Bristol: Juan Pablo Montoya race report

Texaco/Havoline Team Earns First Top-15 of the Season at Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 16, 2008)-Juan Pablo Montoya drove the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge to a 15th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway and earned the team's first top-15 finish...

Texaco/Havoline Team Earns First Top-15 of the Season at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 16, 2008)-Juan Pablo Montoya drove the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge to a 15th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway and earned the team's first top-15 finish of the season. It also marked Montoya best finish in three starts at the .533-mile short track. His effort at Bristol moved Montoya and the team up four spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings to 19th after the first five races of the 2008 season.

Rain washed out qualifying on Friday, so NASCAR lined up the cars by 2007 Owner's Points. The Texaco/Havoline Dodge took the green flag from the 21st position on Sunday and by lap 40 was running in the 13th position. The first caution flag of the day waved on lap 50 and Montoya told Crew Chief Donnie Wingo the car was loose in the corner and really tight in the middle of the corner. The crew made an air pressure adjustment and fitted the car with fresh tires. When racing resumed on lap 58, Montoya was running in 11th thanks to a quick stop by the Texaco/Havoline crew.

Wingo and the team continued to adjust on the car throughout the race, focusing on the tight condition that was plaguing Montoya. Wingo tried everything from adjusting the trackbar to adding a spring rubber. Despite running lap times equal to that of the leaders, Montoya was marred in heavy traffic most of the race.

Montoya eventually fell a lap down to the leader, but earned the free pass back onto the lead lap when the sixth caution flag of the day waved on lap 279 running in the 16th position. Wingo made another turn on the trackbar and took some air out of the tires on the team's pit stop. The changes the Texaco/Havoline crew made helped the car at the start of a run, but it became increasingly tight as the laps went on.

With just 100 laps remaining in the race, Montoya was still running in the 16th position. He fell a lap down to the leader again and was unable to get his lap back. He finished the 506-lap race in the 15th position, one lap down to the leader. Montoya's previous best finish at Bristol was 17th which he earned last fall.

Another solid finish by Montoya and the team leave them sitting in the 19th position in the point standings heading into the off weekend. Montoya sits just 86 points out of 12th, the cutoff for the Chase to the Sprint Cup. The team will have the Easter weekend to relax before heading to the paperclip of Martinsville Speedway on March 30.

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya