Indianapolis: GM teams qualifying notes, quotes

Juan Pablo Montoya Claims the Pole for the Brickyard 400 as Team Chevy Drivers Score Nine of the Top-10 Starting Positions INDIANAPOLIS - Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest in both practice sessions on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

Juan Pablo Montoya Claims the Pole for the Brickyard 400 as Team Chevy Drivers Score Nine of the Top-10 Starting Positions

INDIANAPOLIS - Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest in both practice sessions on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Saturday, the driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet again went right to the top of the scoreboard to claim the pole for the Brickyard 400 behind the wheel of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.

It is the second pole for Montoya this season and the fourth of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. It is his first career pole at IMS.

Team Chevy had an impressive qualifying day for Sunday's running of the 17th running of the Brickyard 400. In total, Chevrolet drivers scored nine of the top-10 starting positions for the 160-lap/400-mile race.

Three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, will start second. Mark Martin, No. 5 Chevrolet, will roll of third.

Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet and Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, will start fourth and fifth respectively. Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Wheaties Fuel Chevrolet, will start in sixth position.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, will roll off in eighth position. With Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet in ninth and Jeff Burton, No. 31 Prilosec OTC Chevrolet in the 10th starting position.



YOU AND TEAMMATE JAIME MCMURRAY HAD SOME GOOD LAPS CAN YOU KEEP THE POLE? "You know right now we are first and third and our biggest treat was the 48 and he is right there."

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE MADE HISTORY HERE BEFORE FOR CHIP GANASSI WINNING THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 AS A ROOKIE. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU AND JAIME -- ONE OF YOU -- TO MAKE HISTORY HERE FOR CHIP BY PICKING UP THIS WIN ALONG WITH THE DAYTONA 500 AND THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 IN THE SAME YEAR? "We'll see, you know there is still a long way to go. It's still Saturday and we still have got to run tomorrow I think we just have to be smart and give ourselves a chance to try to win it."


DO YOU THINK YOUR SPEED WILL HOLD UP TO PUT YOU ON THE POLE THIS YEAR? "Last year I started second. This year it seems like everybody is a little bit faster. I think it's a good effort. I think this Target Chevy seems pretty good. We've just got to wait and see. It seems the Chevys are up front today and it's exciting."

ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT THE RACE TOMORROW AND DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS RACE TRACK ALMOST OWES YOU ONE? "It's given me a lot so I don't complain. I've got a 500 trophy and I think if we could get a pole here, it's the only thing I don't have here yet, so a pole would be pretty exciting. This Target Chevy has been amazing. I think both our Ganassi cars are ready to do it and it's nice. Right now were first and third.

EARLIER THIS YEAR, YOUR TEAMMATE, JAMIE McMURRAY, WON THE DAYTONA 500. TEAM OWNER CHIP GANASSI WON THE INDIANAPOLIS 500. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO ADD TO THAT HISTORY, WHICH A WIN IN THE BRICKYARD 400 WOULD DO? "We'll see. It's still a long ways to go, you know? It's still Saturday, we've still got to run tomorrow. I think we've got to be smart and give ourselves a chance to win this."



HOW IMPORTANT IS THE POLE AT IMS? "That first pit stall on pit road is a huge advantage. It's a very narrow pit road. On top of that, the timing lines and the way they worked out, there's a big gap and a big distance for that first pit box. Track position is also very important here. It's tough to pass. So in the scheme of things, I'm really happy with where we are in the top three or four and to have a good stall and with our starting position."



CLINT BOWYER WATCHED YOUR LAP AND SAID THAT IS WHY YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST, DID YOU FEEL LIKE THAT? "It wasn't perfect but boy it was good. I just have to commend, the CarQuest team, and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports because I had such a good race car it didn't have to be perfect but it was a good lap. No mistakes just tried to get a little too much maybe in turn four and all, but I am just thrilled that the cars are getting more and more like last year every week now and it is so great to have positive momentum in that direction and I know how hard everybody has worked and I just want to say thanks to all of them and to all my fans for keeping up the faith......we are going to get it back."

DID YOU JUST MUSCLE THAT THING AROUND HERE OR DID YOUR EXPERIENCE GET YOU THAT GOOD LAP? "No, sir. A great race car. The Chevrolet is strong this weekend. I am really grateful to see the fruits of everybody's hard work. We've been struggling for a while. We've been making progress, had some forward momentum here for several weeks. We're stronger this week than we've been. I believe that we are going to continue on that path for a while until we get back into the form we were last year. I just could have been last if the car hadn't been there. It was a great race car and I had a lot to work with there. I'm just very very pleased. Happy to see the results and see it from all the hard work."

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THAT DESPITE GOING OUT SO LATE IN THE ORDER? "I am because we knew we were up against the draw, we also knew we had a good race car and we showed that. Very, very pleased with the outcome. We were strong yesterday and it is nice to see the fruits of everyone's hard work. We've been buried for awhile this season. We've been making progress ever since New Hampshire. This is the strongest car that we have had so far since maybe California, the second race of the season or Bristol or Martinsville for sure. I'm just very proud of the guys for keeping the faith and digging. Man, they have to dig hard. It's hard when you are down to climb your way back. We're part of the way there and we're going to get there."



SOUNDED LIKE ON YOUR COOL DOWN LAP YOU WEREN'T VERY HAPPY WITH YOUR LAP, WHY? "Well we made quite a few changes to our car and I felt like our air pressure was a little bit off yesterday so we made an adjustment to that today and the car just didn't come in quick enough. It felt good in three and four on my time lap but I just couldn't get through one and two that first lap and so hopefully when I look at the lap tracker that you guys produce I have always done better in the corners that I felt worse in (laughs) but our Bass Pro Shops Chevy has been pretty good and Juan (Pablo Montoya) had a really solid lap so we just have good cars for the race and hopefully we can have a mistake-free day."

"We made a couple of changes to our car. I really felt like our air pressure was a little bit off yesterday, so we adjusted on that today and the car just didn't come in quick enough. I really felt good in three and four on my time lap but I just couldn't get through one and two that first lap. Our Bass Pro Shops Chevy has been pretty good, and Juan, obviously, had a pretty solid lap; we've got good cars for the race, and hopefully we can have a mistake-free day, and get the win."



IS THERE A HUGE ADVANTAGE OF GOING EARLY TODAY? "The draw means so much here. Even though it was as hot as it was at 10 o'clock, I think it was 84 degrees, or something, which is ridiculous in itself that is a good thing because it can only heat up so much more. It is what it is. It is the same for everybody. It is just the luck of the draw each and every year that we come here to Indy."

TALK ABOUT HAVING TRACK POSITION HERE: "Track position is huge. The faster you go, the flatter the race track, the more the track position has an effect on the race car. This is the maximum of all the race tracks that we go to for track position."

HOW GOOD IS YOUR CAR FOR TOMORROW? "We have a couple more hours of working on it, but I think we have a really good starting point for these next two practices, we'll see what we can make happen?"

ANY THOUGHTS ON CHEVROLET HOLDING SO MANY OF THE TOP-10 QUALIFYING SPOTS? "That is good. That is my thought! It is effort, man. It is about effort. It's aerodynamics and horsepower here. Obviously Chevrolet has done their homework, that is what they do."

IS INDY A BIGGER EFFORT FOR STEWART-HAAS RACING? "It is special. We brought a special race car and I think it is paying off. It is just a matter of putting the best race car on a given race track that you can. Everybody puts a little bit more emphasis on Indy, but, it is still just another race."



YOU THOUGHT YOU MADE SEVERAL MISTAKES OUT THERE WHERE WERE THEY? "Well I just got a little bit loose getting in to (turn) one and then went over to two and tried to make up for it......everything they tell you not to do and it washed up a little bit and we gave up some speed down the back-straight. I felt like I gave up about a tenth and then I watched (Mark) Martin and Ryan Newman go out and beat that so all-in-all it was a great effort. As late as we went out the Wheaties Fuel Chevrolet was very fast and I am very proud of the guys and this is a brand new race car with a whole lot of steam under the hood so all-in-all it was a good day for us."

I WATCHED YOU WATCH MARK MARTIN'S RUN AND KNOWING HOW HOT AND SLICK THIS TRACK IS HOW IMPRESSIVE WAS THAT? "I knew it was there because we just ran an upper fifty and he ran like a fifty flat so I knew it was there because of the mistake that I made but he just made a perfect lap and that is why he is one of the best."

HOW TRICKY IS THIS TRACK? "It is definitely tricky, but it means a lot to all of us. Everybody steps their game up in a big way. Everybody has on our race team. It is up to me to do the same."

HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU ABOUT THE CHASE? "I think our cars are good enough. The boys have been working really hard. Just a little bit of Lady Luck and we're going to be right there. I feel like not only can we be the 12th car, I think we can be on up in ninth or tenth."



TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT OUT THERE: "It was a great lap time, but it wasn't a very good lap. We've had some issues with getting into the entry of the corners. We tried to make some adjustments to address it, but it just didn't. But, the grip level was just unbelievable. I just couldn't be real fluid through the corners with the car. It was still a pretty good lap. I didn't think we were going to be as near as close as we are to the No. 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) or the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) right now. So, we've made some big gains and it was a great lap and we drew an early number. We'll take it. We'll see where it ends up."

ON THE LAP? "We got the lap time, but I wasn't real happy with some of the things that went on during the lap. But the car has a lot of grip through the corners. I am just having some issues getting in the corner. It just wasn't a very smooth lap. We drew an early number and I think the team made some adjustment that definitely brought it some more speed. We ran a much better lap than I thought we were going to. We are closer to the No. 42 and the No. 1 than we were yesterday."

IS STARTING UP FRONT CRUCIAL TO CONTENDING FOR A WIN? "Starting up front is a big part of it. Track position is extremely important. Last year we started 22nd and we fought all day long just trying to get ourselves into the top-10. We needed it to be a 500 mile race instead of 400. We had a good race car. I think we have a great race car for the race this weekend as well. Qualifying was the biggest issue that I had yesterday. We survived it about the best we could right now and I'm happy about that."



CONGRATULATIONS ON THE BIG WIN AT ORP LAST NIGHT WITH RON HORNADAY: "It was a great night for Hornaday and all of those guys to see them get back on-track. Good for them to get going. Hopefully they can keep it going over the next several weeks. It was pretty important for them. It is key to what we do as a company. To have them win last night and know they can do it again is important. They needed a win as a team. They know they can win, they just hadn't done it for awhile."

WHAT IS THE KEY TO TOMORROW'S RACE? "Finishing first, going faster than everybody else. (SMILES). You have to have your car handling good but track position is very important because it is hard to pass. You just have to have a fast car, that is pretty much what it boils down to here."5

ON THE TRACK CONDITIONS. "It doesn't have near as much grip as I thought and anticipated it was going to have. But, it's still a little bit better than last night, but not as much grip as it usually has in the morning."



ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THAT LAP? "Yes, I think it was a solid lap. Obviously, going earlier would have helped but there are a lot of people going behind us so we can't complain. We went out 15th, there are a whole lot more behind us. The car was solid. I made a little mistake off of three and that kind of messed my rhythm up in four, but, I thought we went through one and two really really well. It has been a good weekend and I feel good about that."

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES. FOUR OF THE TOP SIX ARE EARNHARDT-CHILDRESS RACING ENGINES. HOW ABOUT THE IMPROVEMENT THERE? "Well the weak point of our program last year wasn't the engines. Our engines were awesome last year and they have gotten better this year. This year our cars drive so much better and you can be real aggressive with them and make lap times so RCR has done us a great job of getting us some much better equipment and we have got better stuff coming yet and our guys are just working so hard and doing a lot of really, really good work so I am proud to be a part of it and we were down last year but it kind of pissed us off (laughs)."



HOW WERE THE TRACK CONDITIONS? "Slick, actually. It was a lot slicker than I thought it was going to be. We'll see how it ends up. It's been a hot week here in Indy. We had a perfect draw and I don't think I'm sure we were able to capitalize on it. The car is just not handling good."

YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR CAR? "Not in qualifying trim (laughs). We'll see what we've got here in two more hours. We've got to work on it for the race."

ON HIS DRAW, AND ON THE WEATHER "It's already hot and slick."

WHAT DID YOU GUYS FIND WITH THE RACE CAR SINCE LAST NIGHT? "Well, that's the great thing about all these guys and the Old Spice/Office Depot team. They go back and get a night to think about it and a night to do some simulation stuff and that's what 9crew chief) Darian Grubb and these guys are really good at; not getting in the panic mode. I'm not sure we got all the way there but we got some of it out of it and got it better. But we'll have to see where we shake out here. Luckily we got a good draw and that hopefully won't let us get any further back so hopefully we'll have something for them tomorrow."

ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR LAP? "Well, we'll see how everybody else shakes out. We'll take what it gives us and get ready for tomorrow."

WHAT WERE TRACK CONDITIONS LIKE FOR THAT RUN? "Slick. Actually it was a lot slicker than I thought it would be. We'll see how it ends up. It's been a hot week here in Indy. We got the perfect draw but I'm not sure we were able to capitalize on it though or take advantage of it."



HOW WAS YOUR CAR OUT THERE? "I think my car was pretty good, I just over-drove it a little bit in turn two and never got the nose set down in the bottom there so we have a pretty solid race set up and we feel pretty good about that. I think today we just over-adjusted a little bit but we want to find the sweet spot and anticipate where the track will be at for Sunday."

HOW WAS YOUR RUN? "It was all right, a little bit tight in two. It felt pretty good. I wanted to run a little bit better than that. I thought I could pull one out, but I didn't get lucky. The car wasn't too bad. I might have overdrove two, but the car was a little bit tight."

WHAT WILL YOU WORK ON IN PRACTICE TODAY? "We started yesterday really, really loose, me and Mark (Martin) both. We both kind of over adjusted and we just have to figure out where the sweet spot is. I feel pretty good about it. We have a lot of things we want to try. We just kind of have to find a balance of where we want to be. The track is going to keep changing and getting tighter and tighter. We have to keep freeing the car up and try to anticipate where the track is going to be on Sunday."

DID GOING OUT LATE MAKE A DIFFERENCE? "The grip was there. I think I over-drove the car a little bit. It was a little bit tight in two. The track was in good shape."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya