Juan Pablo Montoya, Driver, No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger Weekly Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript Nov. 4,2008 Q: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE NEW GENERATION CAR THAT CGRFS INTRODUCED THE LAST FEW RACES AND THE ON-TRACK ...
Juan Pablo Montoya, Driver, No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger
Weekly Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript
Q: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE NEW GENERATION CAR THAT CGRFS INTRODUCED THE LAST FEW RACES AND THE ON-TRACK PERFORMANCE?
A: We made a lot of changes in the geometry of the car, geometry of the suspension and the weight of the car. The engine has improved. I think the entire package has improved. My relationship with Brian (Pattie, crew chief #42) has grown a lot. I think all of that has helped us be as competitive as we are right now.
Q: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BRIAN PATTIE AS THE CREW CHIEF OF THE 42 CAR?
A: I think Brian (Pattie) has been a great asset, not only to the 42 team, but the entire Ganassi organization. He's been around a long time, but I think his move to Cup has been huge. I think that he brings a lot to the table -- not only with the knowledge that he has, but the impact of how hard he is working at it. It's been very impressive and it's been a pleasure working with him.
Q: IS EVERTYHING OK BETWEEN YOU AND DAVID GILLILAND HEADING INTO PHOENIX?
A: To tell you the truth, it was frustrating what he did especially when you ran in the top 10 all day and he's like four laps down. It was his decision and his responsibility. Am I OK with that? Am I happy with that? No. It's what he did and we can't change that. My mind now is on Phoenix and to make sure that we run well and hopefully we can finish (the race). The last few weeks, we've been running top-10 every week and something happens. We need to start getting some finishes because we've been running better than we have all year and the only thing that we've done is lose points and places in the standings.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY THEORIES ON WHY OTHER OPEN-WHEEL DRIVERS HAVE STRUGGLED THIS SEASON?
A: No. I think one of the advantages that I had was that I haven't driven ovals the last few years. If you've driven ovals for so much time and you're use to certain feelings, when you come under something a little bit different (driving a Sprint Cup car), it's going to be hard. I think that's one of the things you have to look at.
Q: DO YOU SEE THE STRUGGLES OPEN-WHEEL DRIVERS HAD THIS YEAR IMPACTING THOSE WHO WANT TO SWITCH OVER IN THE FUTURE?
A: Yes. Starting with the way the economy is, it's not like you're going to see 50 cars show up for qualifying every week. That's going to take a lot out of the equation. The second part is that (Cup racing) it's not easy. What happened to Dario (Franchitti) and (Jacques) Villeneuve is going to make people wonder. You have to remember, Sam's (Hornish Jr.) is only in his first year. I don't know why people are thinking that he's going back to IndyCar. I'd be surprised if he did.
Q: IS THERE A WAY FOR YOUR TEAM TO DIG DEEPER?
A: I think that's what we've been doing the last few weeks and I think that's why we are getting the results that we are getting. You look at the cars that we were running with last week and it was incredible. I know the 48 had a bad day, but lapping the 48....that felt pretty good.
Q: DO YOU GET BUTTERFLIES BEFORE A RACE AND DO YOU THINK THAT'S GOOD?
A: I think everyone gets some butterflies and wonders what's going to happen. I really don't pay attention to them. You just go out there and do what you have to do. It's what we do every week. We're not trying to achieve something here that we've never done.
Q: WITH YOUR NEW GENERATION CAR, WHAT ARE YOU ABLE TO DO TO GET TO THE FRONT THAT YOU HADN'T BEEN ABLE TO DO PREVIOUSLY?
A: I just don't think the car was as good. This car is a lot more stable getting into the corner which allows you to be more comfortable driving it a little bit harder and still make the corner. It comes through the corner a lot better....the drive off the corner is really good. I like running the top (of the race track). It really helps me run the top to get a good run off the corner. In general, the whole package has been getting better. Our horsepower has been increasing a lot the last few weeks and that makes life a lot easier.
Q: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DAVID RAGAN'S GROWTH?
A: I think his progression has been very good. I think on the other side of the coin, he's always had a lot of pressure because his teammates are winning every week. He was very close in making the Chase and he did a very good job with that. It's not easy. You've got the 16, 17, and 99 that are cars identical to what he drives. I think for this being his second year, he's been very good. I'm sure inside the team, they want more out of him.
Q: WHO WOULD BE YOUR DRIVER OF THE YEAR?
A: I would say over the year, Kyle (Busch) has done the best job. Through the Chase, you have to give it (DOTY) to the 48. The 99 has been there every week, but the 99 was pretty good at the beginning of the year. If you looked at how much the 48 improved, I think that goes into consideration as well. It's hard because all of them have been very good. At the end of the day, it's who brings the trophy home.
Q: WHO ARE SOME OF THE YOUNGER DRIVERS THAT INTRIGUE YOU?
A: I don't know. The people are talking about (Joey) Logano. I don't know who else is going to be a rookie next year. I think the Logano thing is going to be interesting. What Bryan Clauson has done in the Nationwide Series and testing with us in the Cup series...we're working really hard trying to get him a win in the Nationwide...and if we do, I think that he'll do a really good job.
Q: WHERE IS JUAN PABLO MONTOYA MENTALLY AT THIS PART OF THE SEASON?
A: I think mentally that I'm really happy. It's like I tell the guys, yes it's frustrating that we're not able to get the results that we deserve, but we're there (closer). I'm driving the car better than ever. I can push the car further than I ever have before and I think that goes a long way. Knowing what I can do with a car now that I couldn't do before. I'm comfortable in the car now. It goes a long ways. It's exciting. Like I told my crew before the Atlanta race, we're going to run in the front here or we're going to wreck because I'm going to go 110 percent today. I did and felt really comfortable and we did the same last weekend and all that shows where everything is heading (at CGRFS). It's been a difficult year for the results, but I think you see from the middle of the season where we were running to where we are running now, it's incredible. If we would have run in the middle of the season like we are now, we probably could have made the Chase.
Q: HOW INVOLVED DO YOU GET IN THE BUSINESS SIDE OF CGRFS AND DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MERGER TALKS BETWEEN DEI AND CGRFS?
A: No I don't. I haven't really talked to Chip (Ganassi) the last few days. I haven't even asked him (about merger talks). I haven't even asked him who's driving the other (#41) car. Right now our focus is to try and run better. At the end of the day, it's important to make sure that you have a good teammate. Whoever Chip decides to driver the 41 is going to be the best guy available. As long as I do my part, I'm pretty happy. We need to make sure that the whole company runs a little better. Merger, no merger... I don't know....I just drive the car.
-credit: dodge motorsports