JOHNSON WINS POLE AT POCONO
LONG POND, PA – August 2, 2013 – Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and current series point leader, Jimmie Johnson, put his No. 48 Lowe’s Planes Chevrolet SS on the pole today for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway. Johnson posted a top speed of 180.654 mph in 49.819 seconds to claim his 31st Sprint Cup career pole, his fourth pole start on the 2.5-mile triangular track and a new track record. He has three victories at Pocono, including most recently in June ’13.
Johnson had to make a second pass through pre-qualifying inspection after NASCAR determined the tow on his Chevy SS was off by one-thousandth of an inch. The No. 48 crew made adjustments and Johnson was able to start his qualifying run from the 29th slot in the order.
Fourth quick was last week’s Brickyard 400 winner, Ryan Newman in his No. 39 Haas Automation 30th Anniversary Chevrolet SS. Kurt Busch, behind the wheel of his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevy SS qualified fifth, giving Team Chevy three of the top-five starting spots in the 43-car field.
Kyle Busch (Toyota) qualified second and Carl Edwards (Ford) qualified third to round out the five fastest entries.
The GoBowling.com 400 takes the green flag on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S PLANES CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER
TALK ABOUT YOUR TRACK RECORD SETTING QUALIFYING RUN AND STARTING UP FRONT ON SUNDAY:
“Track records are cool it makes all drivers and teams smile. We got one at Martinsville this year and then to get one here is really cool. The wild thing though is I practiced at like a 51.15 and then to go out there and run a 49.80 the speed difference and the senses you have inside the car. I knew it was fast I just didn’t know how fast. Each corner I made I tried a little bit harder and was more aggressive with my entry speed, my throttle application and just kind of challenging the car and it stuck. In some ways I think I could have gone a little quicker if I knew what that felt like and I’m sure a lot of guys are saying that in the garage area right now to be honest. It was an interesting lap because I threw everything I thought I could at it in turn one and it stuck. So then turn two try again, turn three try again and it made it all the way around that was pretty awesome.”
WHAT WERE THE ISSUES THAT YOU GUYS WERE HAVING IN INSPECTION AND DO YOU THINK IT’S POSSIBLE THAT ACTUALLY GOING OUT FOUR SPOTS LATER THAN YOU WERE SCHEDULED MIGHT OF MADE A DIFFERENCE?
“Only four spots? No, it didn’t make a difference. We had the left-rear tow was off by a thousandth of an inch. The system is a pass/fail, a thousandth of an inch. Glad we got it sorted out and we got on the clock, which is always a scary thing to be on the clock, but we beat the clock.”
KYLE BUSCH KIND OF INSINUATING THAT SEVERAL TIMES YOU GUYS HAVE GONE THROUGH TECH MORE THAN ONCE THIS YEAR AND YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO GET FASTER. WANT TO COMMENT AND REPLY TO THAT?
“I wish that there was some master plan behind it all. They are welcome to try it. They are welcome to experience the stress that goes with it. My heart was pounding out of my chest trying to get in the car and beat the clock. I don’t wish that kind of stress on anybody. I think it’s pretty awesome how we have been able to perform in those moments, but it’s not what I want to go through.”
IS IT SAFE TO SAY THAT POCONO IS BECOMING ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TRACKS?
“Yeah, I mean shifting here makes this track so much fun. When we weren’t allowed to shift for a while the fun factor kind of went down some. The gear change allows you to help turn the car it makes it interesting. You’ve got to manage the tranny there is an RPM match you have to get right getting into third gear. So, it brings back a lot of fun for me. Trips to Victory Lane definitely increase the fun factor as well. Sunday there is good potential for it to be pretty high on my list.”
THE FLAT TRACKS GIVE YOU A LITTLE MORE ADJUSTABILITY MAYBE. WHAT DO YOU HAVE ON THE FLATTER TRACKS VERSUS MOST OF THE 1.5-MILE COOKIE CUTTERS WHERE YOU CAN ADJUST THE CAR AND MAKE IT WORK BETTER FOR YOUR DRIVING STYLE? WHAT FITS FOR YOU?
“I think that our team, Chad’s (Knaus, crew chief) and my driving style it takes all those pieces to make it work. I think we have excelled on different kind of quirky race tracks. It’s just been us all along. I know Chad really enjoys setting the car up here because in turn one you have some banking which puts a lot of vertical loading in the car. Turn two and turn three there is a lot less banking so it’s more lateral load. There are different adjustments on the race car to affect those areas. He enjoys the engineering side of it. I certainly enjoy driving it, but we’ve just had that knack for odd-shaped race tracks. If it’s Dover, if it’s Martinsville, here has been good to us. It just works for some reason.”
I ASKED JEFF GORDON EARLIER WHEN HE’S GOING TO PUT THAT DAD OWNER HAT ON FOR ONE OR BOTH OF HIS CHILDREN WHEN IT COMES TO RACING. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT FOR YOUR FAMILY?
“We have another girl on the way and if they want to I mean absolutely. I would love to teach my daughters how to race. They probably won’t want to listen to me. I didn’t want to listen to my dad. I was talking with Ward Burton earlier today and tried to help Jeb (Burton) out as much as I can. He was thankful because Jeb doesn’t want to listen to his dad. I said ‘hey man I was there I know.’ So it might be more of a fantasy in my mind where it would be great to teach my children how to race and all that. I can say that Genevieve is definitely on the girly route. I’m not sure race cars are in her future. She is into anything pink and princess-ish. Maybe not her, but maybe the second one on the way will be.”
JOHNSON WINS POLE AT POCONO