DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FEDEX GROUND MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 2nd MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS MONTE CARLO - Qualified 3rd HAMLIN: TELL US ABOUT QUALLIFYING: "I definitely wasn't as optimistic about qualifying this time as I was...
DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FEDEX GROUND MONTE CARLO SS - Qualified 2nd
MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS MONTE CARLO - Qualified 3rd
HAMLIN: TELL US ABOUT QUALLIFYING:
"I definitely wasn't as optimistic about qualifying this time as I was in the past. Today our car was really, really good in race trim. We ran about five laps or so. We have a little graph on our monitors that stipulates where your lap times go and we were just making straight lines. That's really good at this race track. The tires wear here. We saw some guys lay down some fast laps and then it would shoot up north. We definitely have a car that can win on Sunday."
HAMLIN: IS IT HARD NOT TO COME INTO THIS RACE WITH SUCH CONFIDENCE THAT YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO MAKE THE ADJUSTMENTS TO GET BETTER?
"Yeah, definitely. We unloaded like we did in the second race, and ended up working our way back to where we were in the first race during the course of practice. It's the same car, but there is virtually nothing the same other than the seat and center roll cage. But it unloaded just like it did in the first race and the second race and it was really good. We weren't top of the charts last year in practice by any means, but in the race we really showed up. I think it's going to be the same song, second verse this year."
HAMLIN: DID YOU THINK YOU HAD ANYTHING FOR RYAN NEWMAN'S LAP?
"I didn't - until I actually went out on the race track. When he laid that lap down I was sitting in the motor coach. I didn't think I could until I got on the race track and sped up down the back stretch and went through the tunnel turn, I realized the track had a ton of grip. After that, I really thought I had a shot at him. I got through Turn 1 and didn't think there was anybody who could be faster than us through there. But when I got to the Tunnel Turn it was driver error. I got loose in and lost a ton of time through there. So, we lost it by three-tenths. It's kind of a wash. We would have been right there on top of his lap. We could have gone either way had I hit my marks. Either way it was still a good run for us. We didn't get the pole. However, we're still on the front row start and we've got just as good a chance coming off of (Turn) 1 leading as we do if we would have gotten the pole."
HAMLIN: WHAT IS IT ABOUT POCONO THAT SUITS YOUR DRIVING STYLE SO WELL?
"For some reason, I can really figure out what the car is doing here. On flat tracks in particular, it seems like I can really read the car really good and I just get a good feel for it here. It's one of few race tracks where I can really feel the front tire and the throttle. I think that translates into speed when you can work on the car a lot better."
TRUEX JR: DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR WIN AT DOVER IS KICKING THE GATE IN AND YOU'RE READY TO RIP HERE?
"Absolutely. We've been on a steady climb in the standings since California, where we were 42nd, I think, after there. We've had a good season. But things are just starting to go the way we need them to. We've had some great race cars but not much to show for it for a good part of the year. It feels good to show it finally. I'm just real happy with my race team. They're doing a great job. All the guys are working real well together. The difference right now is whether we unload a good car or a decent car we can make it better no matter what. That's been the key for us."
TRUEX JR: DO YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF WONDERING WHAT IT WAS THAT HELPED MAKE THAT TURN SO THAT YOU CAN STORE IT AWAY FOR LATER IN CASE YOU NEED IT?
"From our side and what we've been working on, I don't think it's been a switch. It's been a gradual increase in performance. Since the end of last year we've had really good cars. We've run in the top five and top 10 a lot. We haven't had a car that we would dominate like we did last week, but we've had cars that are capable of winning races. The first two this year we thought we could win - the (Daytona) 500 we ran real strong. At California we didn't get to show what we had. We qualified up front and were running fourth when we blew up. We've had good cars. We've had a lot of unfortunate things happen to us but that's all part of racing. We're kind of hitting our stride and showing what we've got now and getting the results that we deserve."
-credit: gm racing