Juan Pablo Montoya - Indianapolis Friday Media Visit

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO.42 TARGET CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed the crew chief change on the team, racing at Indy and his expectations of this year’s race, racing in Pocono and at Watkins Glen in the upcoming weeks and much more.

TALK ABOUT RACING IN INDY. “Indy has always been good to me; I don’t know why in every car I’ve been in. It’s always fun. I come here always for the Moto GP race as well to watch. I don’t know, it’s exciting to be here. I think the Sprint Showdown is a hell of an idea. At first it’s fun because there’s really good race tracks in between here and Atlanta that we can win and Atlanta is a good race track for us. It would be a good way to start with (Jim) Pohlman as the crew chief on the car, it’s exciting. Everybody is pumped up. We’re a little nervous to see what’s going to happen. Everybody says this is a good place to make a change, I think it’s as good as any.”

TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP YOU’VE ESTABLISHED SO FAR WITH YOUR NEW CREW CHIEF. “I know Pohlman from before when he worked on Stremme’s car and stuff. It’s good. He’s very open-minded; he really wants to get the job done. But its fun, you have somebody so pumped to get the job done and it’s what it takes.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

WILL THERE BE A LOT OF CHANGES COMPARED TO THE PAST? “I don’t think so. We were so good here; our car is so good here we’re probably going to run the same thing we’ve been running.”

A COUPLE OF TIMES YOU CAME SO CLOSE TO WINNING THIS THING, I CAN STILL REMEMBER YOU RUNNING BACK TO THE HAULERS LAST YEAR WHEN YOU GOT KNOCKED OUT. “Last year, yeah, missed the traffic. Always got to run to miss the traffic. If you’re not going to finish you better get out before the traffic.”

YOU KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE TO WIN BECAUSE YOU WON THE INDIANAPOLIS 500, JUST TALK ABOUT THE AGONY OF DEFEAT. “This place gave me the 500 pretty easy; it was pretty easy to win for us. We really dominated that day. We’ve been so good here. To tell you the truth, yes it’s been disappointing that we haven’t won but I rather be disappointed that we haven’t won because we made mistakes on wrong calls or things than run 15th every time we come. You’ve got to be positive that you’ve come to a place where we are strong and perform and have fun.”

WHY ARE YOU GUYS STRONG HERE? “I have no idea. If we knew, we would be good everywhere.”

DID YOU HAVE ANY INPUT IN THE CREW CHIEF CHANGE? “Chip wanted to make some changes. He wanted to go in a different direction and he asked me are you okay that I want to go in a different direction, I said look I race for you and I support you 100 percent.”

YOU TOUCHED A BIT ON IT, ABOUT THE IFFYNESS OF DOING IT RIGHT BEFORE A TRACK YOU RUN SO WELL ON. “So what do you have to go to a track that run like bad to make it okay. What’s the right place to do it or wrong placed to do it? If you’re going to make a change this is the time of the year to make a change because you’ve got enough time if everything changes smooth you can still perform and still get a couple of wins and get into the Chase or run good and get into the Chase. We made silly mistakes the last few races, we ran out of gas and stuff and we lost a lot of points. But it is what it is. We’re giving ourselves enough time until the end of the season to prepare for next year and everything.”

YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN WIN HERE THIS WEEK EVEN WITH THE CREW CHIEF CHANGE. “Yeah, absolutely. We’ve still got the same group of engineers around that they know what I like about the car, they support Brian. I think they can do a very good job of supporting Jim.”

IS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT THAT YOU HAVE TO GET USED TO IN TERMS OF TERMINOLOGY OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT? “No, I’ve learned enough after being here for five years, you learn. It’s funny because when I talk to friends from Europe and stuff and I say the terms they look at me like what the heck are you talking about.”

HOW MUCH HAS THE FACT THAT YOU DROVE IN THE INDIANAPOLIS 500, PRACTICED HERE FOR A WHOLE MONTH HELPED YOU COMING INTO NASCAR AND DO WELL? “When I came here to run the Indy 500, it took me three or four laps to run wide open around this place. In the Indy car it was just wide open. Take the downforce off as much as you could hang on to and that was it. Here you’ve got to brake, there’s a lot more technical on this car I think.”

YOU SAID YOU GUYS WERE BRINGING THE SAME CAR? “I didn’t mean the car, the set up. The set up is pretty close. You know we tested here. We did a tire test so we got good information and a good basis.”

WHY IS THAT DRIVERS ALWAYS TALK ABOUT CHANGES FROM THE FALL RACE TO THE SPRING RACE? “Temperature, it’s just the temperature really affects the car. It affects how the tire works, the balance of the car. Sometimes when you have a good balance in cold conditions once it warms up it goes terrible. Same thing when you’ve got a night race and people are really strong at the beginning of the night and most of the people that are strong at the beginning of the night will struggle at the end of the night.”

SO HERE THE SETUP YOU USED FOR TESTING WILL BE DIFFERENT THAN THIS WEEKEND? “Yeah, we tested here we did a couple of small changes. First practice is going to be qualifying trim because you’ve got to get a good spot for qualifying and see what happens.”

HOW DO YOU LOOK BACK AT THE LAST FEW RACES HERE? “We gave ourselves chances and I think I said that before its more important to give yourself a chance to win than run 10th every time or 15th every time here. So I don’t mind. Like I say, we haven’t taken the trophy home but we’ve been good.”

WILL YOU HAVE A CHANCE ON SUNDAY? “I would hope so. Yeah, I believe so.”

HOW ABOUT AT THE GLEN, COULD YOU WIN HERE AND AT THE GLEN AND BE RIGHT BACK IN THE CHASE? “These are race tracks where we run really strong especially here for some reason we are really good. The other one, the Glen is a road course that really fits my driving style and every year we are there, I mean we give ourselves chances every year. The problem with the Glen is with those restarts the way turn one is, yeah you can win it or they can take you out on the last restart and you finish 20th.”

WHAT ABOUT POCONO, THEY ADDED SOME EXTRA ELEMENTS TO THE RACE. “It was good for us. We were running like third and lost third gear and finished seventh with only fourth gear. It’s okay. I don’t mind. I don’t care where we go to be honest with you whether it’s called the Glen, Pocono or Bristol or Martinsville, it’s a race track. If we can make the car drive good we’ll be good.”

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TURN AT POCONO? “Last corner.”

WHY? “I don’t know. It’s just fun the way you come into the straight, you can get into the back of people and really get a good run and get inside of them. It’s an exciting corner.”

CHIP’S BEEN SO GOOD AT INDY IN NASCAR HERE ESPECIALLY, WHAT MAKES HIM SUCH A GOOD OWNER? “He’s a good guy to work for. Like everybody else it’s got he’s good days, and really bad days. You’ve got to make sure when you talk to him you’ve got him on a good day.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE? “What happened in New Hampshire? Oh Jimmie Johnson?”

YEAH, SO HE SAID HE STILL WANTS AN APOLOGY ARE YOU PLANNING ON DOING THAT? “I actually apologized to the crew chief at the end of the race. I actually said I thought I gave enough room. And I said if I didn’t sorry. I did apologize to the crew chief. If I see Jimmie I’ll say something.”

HOW WILL YOU APOLOGIZE? “If you really look at it he had plenty of race track at the bottom, so do I apologize no. I think the other time that I hit him he actually run into the wall and I decided not to hit the wall and hit him. It all depends on how you see it. His point of view and my point of view are very different.”

IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO APOLOGIZE THEN WHY WOULD YOU? “Why, because you don’t want to have problems with people here that you don’t need to. It’s to avoid future confrontations. It’s being smart.”

DO YOU PREPARE HARDER FOR THIS RACE? “If you prepare harder here then you are not doing a good enough job all year. I know for you guys and the local media and everything, this race is very important. For me and our team it’s another race at the end of the day. Yeah, maybe it’s nicer to win here than other places but if you do something different here than you’ve been doing then you’ve not been doing your job.”

ANY UPDATES ON THE CONTRACT? “We’re good.”

WHEN WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE THE CONTRACT DONE? “I think we’re pretty close. Just bits and pieces to close but it’s all good.”

YOU SAID THE CREW CHIEF THING WAS NOT A BIG DEAL; DID YOU HAVE A LOT OF SAY IN IT? “No, I got back to the states Tuesday 10:00. I was in Columbia. I didn’t have much to do with it. Do you want to make a big scene out of it you can but if you don’t you don’t. I don’t. I want to get on with the job and come here and do what we’re meant to be doing. Whether the guys name is Brian, Billy, Jim, Chip whatever you want to call him. It’s Chip’s team and it’s his decision who he wants me to run with and work with, that’s the guy.”

DOES IT FALL IN LINE WITH YOUR RACING OUTLOOK, I JUST WANT TO GO OUT AND RACE? “You want to have a good relationship. I had a very good relationship with Brian, we had a lot of success together and we had a lot of failures together. Chip wanted to go in a different direction and that was it.”

DID YOU RELATIONSHIP WITH BRIAN START TO DETERIORATE HERE LAST YEAR? “No. Last year was a difficult season. This season we had a good relationship. We got along really well.”

IS THERE STILL A ROLE FOR HIM WHERE HE COULD HELP THE NO. 42 FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? “I have no idea. You’ve got to ask that of Chip.”

IF HE’S AT THE SHOP IS THERE SOMETHING HE COULD BE DOING THAT IS HELPFUL TO YOU? “You’ve got to ask Chip. I think that would be an overall thing for Chip to decide if he wants him to still be involved in the development of the car. If he’s still going to be around next year doing something else within the team, I don’t know. I have no idea.”

YOU’RE DRIVING HIS CARS THE NEXT THREE WEEKS. “And the week after, it’s not his cars. The No. 1 car is the same car. I think that’s where you guys don’t get it. They don’t build his cars and their cars, it’s just cars.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags brickyard 400, chevrolet, ganassi, indianapolis, montoya, nascar, nscs, sprint cup