An interview with:
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA — 2nd
KERRY THARP: We’re roll into our post qualifying press conference for tomorrow’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Our second quickest in today’s qualifying session is Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet. Take us through your qualifying performance out there today.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Actually, it was a little disappointing. With the track, being so late, the first few guys had the coolest track. It was hard. I think we had a car to beat Mark. Actually, the balance was kind of weird. We did three runs yesterday, didn’t touch the car, and it was always on the loose side. It turned really good. It was just a little loose. I think here it’s a little faster.
The qualifying lap was actually tight. I was kind of surprised. Actually kind of happy we ran a little bit faster than we ran yesterday.
But I don’t know, car seems good in race trim. It’s been consistent. For what we’re trying to achieve, it’s very good. We got to try to have very good finishes the next few weeks to get to the Chase. It’s all about that. I know we have a chance of winning tomorrow. Most important thing is bringing the car home. If we can have a very good points day tomorrow, it will be huge.
KERRY THARP: Questions for Juan Pablo.
Q: Juan, nobody has yet won the Brickyard 400 and the Indianapolis 500. Obviously starting second, that seems to give you a great opportunity. Do you think your car is adjustable enough to keep up with the conditions all day tomorrow to win it by the end of the day?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I’ll tell you the truth, we unloaded, I think the only thing we done to the car is changed 20 pounds on the left rear spring. That’s all we done. Car is that good.
I don’t know. My first year here, I qualified second. I think I qualified second, yeah, and finished second. Last year we didn’t qualify that great, like 11th or something, or 13th. We were running fourth when the tire blew up.
I think we got a very good car. I would have been happier for the race if we didn’t practice today ’cause I think people will find things that will make their cars better, as well. You know what I mean?
Q: You mentioned the importance of getting a good points day tomorrow. What might you do differently in this situation versus if you were fifth in points or something?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Well, I think if you’re fifth in points and you’re getting top fives every week, you can take more risk, you can take two tire stops. You can get away with a lot of things. You look at the points, we’re ahead of the 5 car and ahead of the 18 car in points. One of them won three races, the other one won four, and I don’t have a single top five. You tell me if points racing doesn’t help.
Q: You mentioned you don’t have a single top five all year long. Don’t you think it would be kind of necessary not having a bad race from now until we get to Richmond?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: If we have a top five, great. You know, we probably could have had a top five in Sonoma. We decided to be careful. If somebody was coming inside, let him go, take the points. It was a great points day. We finished sixth and it was good.
Q: Did you want to finish better?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, of course you want to finish better. I think here, the way the track is, I think overtaking is really hard. So we’ll see. We’ll do what we can, pick our winning and losing. If we have a good stop, clean track ahead of us, we’ll go. If we’re in traffic, be smart about it, take our time.
Q: Juan, you’ve won the Indianapolis 500. Have you ever thought in your mind what it would be like to win the Brickyard?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: In Formula One it went across my head a lot of times because I had a chance to win, but it blew up and all kinds of things happened (laughter). I think today if I looked at it, I’d rather win this than the Formula One race here, to be honest. I think it’s a bigger deal, so…
I finished second once. Started second once, started twice second actually. So we’ll see. From practice, we have probably the fastest car. But not always the fastest car wins. We’ll see.
KERRY THARP: Juan, thank you very much. Good luck tomorrow.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: All right.