Fontana II: Pole winner interview

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD'S CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER PRESS CONFERENCE ON YOUR QUALIFYING LAP: "Sometimes you run qualifying laps and you feel like you maybe left a little but out there, but really that's all I had. I worked really hard for...

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD'S CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER PRESS CONFERENCE

ON YOUR QUALIFYING LAP:

"Sometimes you run qualifying laps and you feel like you maybe left a little but out there, but really that's all I had. I worked really hard for my lap. The track has a lot of speed in it, but it's also really slick and even in qualifying with brand new tires, it's really a handful. It was a good lap. Obviously, even coming to the green, you know kind of what you have when you drive into turn three and you feel the car take a set coming to the green. You can tell if what you have is good or bad. I felt really good about it."

DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE A WILD CARD TO GET IN THE CHASE MAYBE BASED ON THE WINS YOU GOT THIS SEASON?:

"Honestly, when it was 10 guys in the Chase, I was the 11th guy like two years in a row. Then they made it 12 and I was like, 'This is great.' Now I was the 14th guy. It's all about being consistent and unfortunately for us at the beginning of the year, we had really fast cars, but we just weren't consistent enough. We've got that consistency now. It seems like every week, on our bad day, we run 15th which is still pretty good. I don't know if they need to make any changes. It's the same for everybody. If they want to have a wild card, I don't think anyone would have an issue with that. I don't know that 10 years ago anyone would have thought that we would have had a playoff system. I guess you just never know."

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO WORK ON IF IT GETS HOT FOR RACE DAY?:

"Well the trick to this place is the seams and its' really hard to explain to the general NASCAR fan. When the car gets in the seams, first off, it feels like water and it's really slick and when you get stuck in them you can't get out. It's almost like you're in a slot and you have to wait till you get to the straightaway to get your car off of it. It will slow your car down a half-second a lap if you get stuck in one of them real bad. Unfortunately, the cars that handle well can miss the seams and so not only are they faster, but they don't get stuck in those. The guys whose cars are sliding around a bit more tend to find them. The key to this place is having a car that you can drive across the seams and not get stuck in them. I always watch all of these races back and I watched this race back this week and it didn't seem like there was one groove that was way better than the other. You watch the first half of the race and I had it in my head that the bottom was where you had to be and 40 laps later the fastest guy was right against the wall. This is a really good race track. It really is. It's a great place to be able to race on because it's so wide."

HOW DO THEY NOT GET CAUGHT IN THE SEEMS?:

"The thing is when you enter the corner and you put some steering wheel input into your car, if your car responds quick enough you can drive across them. If your car is lazy and it will not turn or if you're loose in and you can't really pull on the steering wheel, you go across them really slow and when you go across them slow is when you get stuck in the middle of them. It's just the weirdest feeling to get stuck in that and the car's rocking back and forth, but it won't come off the seam."

WHAT HAS MADE YOU A BETTER QUALIFIER?:

"We really didn't focus on qualifying today. We worked on developing some stuff for later in the year and for next year and we made a few qualifying runs. It wasn't really a huge effort and honestly, it's a completely different setup than what we were even on the pole with here in the spring. Qualifying is obviously about having a fast car, but I think our engine program -- Juan (Pablo Montoya) is a really good qualifier also, but I think these ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing) engines have a lot of power and you're able to show that on Friday more than even in the race because you're really able to put the power down in qualifying. I think a little bit is cars, a little bit is engines, a little bit is the team maybe putting a little more focus. Our guys work really hard, not necessarily on the qualifying setup, but everything that goes into qualifying. Making the car as light as you can and there's just so many little tricks that you're able to do and not all the teams do that to the fullest level."

WHAT IS THE CHASE ABOUT FOR YOU?:

"I feel like the media makes more about the guys that aren't in the Chase and what they're using the Chase for. We're not really doing anything different than we would if we were in the Chase. We show up and you have a baseline setup that you work off of and everyone has a few things to try to try to make their cars better. We're not doing anything any different I don't think than any of the other guys are. I think the only time it's different for you is in the race whether you take a chance on making it on fuel. If it comes down to fuel mileage here, we will probably gamble and if we run out, that's what happens. If you're in the Chase, you don't take that chance. I think it's more about actually being in the race and listening to Denny Hamlin and some of those guys at Loudon (N.H.) talk about on the restarts just trying to stay out of trouble. My mentality was not like that. I was just trying to get to the front."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Denny Hamlin