With Sprint Cup Series qualifying less than 24 hours away at Talladega Superspeedway, there is no clear consensus in the garage area regarding what might occur.
“I don’t know what is going to exactly happen,” admitted six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson today. “But to win the pole, you’re going to have to go out there and race.
“The run that you can get on a group that it a football field or two ahead of you is so dramatic. A 10 or 12-car line won’t be as fast as somebody who falls way back in the pack and has a chance to pull up into the pack over a lap or two. That’s what every driver is going to try to do.
“Setting that up is going to be tough,” he admitted, “because everybody is going to be trying it; and if you see someone behind you coming (fast), why stay on the gas to help them? So, bailing out of the gas, breaking up the pack, and things like that are all possible.
“It’s going to be exciting, for sure.”
“I’m trying to come to grips with where I take a large risk,” he said. “We’re just not sure right now what to expect. We wanted to come here with a plan in place on how to qualify, but our opinion seems to change every 15 minutes.”
Teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was equally cryptic, saying, “I just don’t know (what will happen). The guy that gets the pole is going to have to hit it just right. I’m not sure what our approach is, yet. We’ve got some conversations to have between Steve (Letarte) and our teammates, and feel out everybody’s opinion (on) what they want to do.
Earnhardt also said he is not willing to take major chances tomorrow in search of a prime starting spot.
“We built a brand new race car, so our willingness to take risks is going to be pretty limited,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you start, other than just picking (a stall) on pit road.”
Team Penske driver and two-time 2014 winner Joey Logano had a more succinct prediction for tomorrow’s qualifying session, saying, “Somebody’s going to wreck a wreck car. In fact, it’ll probably be more than one.”