Michigan: Pole winner interview

J.J. YELEY , NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES MONTE CARLO SS - POLE WINNER ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP AND HOW IT FEELS TO HAVE HIS FIRST NASCAR NEXTEL SERIES POLE: "It feels really good. We had an excellent car going through all of practice. We spent a...

J.J. YELEY , NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES MONTE CARLO SS - POLE WINNER

ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP AND HOW IT FEELS TO HAVE HIS FIRST NASCAR NEXTEL SERIES POLE:

"It feels really good. We had an excellent car going through all of practice. We spent a lot of time just really focusing on qualifying. It's real important to start up front here and when we unloaded I think we were fourth fastest. Kept working on the car. The biggest thing for me is to use a lot of patience. This race track is so tempting to overdrive the entry and I'm generally the worst one at doing that. I always drive in way, way too deep. So really focusing on picking up the throttle as early as I could, taking my time getting in the corner and as I was rolling through three and four my qualifying lap I was like 'Do it now? No. Do it now? No. OK, now.' It's all about not over driving the car, not over stepping the boundary of the grip that the tires will give you so it was obviously just barely enough to get the pole but like my dad used to say, whoever gets there first wins. It's going to be a lot of fun leading the field to the green flag on Sunday."

YOUR PR REPRESENTATIVE USED TO WORK HERE LAST YEAR. NOW HE'S WITH YOUR TEAM AND YOU'RE ON THE POLE. WHAT'S GOING ON?

"If Bill (Janitz) had anything to do with me getting the pole, I don't know what he's contributed yet but this is one of my favorite race tracks. I love coming to this place. It's just a lot of fun. I've been telling people today, if you look in the dictionary about race tracks Michigan should be it. It's four and five grooves wide. It's big, it's fast and it's just a lot of fun. We've had a really good intermediate car and this is the same car we ran at Charlotte, same car we ran at Pocono and it just has a lot of downforce and it just gives me a lot of comfort when I'm driving it so when you have that comfort you tend to drive things harder. Like I said, we worked really hard on qualifying today and it paid off."

DO YOU FEEL COMING OFF OF CHARLOTTE YOU'RE FINDING A GROOVE AND HAVE SOME MOMENTUM GOING?

"I think so. I try not to get into the whole confidence of running good, running bad but there is a confidence that you get, that the team gets and everyone works a little bit harder and things work more smoothly and our pit stops have been phenomenal for the last month and a half. It takes a team effort to be competitive on Sunday. You can't just go out there and drive the wheels off a car because there's so many things that happen that are out of your control that can affect your day so as long as I can go out there and not make mistakes, drive good, the guys do their job, it makes things so much easier and having track position when you start up front, the cars just handle so much better so that's why we've been putting a lot more emphasis on qualifying because we've had fifth-place cars but we're in 20th place on the race track. We can run the right times, it's just too hard to make up that track position so starting from the pole is the right way to do it."

WHAT'S THE STRANGEST THING A FAN HAS ASKED YOU TO SIGN?

"I signed a guy's forearm. He had the weirdest looking mural on his forearm that he had had tattooed. It was a picture of my car, of a sprint car flipping.I don't know what this guy .When he's 80 years old is going to have a blob of a race car crashing. He had me sign it so he could have my name tattooed on it too. That's one of those die-hard fans. It was my car flipping. It's one of those not so proud moments he's carrying on for me."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup