MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS QUALIFIED 2ND JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS QUALIFIED 3RD DOES THIS PLACE REALLY TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY? CAN YOU COMPARE IT TO CHARLOTTE OR ATLANTA? MARTIN: "This place is easy to...
NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS QUALIFIED 2ND
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS QUALIFIED 3RD
DOES THIS PLACE REALLY TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY? CAN YOU COMPARE IT TO CHARLOTTE OR ATLANTA?
MARTIN: "This place is easy to drive, but my car wasn't (laughs). Like I told (crew chief) Alan (Gustafson), you tried to kill me but I'm not mad at you (more laughter). Our car was pretty good. We qualified 32nd last race here. We were too tight. We made a plan or a pact. We did the same thing at Texas when we qualified poorly and were too tight. We made a pact between ourselves that we might be too loose, but that wouldn't happen to us again. So, I only had a brief conversation after our last run in the car and then I'm said I'm leaving, and I'm going to clear my head. I don't want to talk about it; I don't want to know. You know what to do. So I didn't think about how loose the car was going to be. I just strapped in it and found out when I hit the corner. And it worked out okay. I would never do it again. Next time, when we get to Texas, I'm not even going to think about it until I strap in and hit the first corner for qualifying because he better do it to me again because that's our plan.
"We'll keep digging. I'm having a lot of fun driving these cars and trying to keep up with you (Juan Pablo Montoya) man, you make an old man run hard. We'll see. We're having fun. Hopefully we'll have a car that can contend again on Sunday maybe if we do things right."
GOOD LAP OUT THERE?
MONTOYA: "Yeah, I think it's a little bit early for the track. But it's okay. We have a good car. We had a good practice. I don't know. It's hard to say. There's always a little more out there, but our goal was more to get a really good clean lap."
JUST HOW LOOSE WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP? HAVE YOU BEEN IN A CAR THAT LOOSE BEFORE?
MONTOYA: "Yeah, at Indy (laughs). But I've also wrecked them trying to drive them that fast. When you're qualifying, you can't let the car step out that far. Like in race trim you can let it step out maybe three times as far and you can really visually see it. But in qualifying trim, if you visually see a car getting sideways, it's really hurting the speed. So I was able to keep the car tucked under me visually, but I knew that at any moment it was going to be too much. But I said, it was our plan. After we qualified 32nd last time here and we qualified very poorly in Texas, we made a plan. After I got out of the car on the last run, I looked at Alan and I said, 'I'm going to go clear my head. You know what to do. Just do it.' So that's what we did."
IS QUALIFYING ONE TIME WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT POINTS? YOU CAN JUST GET ONE FAST LAP IN?
MONTOYA: "You have to be very careful. The further up front you're qualifying, the better you're going to run and the easier your year can be. You can have problems. You can have penalties, but by qualifying up front, you're going to have a cleaner race. The car's going to feel better. Anything can happen. At the same time, I had a great car and I just focused on making a clean lap. I knew how far to go; how far to break. I was actually like coming out of (Turn) 1; out of (Turn) 2, I wasn't wide open. Like in practice, I was wide-open. Here it was a little loose. I know I could probably hold it wide-open and wheel the thing, but if it steps out, I go from qualifying 3rd to qualifying 43rd. And then we go from having an easy Sunday afternoon to a horrible one."
MARTIN: "That's exactly what I was trying to say, too. At Indy, I made it through (Turn) 1, made it through (Turn) 2 and made it through (Turn) 3. And then when I looked at Turn 4, I saw this picture of my car on the wrecker right before I got to that corner. I couldn't see if there was any damage on the car or not because I didn't have a lot of time to look at the car, but I did see my car on the hook, okay? So that doesn't help your day like Juan said. If you do that, you can still win. We won from 32nd last time here but you know, you're making it hard on yourself. Qualifying is part of it. And it's a competition just like the race is. Everybody wants to do as good in every single competition that they can as well."
ON NIGHT RACING AT BRISTOL:
MARTIN: "It's mostly beneficial for the fans. It's always been one of the coolest races that we do on the circuit. A lot of it has to do with the night atmosphere and the way the cars look lit up. It's like you're at a high school football game. It's just all that. The racing itself is not that much different, I don't think, for the competitors. But it's really a cool thing for the fans and all.
-credit: gm racing