Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, met with members of the media at Iowa Speedway and discussed his thoughts on Iowa Speedway so far, winning last weekend at Pocono, his current position of fourth in the point standings and many...
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THIS TRACK SO FAR? “We tested here and it’s weird because it’s very different this morning. I don’t know if it is because of the NASCAR rubber, but it was a handful this morning. Like when we tested it was nice, predictable, fun to drive and this morning it was like ‘oh really’ how many more? We don’t want to be that unstable. It looks like we will be okay for practice. We will see whatever it brings.”
YOUR ONLY EXPERIENCE HERE WAS VERY DIFFERENT IT WAS EIGHT YEARS AGO IT WAS AN ARCA RACE. YOU WERE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT STOCK CARS. CAN YOU TAKE ANYTHING FROM THAT EXPERIENCE? “The track when I came here the track was brand-new there were no bumps. It was really smooth. There is a big bump in the tunnel. [Turns] Three and four is still pretty smooth, but now you run pretty close to wide open. Some people actually do run wide open all the way around.”
IS THIS THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE DONE A COMBO RACE LIKE THIS WHERE THE RUBBER IS SO DIFFERENT? “No the only difference is the first time I’m going to race a short oval with high wings. Back in the day we used to run the little wings, superspeedway wings on the road courses.”
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? “We have the bigger wings we will have twice as much downforce in the car.”
HOW MUCH IS HAVING A VICTORY NOW PUT A LITTLE MORE SPRING IN YOUR STEP? “People are happy because a lot of people are still around from back in the day so they are happy for me. That is pretty cool. I still try not to get overly excited about it. It’s fun. I had a great time, the guys loved it. It was really good for Verizon and PPG and Hook Performance, everybody that supports us, Chevy as well. I mean we still have to come here and get the job done. I think it does build a lot of momentum. It gives a lot of confidence that you can get it done.”
300 LAPS TOMORROW IT GETS TO BE A TRAFFIC JAM AT TIMES WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT IS GOING TO BE LIKE? “Learning, it’s going to be harder because it’s all about learning again. I’ve got to figure out, okay I know with the superspeedway wings how close you can run to cars and how you’ve got to run. This is a little bit of a mix of like oval and road course with the road course wings. I’ve got to figure out how close you can run. Are you comfortable running the second groove and you’ve got to experiment, but you’ve got to experiment carefully because if you get it wrong you are out. Right now we just really need to be smart about how we do things.”
IS IT BETTER TO BE AGGRESSIVE OR A LITTLE MORE PATIENT ON THE SHORT TRACK? “I mean if you are leading there is not a lot of rush because you are going to get to traffic in 150 laps, but if you extend that a little bit it’s not a bad deal. It doesn’t matter how easy you are going to take it you are still going to get to traffic. I think managing traffic is going to be really important. If you are not leading keeping up with the leaders is going to be key.”
SEVEN RACES TO GO YOU ARE UP TO FOURTH IN POINTS TWO RACES NEXT WEEKEND AND THEN A DOUBLE POINTS ONE AT THE END OF THE YEAR. YOU ARE RIGHT THERE HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THE REST OF THE SEASON? “I think we have been doing a good job we have been smart about how we run races. We just have to keep doing what we are doing. I told the guys this week it’s great that we won, but one thing is getting there the other thing is staying there and to stay there we are going to have to really step it up.”
WITH WILL IN FIRST, HELIO IN SECOND AND YOU IN FOURTH IN THE STANDINGS WHAT IS THE FEELING AROUND THIS TEAM RIGHT NOW? YOU HAVE TO REALLY FEEL LIKE THINGS ARE ROLLING.
“We have but we have been in this position before. The last few years they haven’t won so we just have to make sure and we talked about it as a team. We’ve got to be smart about how we race against each other and then we can seal the deal.”