Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) Qualified 1st -- FAILED INSPECTION AND WILL START 42nd PER NASCAR RULE BOOK? HOW GOOD WAS YOUR LAP? "It was really good. We were a little tight in Turns 3 and 4. I didn't run the...
Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) Qualified 1st -- FAILED INSPECTION AND WILL START 42nd PER NASCAR RULE BOOK?
HOW GOOD WAS YOUR LAP? "It was really good. We were a little tight in Turns 3 and 4. I didn't run the bottom (of the track), so I knew that it was a little longer way around the track. I felt that I could get a good exit if I stayed higher in 3 and 4 and it worked out just as I planned. I really nailed Turns 1 and 2, so I was happy with the run."
HOW SLIPPERY IS THE RACE TRACK? "It's about the same as practice. Ever since we unloaded our Texaco/Havoline Dodge, it has been really good."
YOU HAVE SOME NEW FRONT-END GEOMETRY ON THE CAR, HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR CAR? "The last few weeks we have been running a different car and it's made a big difference. This week in Charlotte (at the NASCAR test) we came out with a brand new car and it was fast both days during the test. It's really encouraging. All the guys at Chip Ganassi Racing have been working really hard trying to get out car to run more consistent. Today was a good start to the weekend."
THE WEATHER LOOKS TO STAY VERY CONSISTENT ALL WEEKEND. HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN RACE TRIM TODAY? "It was pretty fast. I think that we unloaded a very consistent racecar. I was very happy with our first practice today. Qualifying solidified how competitive we can be this weekend and that's a good sign of where the company is going."
WITH THE HEAT ON THE RACE TRACK TODAY, DID YOU NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE WITH SEAMS ON THE TRACK? "For me, the seams always seem to make the car tighter. The rear-end does step out a little bit. That's probably one of the reasons that I run the second groove so that I don't have to deal with them (seams). You can drive in straighter (into the corners) and as long as you can drive decent into the center (of the corner), you're going to get a great run at the corner. It seems like I always run higher and I'm not a guy who likes to run the bottom like Jimmie (Johnson). His car can run on the bottom, mine can't."
WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY (ON-TRACK) FOR THOSE DRIVERS WHO AREN'T IN THE CHASE? "At the end of the day, we (Chase and non-Chase drivers) both have to look out for each other. Last week I blew-up a tire and lost five places in the points. It's not the Chase, but I still lost four or five places. We still want to finish as best as we can. We still want to run as best as we can. It's all about respect. With Jimmie (Johnson) and the people you run around with, you give them space and they'll give you space. If they don't give you any space, you're not going to give them any space even if they're in the Chase. Who cares? If the guy runs the hell out of me one week and he's in the Chase, next week, if he comes close to me, I'm going to run the hell out of him."
IN WHAT WAY HAS YOUR TEAM IMPROVED OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS? "I think the whole organization is getting better. Some things have been happening the last few weeks that's been annoying. In Dover (last week), we were running in the top-10 and blew up a right front tire. There have been a lot of things that have frustrated us (and kept us) from really good finishes.
It gets to a point where you have to keep trying and keep doing what you have to do. We've changed our cars a lot this year. It takes time. It takes time to build new cars. It' takes time to develop them. We're started testing more. Brian Pattie (crew chief) has done an amazing job with the guys. We've been working so hard. It's exciting. The engine department keeps finding horsepower. To know how we're running right now and to know how much there is to come with the team the next few weeks, it's pretty exciting. Looking at next year you're thinking, 'Oh my god, are we going to win the (NASCAR) championship?' Maybe, maybe not. Are we definitely going to run better? Yeah, we're going to run better. We went through a big rut this year. We really sucked in the middle of the year. I don't think anybody wants to go through that again."
ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT WHO YOUR TEAMMATE WILL BE NEXT YEAR? "No."
YOU'RE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT WHO YOUR TEAMMATE WILL BE TO BE ABLE TO RELY ON AS A TEAMMATE TO GATHER INFORMATION LIKE JIMMIE (JOHNSON) AND JEFF (GORDON) DO TO MAKE THE ORGANIZATION STRONGER? "I think Chip (Ganassi) will decide who is going to be the best for the team. We need to work together as a team. In his entire career, (Chip) always picked good people and I believe that 41 car needs somebody because you need somebody with motivation and willing to go the extra mile."
WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN THE RECENT IMPROVEMENTS ON YOUR CAR? AERO GRIP? MECHANICAL GRIP? BUMPSTOPS? "From the bumpstops to making lighter cars to making different geometries to trying different spindles -- this year we changed so many crew chiefs -- the crew chief has the idea of how to run the car. You need to give them (crew chief) the opportunity to start with to run what they think is the best. You have to start from a baseline and build it from there. Every time that you start building something, it changed. It was pretty rough. Brian (Pattie) has been great. Brian has been working so hard. You'll see him Monday -- if you call him at 7 a.m. in the morning, he'll be in the shop working. The attention to detail is what has made the difference in the team."
Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger) Qualified 4th
"It was a good run for our Garmin Dodge Charger. The set of tires that we had on the car just didn't feel good. I don't think that the tires were as consistent as ones that we were using in practice earlier today. It threw me for a little bit of a loop inside the car. We start fifth and have 400 miles to run here at Kansas and try to get to Victory Lane."
MOST OF THE DRIVERS WERE RUNNING THE SAME TIMES IN QUALIFYING AS THEY DID IN PRACTICE, WHY ISN'T ANYBODY PICKING UP SPEED? "The track is pretty slick and the Nationwide guys have been out there laying down some rubber. Kansas is a slick racetrack. The track surface is starting to get pretty gray and it just doesn't have the same grip as it used to a few years back."
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) Qualified 8th
"It was a pretty good lap for our Budweiser Dodge. We were a little bit loose center-off, but we made some gains from where we were in practice. It was a good pick-up from where we were in practice."
HOW WAS THE CAR IN RACE TRIM? "We were a little off today and have a ways to go tomorrow in practice. We have two hours to fix the car, but it's not like we're miles away from a good combination and a solid car for Sunday."
Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) Qualified 15th
"We picked up a good bit from practice. We've got more work to do on our Alltel Dodge. The car felt pretty good in race trim, we just never got it right in qualifying trim. We'll see what we can do tomorrow to make it better. We had a good Charlotte test earlier in the week; our performance there just hasn't carried over to Kansas yet."
Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger) Qualified 17th
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "We picked up almost two tenths, so it's what we were hoping to do. It's better than what we have been here. The car is still a little tight, but it's better than what we have been on the mile-and-half tracks. We're looking forward to practice tomorrow so we can try a couple of different things and see if we can make it better."
Patrick Carpentier (No. 10 LifeLock Dodge Charger) Qualified 19th
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "I'm very happy. I'm impressed actually. The guys did a good job from practice to qualifying. We did a fast lap early on in practice and then the car got so loose on us we couldn't do much. It's still really loose. I couldn't complete that second lap, really. We got out of it pretty much everything we had to, so I'm happy."
WHAT WAS THE ONE THING THAT YOU'VE HAD TO OVERCOME TODAY? "Loose, just loose, loose, loose all day except that first one was perfect and then after that we couldn't match up to what we did in the first run and just got worse and worse. So the more we were trying to tighten it up the more the track is getting loose or whatever it is. It's not getting better."
Bobby Labonte (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger) Qualified 21st
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "It was an OK lap. We carried some good speed, but it was definitely tight. It was a good improvement from practice -- good pick up -- and it gives us a good starting point for tomorrow."
Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Penske Truck Rental Dodge Charger) Qualified 23rd
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THAT LAP? "Happy we're going to race but I'm not really happy with my performance. Tried to get back to the throttle a little bit too soon down in (Turns) 1 and 2 and drove it in a little too deep in three and four. We're trying to get all of it that we can out of it and that's the only way you know is to take it to the edge. Real happy with the Penske Truck Rental Dodge and happy with the work that the guys gave me so far this week. I think we've got a real good race car. The big thing was that we got into the race."
Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) Qualified 31st
HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "We can't seem to get the front end to turn that well and there's no indication where it's coming from. We'll just keep plugging away. I don't know when we will find it."
Robby Gordon (No. 7 Menards Dodge Charger) Qualified 39th
HOW DID THE PENSKE SOUTH RACING ENGINE PERFORM? (Gordon switched from Gillett Evernham engines to Penske engines this week) "Great. It is a very, very good engine. This week was a tough week, running at Lowe's and then get these things (engines) converted. We were pretty good in practice. We were just way too loose for qualifying. We'll work on it tomorrow and get it ready to race. We'll be OK."
-credit: dodge motorsports