Talladega, AL -- Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Tums Dual Action Impala SS, scored his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) pole nabbing the top starting spot for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (TSS). Montoya is in his third...
Talladega, AL -- Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Tums Dual Action Impala SS, scored his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) pole nabbing the top starting spot for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway (TSS).
Montoya is in his third season in NSCS competition and his fifth start at TSS. His best finish at the Alabama track is second in the spring 2008 race.
Team Chevy drivers scored three of the top-five starting positions and six of the top-10 on the grid. Montoya's Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing teammate, Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala SS, will start third in the 188-lap, 500.08-mile race.
Clint Bowyer, No. 33 BB&T Impala SS, will roll off fifth in the 43-car field of race nine (9) of the 2009 NSCS season.
Regan Smith, No. 78 National Day of Prayer Impala SS, captured the sixth starting position with Mark Martin, No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Impala SS and last week's race winner at Phoenix, will roll of in the seventh starting spot.
Brad Keselowski, No. 09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming and Resort Impala SS, grabbed the ninth starting position.
Greg Biffle (Ford) and Sam Hornish, Jr. (Dodge) round out the top-five qualifiers.
A total of 15 Team Chevy Impala SS drivers will start tomorrow's race. The field will take the green flag at 1:00 p.m. (CDT) with live coverage on FOX TV, MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TUMS DUAL ACTION IMPALA SS, POLE WINNER:
Getting our first pole is big. Takes the weight off of everybody's shoulders. It shows where the team is heading. It is very encouraging.
"It is pretty cool. Driving this Tums Chevy here is exciting, everybody at Target as well. Everybody that supports this program that believes in us. It really shows where the team is heading. Hopefully it is the first of many.
"We are setup in race trim; we haven't really done too much to our Tums Chevy. Yesterday we did a little bit of drafting, a fuel-mileage read and everything. But it is dangerous here in practice and when you have a fast car like we have got, you can't really risk it. Always will be a lottery the race here. For us it was make sure to try to keep the car in one piece and save it for the race. Our main real goal was to qualify in top-five here. This is one of the fun places that can go anywhere. It is not like the bottom or the top. You can go three-wide, four-wide, it is all about working with people, you can make it a lot of fun."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS:
"It was a pretty good lap. The guys did a good job building a good car; we have a great engine in the car. The National Guard/Amp Chevrolet was good yesterday, we are right there around our teammates so we feel pretty good about that. Everybody is running about the same speed. We think we have some great race cars for tomorrow."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS:
"Talladega is a tough place. It is just about survival for us. We have run very well here in the past. We have won Nationwide races and have run well in the Cup races but we can never finish the deal. Last year we felt like we had car capable of winning, we got in a wreck running second. It is like, what do you do. Do you race up front all day? Do you take it easy? It seems like either place we have been, we have been wrecked. Hopefully Sunday will be different; we will get to the end. We have a great Bass Pro Chevrolet, it was really fast today. I am pretty excited about the race. Just need to get to the end and we will have a shot at it.
"The car has really been fast all weekend. I am excited about the race on Sunday. We have had some great runs here at Talladega. I felt like in the fall we had one of the cars to beat and we got in a late accident. I hope this weekend we can get to the end of the race, finish the deal and get back to victory lane."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED:
"As far as my run goes, I feel pretty good about it. From what I learned from where they learned last year, the guys worked really hard in the off season to come back to Talladega and I am real proud of what they did. We struggled a little bit with speed at Daytona and Richard wanted to make sure we picked up that speed. The guys worked real hard at the race shop and got us some speed. I don't know where that lap is going to end up, but it is a heck of a lot better than it was last time we were here. It was good, it was real good. The Jack Daniel's Chevrolet ran really good. I think my teammates have some fast cars as well. Any way you slice it, it was a big improvement from where we were in Daytona and just real proud of all the work the guys did.
"As far as everything else, you know, it is just a change and obviously, we weren't where we quite want to be. The No. 29 wasn't running like they wanted to run so they just wanted to shake things up a bit and see what we get. I am real happy with the team I am with now. I am real happy with the team I am getting ready to go to. Hopefully we can catch up on things as quickly as possible and learn each other. I think as far as Gil (Martin) and all them guys, we were just starting to get to the point where we were really starting to understand each other but, at the same time, I have known Todd (Berrier) for a long time and they are a great team over there so I am looking forward to it."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/ PEPSI THROWBACK CHALLENGER IMPALA SS:
"I am happily surprised. We did make a qualifying effort yesterday and we really thought we were going to run in the 20s or 30s, so to be, I think, a 09 or something with the DuPont/Pepsi Challenger Chevrolet. We are having fun. It is real exciting to have this throwback paint scheme this weekend. It means a lot to me. Hopefully we are going to have some good results. So far, so good.
ON THIS BEING AN IMPOUND RACE AND CAR YOU QUALIFY IS WHAT YOU HAVE FOR THE RACE. "I like it. I think that it might hurt us a little bit qualifying because you have the guys outside the top-35 that will go all out for qualifying that is the impact of the qualifying order. If it was just straight up qualifying, I think we could qualify just a little bit better, but I like the schedule and I like the cost savings for the teams."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 PRELUDE TO THE DREAM/U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS:
"It was a decent lap for us, but it was a dirty race track out there. It is getting a little cleaner as we go but it shouldn't be like that when we start qualifying."
***TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED:
"This place is always about being in the right place at the right time. You can run your guts out all day and still end up 25th. It doesn't matter. This is one of those deals you just have to be there at the end. You have to put yourself in a position at the end to be up front. It doesn't matter what happens on lap 20, it doesn't matter what happens on lap 100. You have to take care of your car. Keep yourself out of bad positions during the day because inevitably somebody is going to go in an opposite direction of somebody else and it's not going to be a mistake on anybody's part, that is just how close we run. You just have to play defense ¾ of the day and play a really good offense the last quarter."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T IMPALA SS:
"Shane (Wilson, crew chief) and all the guys on the BB&T Chevrolet have been working hard to find speed. We got close, it was the draw. Going this late as hot as it is outside, I really feel if we would have went out in the first 10 cars or so, we would have maybe had a shot at it. Really proud of them and think we have a good hot rod for Sunday. I am excited.
"We are proud of qualifying up there because it has been awhile since we've qualified up front at one of these restrictor plate tracks. Everybody at RCR has been working hard. The engine shop has been working hard. So far so good."
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER IMPALA SS:
"Normally qualifying at Talladega is not a big deal; you are not nervous, whatever. I got off turn four and my knees started shaking a little bit and my hands were clinched up because I knew I wanted to go down to the apron but I wasn't quite sure if I was supposed to or not. I went and did it anyway. Looking forward to Sunday, I think we are going to have a good race car. We have the National Day of Prayer on the car this week so that is cool.
"It was a good effort by all the guys on the Furniture Row Chevy. Our first goal was to get in to the race and make sure we could race tomorrow. So we accomplished that, now we're going to see what we have for the race.
"The limited schedule deal has worked out in the past for teams. It has been 10 or 15 years since it has happened. It is working out good for us. We are able to focus on the races that we are running and I have a great group of guys that are all really committed to the program. We are having fun. We are just coming and having fun."
-credit: gm racing