McMurray wins pole for today’s race at Chicagoland
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) – Finding speed hasn’t been a huge problem for Jamie McMurray this season. It’s the consistent results that have so far eluded him.
McMurray won the pole position for Saturday night’s race at Chicagoland Speedway, turning a lap of 183.542 mph in his Chevrolet on Friday.
It is the third pole of the season and sixth of his career for McMurray, who won the Daytona 500 in February but has been struggling of late.
“We’ve had good speed all year, and we haven’t been able to capitalize on enough good finishes,” McMurray said. “We’ve had good results. It seems like we either have a chance to win the race or we finish 30th, and we’ve got to get a little bit better, more consistent there. But again, the speed is the hardest thing to find.”
McMurray said he and the No. 1 team concentrated on trying to run the low groove at the bottom of the track in practice. Based on his observations of past races at Chicagoland, McMurray believes it will pay off in Saturday’s race.
“I committed to running the bottom the entire practice, never got off of it,” McMurray said. “Even if the car didn’t quite have the speed in it, I just made my car handle well down there.”
McMurray was followed in qualifying by the Chevrolets of Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart.
Johnson planned to fly home to Charlotte right away to spend time with his wife and newborn daughter. He will return in time for Saturday night’s race.
Johnson joked that his lack of sleep since his daughter was born Wednesday might have been a bonus.
“I haven’t qualified all that well lately, so maybe six hours of sleep before qualifying is necessary over a couple of days to find the right rhythm,” he said.
Now all Johnson and wife Chandra have to do is settle on a baby name.
“We’re getting there,” Johnson said. “We just want to put some thought into it. Being as slow to make a decision as my wife and I are – you should have just watched us try and go to dinner on Tuesday night – it is difficult. There is a lot of pressure that goes with this. We can’t make a quick decision.”
Stewart said he ran his car on the “ragged edge,” barely staying under control.
“It wasn’t a pretty lap but it was fast,” Stewart said. “It gave us a good starting spot for tomorrow night and hopefully get us another top five, maybe a win here.”
Greg Biffle qualified fourth in a Ford, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. in a Dodge.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend,” Hornish said. “Chicago has been good to me in the past; I’ve won a few races here and celebrated a couple (IRL) championships here.”