JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 POLAROID IMPALA SS — QUALIFIED 2ND
«I was surprised we managed to run as fast as we did in practice and its okay. I was kind of surprised. When Jimmie (Johnson) this fast in practice, I knew unless he makes a huge mistake, we’re not going to get that pole unless you want to finish the lap. The plan was to run two laps. Being the first guy out, you never know. But when I finished the first lap I knew there was no way I was going to get anything more out of the car. I didn’t have anything else. That’s all we’ve got. Looking at the lap, Jimmie really did beat me through (Turns) 1 and 2. You can always think oh, maybe you can get a little more if you really look back at it. But a little more sometimes will cost you a half-second. So it was the right thing to do.»
DID THE TIRE TEST PAY OFF?
«Most of the tire test was by Jimmie. He and A. J. Allmendinger were the primaries on the tire test. We were secondary. For us it was that they asked for mainly long runs around the track. Running laps to put down rubber. Did it help? I don’t know. We qualified third last time I was here. I ran a .03 or something like that and I just ran a .97. So I don’t know. You tell me (laughs).»
HOW WILL THE TIRE TEST TRANSLATE INTO RACING?
«I think it’s going to be good in a way. If you look at it last year after first practice there was no rubbing. If you look at the race track right now, it is black. So definitely they’ve improved the tire again and so it’s nice to see Goodyear, this year, they have done a really good job of improving the tires and making a more competitive tire for everybody. It’s nice to see.»
ON TIRE MANAGEMENT, HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM PAST EXPERIENCE?
«Yeah, bring different tires (laughter). And being honest, I don’t think there’s any management. It’s just the way we have the car. Like I was too aggressive on the tires. If you look at last week at Loudon, we were the fastest car for the first 30 laps, and the last 20 or 30, we were like a top five race car. So, it’s how you set-up the tires and how you set-up the car. I was probably still too tight sometimes in the race. But you’ve just got to learn.»
DO YOU COME IN TO DOVER WITH THE SAME STRATEGY AS LOUDON?
«If you look at the year, most of the time we run better the longer the green goes. The longer it goes, the better we run. So for us it’s a little different. But, you try to set it up as good as you can to start with and try to make it as consistent as you can. Sometimes you do and sometimes the track really gets tighter as the day wears on. We couldn’t fix it to be honest. Every time we tried to fix it, it just took forward drive off the corner.»
DOVER HAS A TENDENCY FOR GOING GREEN LONG THROUGH MOST OF THE RACE AND THEN TOWARD THE END, A LOT OF CAUTIONS. HOW DO YOU COMPENSATE FOR THAT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE RACE UNTIL TO THE END?
«You don’t. You’ve got to deal with whatever comes. If it is a ton of green you deal with that. If there is a ton of cautions, you’re going to get a ton of cautions. If you have a good spot in the pits, it’s going to be big. And that’s it, you know? Whatever happens, happens.»