Montoya, Team Target Focus On Pitwork Homestead, Fl (March 7, 1999) - Race car drivers try to avoid visiting pit road. The less time spent in the pits, the better the chance of winning. CART FedEx Championship Series driver Juan Montoya spent...
Montoya, Team Target Focus On Pitwork
Homestead, Fl (March 7, 1999) - Race car drivers try to avoid visiting pit road. The less time spent in the pits, the better the chance of winning.
CART FedEx Championship Series driver Juan Montoya spent plenty of time in the pits on Tuesday at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, but Target Team Ganassi feels that will increase their chances of a strong finish in the March 21 season-opening Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota.
"This is my first year racing with pit stops," explained the young Colombian. "There's a lot of things to learn, but I don't think it's that bad. Every time we would do it better and better and better. I think the guys are happy, but I'm not. Every time, you've got to improve, in every single respect. It's as simple as that. Today was my first time doing real pit stops, jacking the car up, filling it with fuel. It was good!"
Montoya excused himself following the eight hour session, while his crew continued to work on the bright red Target Honda Reynard in the warm sunshine. He returned 20 minutes later, and distributed ice cream bars to the team members.
"I couldn't be happier with Juan," said car owner Chip Ganassi. "He's doing a great job and he's ahead of where I thought he would be right now. I'm very, very pleased. The pressure doesn't seem to be affecting him at all."
Montoya faces the challenge of replacing Alex Zanardi, who moved to Formula One competition after winning the PPG Cup the past two seasons. Teammate Jimmy Vasser won the 1996 title, giving Target Ganassi three straight Champ Car championships
"Everyone from outside our team says there's a lot of pressure," Montoya explained. "But inside the team you won't even see the pressure. "I don't think we can expect to go out and win the first race, because it's tough. But I'm not expecting to be last, either!" he added with a smile.
Ganassi and Vasser were in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, participating, along with CART Chairman and CEO Andrew Craig, in a meeting of the National Traffic Safety Council.
"We spoke on how important safety is in our sport, and how it pertains to street cars," said Vasser. "Every facet of transportation in the United States was represented there."
Vasser will join Montoya and many other CART teams as testing for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota continued.
The March 19-21 weekend will also include the Florida Dodge Dealers 400, the opening event on the 1999 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, in a Saturday race. Tickets are still available for all three days of activity. For additional information, call (305) 230-7223.