JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 2ND
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT: “It was pretty good. I thought we played the game pretty good yesterday. We only did one qualifying run and actually, when I came out of (Turn) 4 we decided to bail out of it to make sure we went out early today. And it paid off big. I think we have a good race car. It’s been tough the last few weeks.
“I thought last we actually had a really good car when it was sunny. When it cooled down, we just got too tight and couldn’t keep up with the race track. But I think we made a lot of gains in the car. I’m pretty optimistic for tomorrow.”
YOU AND TEAMMATE JAMIE MCMURRAY QUALIFIED WELL TODAY. GANASSI MADE A LOT OF CHANGES TO THE CARS DURING CHARLOTTE WEEK. DID THAT HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT SO FAR TO THIS WEEKEND? “Well, I know Jamie struggled a lot yesterday with the car. We just seemed to come off the truck so far off and that just makes it hard. We haven’t been able to come off the truck on race weekend and say oh, that’s good. We’re competitive and we’ve just got to fine-tune it. We haven’t had that yet the last few weeks. Last week for me was the last run of the last practice, where we went, oh, that’s better. And here we had that on the second practice, halfway through the second practice; an d we worked on it a little bit and I feel we got it pretty close. So, we’ll see.”
THE CHANGES ARE HELPING? “Yeah, we’re just trying to understand where the car needs to go. I think Stewart-Haas is going through the same thing. You’re just throwing things at it and going through the shaker rig and go from left to right and going the one way and the other and just trying to understand where we need to go and what are we missing? We’re gaining on it.”
WITH THIS FRIDAY PRACTICE, SATURDAY QUALIFYING SCENARIOS, ARE WE GOING TO BE ABLE TO TELL WHO IS GOOD FOR QUALIFYING? ARE WE GOING TO GET TO THE SITUATION WHERE YOU’RE ACTUALLY TRYING TO GO SLOWER THAN SOMEONE ELSE? “Oh, I think it wasn’t so sunny it would have paid off a little bit. I think if it would have been like yesterday, it wouldn’t have made a difference. We were lucky that it was so overcast. You still want to try to post a good time and you really want to see how competitive you are. So, I’m not sure if everybody is going to do it. You’re still going to have to put down a good practice time in race trim to see how good your car is. So, we’ll see.”
YOU AND JAMIE WENT OUT ABOUT THE SAME TIME AND WEREN’T ABLE TO REALLY DISCUSS WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW THE TRACK REACTED “Our car set-ups are so different, to tell you the truth. We drive a car so different that it doesn’t really matter. You’ve got to believe in your crew and what you’re doing and hope it works. I was a little loose and I heard he was the same way, funnily enough. But you don’t want to adjust the car on the basis of everybody else. You don’t know how much looser or tighter he is. Tire pressures make a big difference. There’s a lot of things that will change. I never even went to the bottom in qualifying; I don’t know where Jamie qualified but I qualified second groove at both ends. So that will have a big effect on that as well.”
TEAMS WHO HAVE HAD SUCCESS HERE IN THE PAST DON’T SEEM TO BE DOING AS WELL; WHILE TEAMS THAT HAVE NOT, ARE DOING BETTER. CAN WE ATTRIBUTE THAT TO THE CHANGE ON THE CALENDAR FOR THIS RACE? “When you think about it, it’s a lot harder out there. Track temperature is like 20-30 degrees hotter than when we were here in October and I think that makes a big difference.”
SO IS THIS KIND OF A NEW TRACK NOW? “It’s really slick. It’s incredible. We came from Charlotte that it’s a place where your car had a lot of throttle all the time and you’re rolling really fast and you keep a lot of speed through the corner. But here, you don’t. You baby it in and just take it really easy and just point the car. You’ve got to be very patient here and disciplined about how you drive it. And when you can do that, it runs pretty good actually.”
WITH THE COOLING SYSTEM IN THE CAR HERE, HOW MUCH COOLER IS THE AIR YOU ARE ACTUALLY BREATHING? “Like last week, not much because after 50 laps the hose came off the side so I was breathing hot air from inside the car. It was fun (laughter). I had a lot of cold drinks. We used to have one of those big boxes everybody uses and we got away from it and just got a little drink bottle with a lot of ice in it and every stop we change it so that way I always at least get a cold drink. But it’s okay, you know what I mean? It’s just hot.”
If the car handles good ...
KYLE BUSCH SAID YOU ARE ONE OF THE GUYS WHO COULD SNEAK IN AND GET TWO WINS FROM HERE ON OUT BEFORE THE CHASE AND GET LOCKED IN. GIVEN WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS NOW, DO YOU PUT YOUR ACE IN THE ROAD COURSE BASKET? “I think we’ve got the speed to be in the top 10 to be honest with you. The last six weeks we had like 30th place finishes in a row and like four of them or like 25th or worse or something. So I think we’ve got the potential to actually be in by speed. I think yes, we could put in a race like that but there’s are a lot of guys out there who could win as well. Ambrose is going to be in a position to be in the top 20 in points if they keep running the way they’re running; and if he wins one of those two as well he could be in the Chase. So it’s anybody’s game.”
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT DAN WELDON WHO WON THE INDY 500 IS WITHOUT A RIDE RIGHT NOW? ‘Well, that’s the problem with that series right now. I think it’s pretty simple to find sponsorship for the Indy 500 but to get the same sponsorship for the races for the rest of the season is hard. It’s difficult. I think sponsorship is difficult there and to be honest with you, between our Target team and Penske, they dominate.”
HOW MUCH DO YOU ENJOY A SLICK, HOT RACE TRACK LIKE WE’RE GOING TO HAVE FOR THE RACE ON SUNDAY? “If the car handles good, it’s a lot of fun. If you can get into the corner and it doesn’t do anything stupid; it doesn’t step out horrible getting in and it doesn’t push out of control in the middle and you can get on the gas and yeah, you’re going to be sliding around, but you can actually drive it and go forward, it’s fun. If you’re out there and you can’t even touch the brakes getting in and then you get to the middle and the thing doesn’t turn and you get on the gas and it just snaps, it’s a handful. I think it brings the best of you. You’ve really got to step up your game and it’s interesting. It is completely opposite than Charlotte but it’s fun.”
If the car is a handful ...
HALFWAY THROUGH THE CHASE, THERE IS ONLY ONE GUY WITH ONE WIN IN 11TH THROUGH 20TH. SO IF YOU DON’T GET IN THE TOP 10 IN POINTS, DO YOU FEEL LIKE IF YOU WIN A RACE HERE THAT WILL PROBABLY GET YOU IN THE CHASE? “Well, you’ve still got Daytona that is restrictor plate and that is pretty much anybody’s. And the road courses, and there’s gambles and maybe a race that is fuel mileage. I think if you get one win and you’re in the 14th – 10th I think you have a really good chance to get in. Fifteen – 10th, I think you have a really good chance to get in because you might be tied with somebody else with one win but they’ll be behind you with the same amount of wins. But I think if you really want to be in outside the top 12 or the top 10, you’ve got to have to win. So then you get two wins, you’re 100 percent in.”
ON THE SEAMS ON THE TRACK, ARE THEY A BIG DEAL? “Oh, they’re not too bad. I think the worst track for seams is California and Atlanta. Probably Atlanta number one and California number two. This one, eh, it moves but not outrageously. It makes it interesting. The seams are one of those things that when the car is half decent and you can use them for your advantage you’re really fast. If the car is a handful, it makes it even worse.”
EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE A FAST CAR, HOW MUCH SUCCESS DEPENDS ON HAVING A SMART DRIVER? “You’ve got to make sure you bring the car home every week. I think that’s always a key thing. You’ve got to get the results as well. Even when we had bad weeks we’ll be bringing the car home and I think that’s huge. But you’ve got to get a couple of really good results and step up and change the momentum. I think last week we kind of stopped the bleeding that we were coming through for a couple of weeks so I thought it was pretty important. And I feel like here we made a lot of gains yesterday and if we can apply those gains for the next few race tracks we’ll be looking pretty good.
-source: team chevy