FOUR CHEVY DRIVERS QUALIFY IN TOP 10MARTINSVILLE, VA – OCT. 25, 2013 – Jimmie Johnson was true to form at Martinsville Speedway today by powering his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS to a strong second-place qualifying position with a speed of 99.344 mph for Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Third on the all-time win list at Martinsville, Johnson’s victory at the paper-clip shaped track last April made him the all-time winner among active drivers with eight victories. He is currently the point leader in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, and will be going for his third consecutive win at the half-mile oval this weekend.
“In practice there was a little bit of work to get things where they needed to be, but we found some direction at the end and made some good adjustments for our qualifying run,” said Johnson, who will start the 500-lap race on the outside front row. “I think the conditions were pretty tough for everybody. I saw a lot of guys slipping and sliding around and evidently the lap wasn’t all that bad. I would have loved to do one spot better. That first pit box, man, it is nice being down there, but we didn’t get it.”
Jamie McMurray, last week’s race winner at Talladega, was the second fastest Team Chevy driver in his No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS. He will start from the seventh position in the 43-car field.
Chevy Chase contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet who has made seven trips to Victory Lane at Martinsville, qualified ninth; and Kevin Harvick, also a former winner here, will start his No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet SS in the 10th spot on the grid.
Other Chevy Chasers in the hunt qualified as follows: Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS will start 12th, Ryan Newman, No. 39 State Water Heaters Chevy SS will roll off 17th, Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet SS starts 19th, and Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevy SS qualified 25th.
Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was the pole winner, Kyle Busch (Toyota) qualified third, Matt Kenseth (Toyota) will start fourth, and Clint Bowyer (Toyota) qualified fifth.
The Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 takes the green flag on Sunday, Oct. 27th at 1:30 p.m. EDT and will be aired live on ESPN and MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SECOND
CERTAINLY I’M SURE YOU WANTED THAT NUMBER ONE SPOT, BUT NUMBER TWO POSITION HERE AT MARTINSVILLE MAYBE JUST TALK ABOUT YOUR CAR AFTER PRACTICE AND THEN AFTER QUALIFYING HOW YOU THINK THINGS ARE SHAPING UP:
“In practice there was a little bit of work to get things where they needed to be, but we found some direction at the end and made some good adjustments for our qualifying run there. I felt like I had a good last lap although it wasn’t the most efficient and smoothest lap so I felt like I had a chance to maybe slide down to fifth or sixth or something as the session went on. I think the conditions were pretty tough for everybody. I saw a lot of guys slipping and sliding around and evidently the lap wasn’t all that bad. I would have loved to do one spot better. That first pit box, man, it is nice being down there, but we didn’t get it.”
SHOULD IT BE ANY SURPRISE OR IS THIS KIND OF A SIGNAL OF WHAT IS TO COME THAT EVERYONE WHO STILL IS PRETTY MUCH IN CONTENTION FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP YOU ARE GOING TO FIND YOURSELF AROUND EACH OTHER TO START THIS RACE?
“When we get to the Chase and then to the end of the Chase you’ve got to expect the best out of everybody. It’s not a surprise and I almost want to say it’s cool to see that each year when it gets down to crunch time that the guys racing for the championship continue to rise up and put on a great show. If you look at what Tony (Stewart) did a few years back rallying back. Brad (Keselowski) and I had an awesome battle through the closing stages of last year’s championship. This year everybody that has a shot is in there and going to be competitive. I think it is pretty cool that everybody rises up. Now it makes for some stressful nights and it’s not real easy to mentally prepare for all this stuff because you know you are going to have to be on your game and practically win the race if you are going to pull any point’s on anybody. I think that is the way the rest of the season is going to go.”
ARE YOU AT ALL NERVOUS BEING SURROUNDED BY THE THREE JGR CARS?
“I wasn’t until Kyle (Busch) got so excited (laughs). No, maybe I should be, but not as of now. We will all race hard I’m sure. We have all been, at least so far, have been a lot of situations with each driver and been able to race hard and take it right to the line, but not cross it.”
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