Post qualifying press conference with the front row: McMurray and Newman
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 WIDIA CHEVROLET, POLE SITTER: ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT TODAY:
”That was a really good lap for us. I felt like when we ended Happy Hour yesterday that we had the best car in race trim. When we tried to make our qualifying run, we just couldn’t get up to speed and it felt like you needed three or four laps to get the tires hot enough. It has been an issue for everybody this weekend, getting enough heat in the tires in qualifying trim. They made a couple of changes to the car today and it was good. It really didn’t feel great, it was just uneventful. Normally when you qualify here, you get wheel hop, the car pushes. It spins the tires off the corners. You have a lot of stuff happen at once. It was a really good lap for us.”
TALK ABOUT THE BOOST THIS GIVES YOUR TEAM TO GET THE SEASON TURNED AROUND: “This is really big for our team. We have had some really good cars and for the most part it has been at the short tracks that we’ve run the best. We got caught up in that wreck at Phoenix and then at Bristol at the end of Happy Hour we had the best car there, and caught up in that little wreck on the front stretch there. It didn’t tear us up, it just knocked the toe out 35 laps into a 500 lap race. We just kind of rode around the rest of the day, but, we’ve had really good cars. It just seems like we’ve had really bad luck. So I’m hoping that, I’ve always been a little superstitious of green and it showed up and I saw my car, and I was like ‘Wow, that is not really what I was expecting this weekend’. I hope this turns it around for us. I was in the trailer before qualifying was over and I was kind of pacing and just really wanting the pole and everyone was kind of laughing at me, but I told them Martinsville is about being on the pole or it really doesn’t matter, because if you get the No. One pit stall here, it is huge and I think that can win the race for you. Qualifying second and being in pit stall 12 or 12A, it doesn’t matter. It isn’t even close to being in that first pit stall. I had a fast car in race trim, good on the long runs, good on the short go. Just a really good car and to get that first pit stall is big.”
Being up front is important anytime. And at Martinsville, it is hard to pass here.
HOW BIG A DEAL IS IT HERE TO BE OUT IN FRONT AT THE START AND BE ABLE TO GET IN A RHYTHM GOING? “Martinsville, I think the starts are actually easier because at the start of this race is calm because there is not an urgency to get to the front. It is when you have the restarts around 250 when you are running 10th or 12th when you go into turn three and everybody is hitting the guy in front of him and getting hit from behind. That happened to us last fall here. We came in fifth and I got caught speeding and I went to the back. I didn’t knock the nose off, but it rolled the splitter up and we just didn’t have the speed the rest of the day. Being up front is important anytime. And at Martinsville, it is hard to pass here. The way the tires are going to fall off it is going to be better because guys that have good cars are going to be able to pass now because the tires are giving up so much that man, being up front is huge here.”
DID YOUR QUALIFYING LAP FEEL SLOW OR FAST? “Normally if you scan guys after qualifying and you hear the first 10 words out of their mouth, they are mad because the car just does so much. You would think it would be the easiest track to qualify on because we all grew up racing at tracks like this. But, it is hard. It is hard to get the car slowed down. It is hard to make it turn. It is hard to accelerate off the corner. The cars just does not want to cooperate until you get six or eight laps on your tires and you get some hear in them. When we go to the bigger tracks, you can put air pressure in and it makes grip and they have the most grip the first corner and when they get hot, they slow down. This is the opposite and it is just hard to get heat in the tires. So, when you do your qualifying lap, it is a challenge and for me, I ran my lap and it didn’t really push, it wasn’t really loose. I just uneventful. Easy.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 2ND:
We’d have been fine if it wasn’t for (Jamie) McMurray.
ON HIS LAP: “I could tell that my first timed lap was a good one because I had hit the trip and I knew I ran a .77 yesterday and .62 was quick at the time when I hit the chip going into turn three. I knew the first timed lap was really good. Just got a little bit free on my second timed lap which should have been a little bit faster I think it was four thousandths slower or a tenth slower. But either way, a good effort. I am proud of the guys to be sixth yesterday and step it up to second today. We’d have been fine if it wasn’t for (Jamie) McMurray.”
DID YOU FEEL ANY MORE GRIP OUT THERE THAN YOU DID IN PRACTICE? “I think there was just a tick more grip today than yesterday just in general the way the track felt. I think a big part of that was when we were doing our qualifying runs it was still race trim more for a lot of people and a lot of marbles on the race track. So just catching a couple of those marbles instead of getting up in the marbles could slow the car down a good bit. I was a bit inconsistent in my qualifying runs in practice just due to those marbles but you really had to keep the car on the inside of them. Today there was a little bit more flexibility in the race track because they had blown the race track off and all the cars had done today was qualifying so there really wasn’t any marbles or whatever you call those rubber object thingies.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT IS A COINCIDENCE THAT TWO OUT OF THE LAST THREE WEEKS THERE HAS BEEN THIS ISSUE OF THE TRACK NOT RUBBERING UP? “From what I was told, they made a minor tweak to the tire and came here and I guess didn’t know the answer of what it was going to do. They speculated. It could change all over again tomorrow. That is the biggest question we all have in our head. What is the track going to do when we have 43 cars out there with the exhausts being down on the race track? Is it going to lay rubber or not? If it does, it is going to change a lot of things. I think it will take two different setups to be able to be successful in either of those situations. Whether it rubbers up or whether it doesn’t and it continues to eat tires up throughout a run. The way it looks on paper, there is no way we could do even close to a fuel run tomorrow. But I think the track will change, I just don’t know how much and when that will happen. If that will happen on the first run or the last run of the race. We have seen places like Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) until later in the race and I don’t think that is the same type of situation that we have but you never know if that is going to happen, if it does.”
JOHN DARBY SAID HE DIDN’T ANTICIPATE A COMPETITION CAUTION TOMORROW, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ONE? “Did you ask him again? Anticipation can change over time. Did you ask him after qualifying? You should ask him again?”