I would have calmed down a little bit it would have helped my lap.
“I over drove the entrance to (turn) one just a little bit and it hurt me. But, I still got a good lap in. I’m excited. So now we get to go practice. Take a deep breath and think about what we have to do to be consistent in the race. Very proud of these guys. We’re in the show.”
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO KNOW YOU HAVE QUALIFIED FOR YOUR FIRST CUP RACE? “Oh, man. It is huge. It’s just fun to be able to go out here and race these guys. I have a great sponsor with Curb Records and Camping World. We are out here celebrating the 100th year of (Ronald) Reagan. It would be his (100th) birthday this year. So I am really excited. I’ve got a fast Chevy behind me. So we’re going to go get it done.”
HAS IT BEEN A LONG WAIT FOR YOU SINCE YOU ANNOUNCED YOU WERE GOING TO MAKE THIS DEBUT? “It has but I tried to keep it in the back of my head because we are fighting for that (NASCAR Camping World) Truck championship. Now that it is here, it is just going to be fun now that we are in. It was a lot of stressful nights leading up to this. I wasn’t going to admit it to anybody that I was nervous. But right there before, about five to go, I was kind of nervous just thinking about things that could go wrong. It worked out for us. We’re in the show and going to have some fun in our Cup debut.”
ANY EXTRA PRESSURE BEING YOUR GRANDFATHER’S GRANDSON? “I don’t know. There might be a little bit. I think he is more nervous than I am. He is just excited to be in the show. He’s glad that we got through qualifying and now we can go race. He know’s that we’ll race a lot better than we qualified so we’ll be fine.”
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE RACE? “There is a lot of things. I think the first thing is to run all the laps and after that a top-25 would be great. If we could do that, it will be a great day for us. Running all the laps is first and foremost. We’ve got to get out there. We don’t want to get in these Chasers way, but we’re going to go out there and race hard.”
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