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September 20, 2009

Denny Hamlin

Juan Pablo Montoya


THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the infield media center by driver of the No. 42, the Target Chevrolet, Juan Pablo Montoya. Juan Pablo, tell us about your run today.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It was up and down, all kind of things. Overall it was good. We started really good, really strong. Like the first 30 laps or 40 laps of the run, we were the fastest car, then it seemed to go away; we just got really tight. Tried to work on it, couldn't really do too much.
At the end we took four tires pretty late. I thought, ooh, not the right call, pit 11, pit 12, and then we restarted at pit 9 or 10 or something like that. I passed a ton of cars every restart, like three or four cars every restart, and I got to Mark.
I thought I had him. I was running beside him, I was like, I think I'm losing power but I think I can get enough just to the line. He cleared me coming out of 4, and then when he went to 1 and 2 he just stopped on the bottom.
It's okay. I didn't expect that. I was expecting him to run pretty hard. He just ran very defensively, and I just got caught by surprise. I think if I would have would have been prepared I probably would have jumped to the outside. It's one of those days.

Q. Q. Can we please also have that in Spanish?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: (Answers in Spanish.)
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. You've mentioned that you have a lot of respect for Mark. If it had been anybody else, would you have been a little bit more aggressive and maybe put a fender on him to try to knock him away?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: He always runs very clean, so I was kind of surprised when he did that. I know it's the Chase and everything, but you just learn from it. I would have done the same thing. I think you've got to do it to somebody that you trust is not going to knock you out, because I think if I would have done -- if the second place guy wasn't me, I think somebody else would have been a little bit more aggressive. But you learn from it. It's one of those deals that you've got to do what it takes, and he did.

Q. To follow up on the same thing, out there on TV you said, "Mark kind of screwed me there." So you basically --
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: That's the smart thing to do. You've got to learn from it. I haven't fought for enough wins. Did I get screwed, yeah, because I got 11 beside me the last three laps, and he drove away.
I think when that happens, you've just got to go -- you don't want to spin the guy out, but if you slow down like that you maybe want to move the guy a little bit and get the bumper inside. You've just got to learn from it.

Q. So you think it's pretty much a calculated move on his part?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Oh, yeah. How many races has he been around here? It's good, I'll learn from it. He's probably the guy that I respect the most here.

Q. So does this constitute a signal that maybe for the Chase and smelling the championship that maybe the all-time Mr. Nice Guy is no more Mr. Nice Guy for Mark?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: He is. He gives me a lot of space always. With two laps to go, I would have done the same thing. It's frustrating when they do it to you, but when you do it to somebody else, it feels good. So I got screwed this time. (Laughing.)
Q. Obviously having a good car helps, but listening to you guys on the radio, you're kind of joking with each other during cautions. Are you guys really feeling any pressure right now, or is this just kind of gravy?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Not really. I mean, what's the pressure? We made the Chase. From now on, anything about that, it's a balance. Come here, first Chase race, put on the pole, finish second. Can I ask for anything else? Not really. A win would be nice, but that will come.

Q. Sort of along those same lines, as good a car as you had all weekend long, is there any disappointment at how you guys finished today?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: If you go back to like 30 laps ago and you look and see us running 12th and being able to pick up 11 places or 10 places in, I don't know, 20 laps, I wouldn't be pissed off. I'm more than happy. I thought, man, I'm running 12th and I see Kurt and Denny and the 48, the 5 ahead of me, the 24. I'm like, this sucks.
And all of a sudden it's like boom, boom, boom. I had two good restarts. That's all it takes. We were very good on the restarts. We're all out here. There's no prisoners. We're not taking any prisoners.

Q. Just two things: Did you find it kind of ironic there at the end that you were the guy that was there pressing Mark Martin and he was the guy who said of you that you were the most dangerous one in this Chase, and how much --
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I want to tell you guys, he keeps saying that, but I think he's the most dangerous guy. He's the guy with the most experience here. He hasn't won a championship, and he wants one pretty bad. I mean, I know the 48 is going to be there every week and everything, same thing as always, but if somebody wants it really bad, it's that 5 guy. We've got to show up and we've got to give it everything we've got. We ain't leaving anything on the table; I'll tell you that.

Q. On Pit Road you talked about the trust you will have now in Brian, I guess. Can you expand on how important it is to have that, especially now in the Chase, between a driver and a crew chief?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It's always important. I trust him 100 percent, it's just sometimes he makes some calls, I am wondering, it's like, this guy is saying, the other guy is saying, and I'm like, man, why are we pitting? They come out -- because it's not a lot, so they come out and they drive by you, you pull away; by the time you come out you're going to be that much further behind. We were lucky we had that yellow.
THE MODERATOR: Juan Pablo, congratulations. Thank you for your time.
We're now joined in the infield media center by driver of the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, Denny Hamlin. Tell us about your run today.
DENNY HAMLIN: It was a solid run. You know, we didn't really have a race-winning car until probably 50 to go after we came out there on the green flag pit stop and we were catching the 5 and the 2 really, really fast, a half second a lap, and I was like, man, if this thing goes green we've got a shot at it. The caution came out, and I knew that wasn't going to be good for us because it put us in the bottom lane. I got killed every single restart on the bottom lane, and I'd get stuck three wide in the first corner and then I'd have to battle my way back.
To come out second when I should have been about fifth with those restarts, I was pretty proud of that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions from the media.

Q. Denny, in that last scramble there, Juan Pablo was saying at one point Mark sort of stopped in the middle of the bottom of the corner down in 1 and he had no place else to go, and he said it was a calculated move. He would have done the same thing, but finally there's a move that Mark Martin made that somebody questioned. Did you see that, and also, did it help you? Was that a factor in your getting second place away from Juan Pablo?
DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, it was. The 42 was kind of bottled up on the bottom of the 5. I knew it was going to be interesting because I think his spotter came over and told my spotter that he wasn't lifting until the 5 did get into Turn 1. So I knew it was going to be extremely exciting getting into the first corner.
But the 5, I mean, when you're on the outside, you're just -- the guy on the inside had mercy on you. And I was the same way; I was stuck in third on every single restart and the 48 was on the outside and I kept running into him because I was trying to gain positions but the error is so bad down there that you can't go anywhere.
The 42 was in a bad spot. Even though his car may have been quicker, it didn't matter because the 5 had position on him and the 5 used it to his advantage. He just kind of held the 42 low, and when he did that, there's just no gripping your race car.

Q. If that had been you down there and the 5 stopped in front of you, would you have gone ahead popped him and moved him or would you have checked up?
DENNY HAMLIN: I don't know. I would have probably gone for the win. But I don't know. I mean, you always think about who it is. You think about whether that guy has knocked you out of the way at the end of a race or not, and Mark never has. I don't know, it's tough to say what I'd do in that situation.
THE MODERATOR: Just a quick update, the scoring has now come in. The finishing order was 5, 11, 42, 48, 18, 2 and 39.

Q. Denny, did you think -- the racing seemed kind of dicey out there a lot. Chase guys were going three wide really early in the race. Do you think that that's the way you guys have got to race now, or was that a little unnecessary, considering how far there is to go in this title hunt?
DENNY HAMLIN: I think everyone is just -- I think everyone panics. When you see at the beginning of the race the top 10 and they're all Chase guys, you're like, man, I've got to fight for every position I can, and track position means so much that I think every hole that you see on the racetrack you immediately go for because it doesn't matter if your car is two tenths faster than the car in front of you. If he runs your line, you're not going to get around him.
So I think everyone is just jumping to every opportunity that they can, and that's why you see the three wide is everyone is just trying to make up all the spots they can, and a lot of it has to do with the excitement of the start of the Chase.
Five races in, not sure if you'll see that.

Q. When the 44 spun out there, taking the white flag, and was all the way back around when you were coming through 4 when they threw the caution, was it kind of surprising to come around and see everybody -- was it surprising to you or did it kind of catch you off guard?
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, he said that there was a car spun off 4, and he said he was going; he was taking off. But I was more than listening to the spotter, I was mainly looking at the light to see if the yellow was out, and it still wasn't out. And then by the time it did come out, I was already in smoke, so I couldn't see it.
So I thought I was racing to the checkered, and the 5, I come to the smoke and the 5 is nearly stopped in the middle of the racetrack. He obviously knew the caution was out before I did.
I think NASCAR just thought that car was going to get going quicker than what it really did, and at least they let us race it out to the finish as long as we could without endangering someone.
THE MODERATOR: Denny, congratulations. Thank you for your time.

End of FastScripts

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