JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET/KRAFT CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED THIRD
ON HIS LAP:
“It was close got tight in (turns) three and four and had to bail a little bit out of the gas, but gave it a good go. Our Target Chevy has been pretty good so I’m pretty excited.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED FOURTH
WHERE DID YOU FIND ALL THE SPEED FROM PRACTICE?
“I must have had a pretty good car in practice and just didn’t drive it hard enough. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) and the guys made a couple of small changes but nothing big. I looked at some things; they gave me a little information and did a better job there than I had been. I felt good about that lap. It should be pretty close. I think Ricky (Stenhouse) has been really fast qualifying on these mile and a half tracks lately so I feel like to beat him we should be in a pretty good spot hopefully top five, maybe pole that would be awesome to start here in Chicago.”
YOU ARE SHAKING. DID YOU GET EVERYTHING ON YOUR LAP?
“Well, I think it’s a pretty good lap. I maybe gave up a little bit in (Turn) 1. When I landed, I maybe didn’t get wide-open quite soon enough. But in (Turns) 3 and 4, I thought I hit that pretty good. And the guys did a nice job today with our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet. We’re in a good spot. We’ll definitely be in the top-5, I think. I felt like that was a really solid lap. Maybe front row; definitely top-5.”
DO YOU HOPE TO GET ANY CLARITY OUT OF THIS MEETING TOMORROW?
“I feel like I have plenty of clarity. I feel like I know what you are supposed to do and what you are not. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult. I think we all know where it started at Richmond and I just don’t understand all the rest. I feel like I have plenty of clarity. I’m going to go tomorrow and sit in and make sure I know what I’m thinking is correct, but I don’t think I’m missing too much right now.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SIXTH
ON EARNING A SPOT IN THE CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP:
“Oh, it’s been a roller coaster ride this week and an unusual set of circumstances. I’ve never been a part of anything like this before. But for my team and my fans that that have been overwhelming supportive this week, for the tough decisions that NASCAR has to make, and for Drive to End Hunger, I’m extremely happy about this. We’re proud to be in it, and now an incredible set of opportunities lie on our shoulders to go out there and show that we belong in this Chase.”
WHEN WE INTERVIEWED YOU AFTER THE RACE AT RICHMOND, YOU WERE TOTALLY UNAWARE, AS WERE MANY, WHAT HAD TRANSPIRED THAT YOU DIDN’T GET IN. NOW THAT YOU’VE SEEN WHAT HAPPENED ALL WEEK WITH THE MEDIA; AND NASCAR’S DECISIONS, IS THIS IN YOUR MIND JUSTICE SERVED?
“Well, certainly from where I’m standing now and all that we’ve been through this week and looking at that race and how hard we worked, it would be easy for me to say that. But we’ve got some issues that need to be addressed. I’m looking forward to this meeting tomorrow; to work through some of those and to interact with NASCAR and hear what they have to say as well as come up with long-term solutions of how we get around these types of events ever occurring again. And I know we’re going to leave that (meeting) with hopefully a crystal clear set of guidelines to make sure that we’re only going out there and racing as hard as we possibly can the way this No. 24 was last week.
CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING IN. NOW GO OUT AND MAYBE GET YOUR FIFTH CHAMPIONSHIP:
“Well we had a good car today. And speaking of fans, we’ve got 516 contributors to Drive to End Hunger on my hood that are all going to be riding around here with us on Sunday; and now for a Chase for the Championship in Sprint Cup. Thank you.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED NINTH
ONE LAP IS ONE THING WHAT ABOUT 400 MILES HERE ON SUNDAY WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GO TO VICTORY LANE?
“We haven’t done any race runs yet, so I don’t have an opinion there just yet. We do have a lot of great history here at this track. It has been a very good race track for me even all the way back to my Nationwide days winning my one and only Nationwide race here. I’m excited about our race on Sunday and we will get into practice tomorrow and see what we have.”
HOW HAS THIS PLACED CHANGED OVER THE COURSE OF TIME?
“The groove has moved around a lot. There are a lot of bumps and the track is really a lot of fun to drive right now. I think we are going to have a great race with a lot of racing lines to choose from once it gets going.”
YOU WERE OH SO CLOSE. WHERE DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU LOST IT THERE?
“That was a really good lap. I had it in the bag and then something happened on the front stretch, but I’m not really sure. I didn’t have any problems on the exit of Turn 4. The car drove great and so I’m excited about that. And we’re on the early side, so that might hurt us a little late in the going with some other cars coming out, but all-in-all it should be a great start for the Lowe’s Chevrolet.”
HOW ABOUT A REACTION TO THE DECISION THAT JEFF GORDON WILL NOW BE IN THE CHASE:
“Of course I’m very happy that Jeff is in the Chase. In my opinion though I believe there should be 12 cars. One in one out should be the deal. It’s not, but there are a lot of things to consider and look at. It’s been an interesting week to say the least. From conversations I’ve had from things I’ve seen, read, speculations, truth. Truth lies somewhere in the middle of all this that we keep talking about. Very happy for the No. 24 to be in the Chase though.”
WHO SHOULD BE OUT?
“Whoever was 12th, ones in ones out is the way I see it.”
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT OUT OF TOMORROW’S MEETING?
“I don’t really know. I’m sure a lot of threats and things along that side of life, but I just don’t know to be honest with you. This is something that I have never seen or been a part of in my career. To watch the sanctioning body react and respond and how they are going to police in the future this is all new territory. It will be a start of the process tomorrow and I think as the weeks come and the months come following it we will continue to evolve the changes that are going to be put in place and do a better job policing it.”
DOES IT HURT NASCAR’S IMAGE TO JUST KIND OF THROW ON AN EXTRA DRIVER LIKE THAT WHEN EVERYBODY THOUGHT THERE WAS GOING TO BE 12?
“I think some people are going to feel it was right. Some are going to feel that it’s not. I think the arguable point most will have is that the penalties to MWR are far different than the penalties to the No. 38 and the No. 22. I think through all of this we all are just looking for consistency. I think there is probably more argument in that than in 13 cars being in the Chase. As a competitor and one of the 12 that was in the Chase you just changed the odds and the ratio tremendously by adding a 13th car. It’s not like… and I feel Jeff should be in so I guess the No. 22 would be the one on the outside looking in if they removed one. That is a good team. They won the championship last year with the No. 2 car and Joey (Logano) is doing a great job and earning a lot of points. It changes the dynamic of the Chase quite a bit to have 13 cars in there.”
YESTERDAY YOU WERE SAYING THAT YOU DON’T CARE WHAT NASCAR SAYS IN REGARDS TO RESTARTS AS LONG AS THEY JUST MAKE IT CONSISTENT. DO YOU THINK THIS IS A STEP TO MAKING THINGS CLEAR AND CONSISTENT IN WHAT THEY WANT?
“In the restart area we still haven’t even crossed that bridge yet. I think we are all eagerly awaiting for that opportunity too. I know I am as a competitor. Certainly want consistency in that area as well. I haven’t gotten a good clear explanation as to why there wasn’t a call at the end of the Richmond race on that final restart either. I’m just going to sit back and watch and just see what happens. We have a lot of voices and a lot of people’s opinions right now. My phone rings and NASCAR wants my opinion I’m more than willing to give it, but I’m not going to go marching up in there with ideas anymore.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 QUAKER STATE/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 11TH
YOU HAVE A LOT OF LAPS ON THIS RACE TRACK IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF CARS. HOW HAS THIS PLACE CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST TIME YOU CAME TO CHICAGOLAND?
“Every year it just keeps getting better. The grip level goes down which means that the drivers search around a little bit more and the track is really wide. You are seeing guys qualify in the middle of the race track right now. In the race on Sunday we are going to up by the fence all over the place. It’s a great race track it’s coming into its own. That was a good qualifying lap for us. I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go. We only did two mock runs in practice. Trying to work on race trim and try and save some tires for tomorrow. The guys did a good job making some good adjustments.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 23RD
ON HER LAP:
“It was a little tight in (turns) 3-4, but not bad. I’m proud of the GoDaddy guys. We picked up a lot from practice, which it always a good thing. Our qualifying has gotten better, especially on the 1.5 mile ovals. We want to continue to get better.”