Juan Pablo Montoya Phoenix II Friday media visit

Team Chevy Racing press release

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed the new surface on PIR, his contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Homestead weekend.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

HOW WAS PRACTICE ON THE NEW SURFACE? “It’s ok. We unloaded way off. I don’t know. We were probably one of the fastest cars here during the test. We changed the body a little bit and now we will have to work quite hard to get it closer. It is still really tight but it is ok. We finished like ninth so we have a decent car.”

HOW DIFFERENT IS THE TRACK? “Than the old track? I think racing is going to be really hard. I think passing is going to be really hard until the groove widens a little more. Hopefully by the time Sunday comes around, we’ll be pretty good.”

DO YOU THINK AN OUTSIDE GROOVE WILL DEVELOP? “No. (SMILES) I’ll tell you the truth, I think people are moving what, a groove in the middle of three and four and I think that is as high as you are going to see anybody. At some point somebody is going to have to run up there. When we go side-by-side at the start of the race, somebody is on the outside. It is going to be one of those deals, but I think it will be ok. I think it is going to be a little slicker in three and four than one and two, so, we’ll see. But it is always fun.”

WILL YOU AND JIM (POHLMAN, CREW CHIEF) BE TOGETHER NEXT YEAR? “I think that is more up to whatever Chip (Ganassi, team owner) wants to do. So far we are having a lot of fun. We are working very well together. I need a little more speed in the car I think. We have been getting better the last weeks. We’ve been really unlucky. I feel like the last three or four weeks we had cars that could get into the top-10. Then somebody wrecks, and we don’t even cause the wrecks, we are just running around where the wrecks happen. It kind of sucks, but its ok, its fun.”

DO YOU SEE ENOUGH THERE TO BUILD ON IF YOU TWO ARE BACK TOGETHER? “Right now we are really trying to enjoy ourselves and have fun. We really are trying to be…there are like three or four guys around us that are really close in points and we are trying to beat those guys, two or three of those guys are in Roush cars so it is quite a challenge but it has been fun.”

HAVE YOU SIGNED YOUR CONTRACT DEAL WITH CHIP GANASSI? “Yes. Yes. I’ll be driving this car next year. That is a given.”

WELL ITS NOT A GIVEN UNTIL YOUR SIGNATURE IS ON THE CONTRACT: “It’s ok. We’re all good.”

FOR HOW LONG? “Well…none of your business. (LAUGHS, GROUP LAUGHS) That’s ok. We’re all good.”

IS THERE AN OPTION? “Of an option for the option, yea. Option to have dinner with him, yea.” (SMILES AND LAUGHS)

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO HOMESTEAD? “Yes. We have that event on Thursday. It’s always a big thing for us for all the foundations that we deal with from Colombia. It is always a big fund raiser. We get a lot of people who support us. Jimmie (Johnson), Danica (Patrick), (Brian) Vickers goes. A lot of people go and support us from here so it is pretty cool.”

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE FAST THERE? “A good car. I think for most everybody, when you have a good car, it makes you look really good. That is a place where Roush is always really strong. We’ve been pretty good there in years past. I’m look forward to that race. It think our mile-and-a-half cars have come up a long ways so, it should be pretty exciting.”

HOMESTEAD ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE PRETTY CRAZY FOR YOU…”I know! It sucks doesn’t it? (LAUGHS) I’ll tell you, I’m hoping to get to the end of the race. If I can get to the end of the race in one piece, I’ll be really happy! (LAUGHS).”

WHY IS IT SAID THAT YOU STRUGGLE THERE? “I don’t know. It is just one of those deals where everything goes wrong. It is just racing. I don’t see it as ‘oh, the Homestead thing’. I don’t. Put it this way, if I wreck at Homestead and with everything that we are planning right now with our team right now, I think we’ll be in the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) next year. If we get to Homestead with a chance for the championship, you’ll be asking ‘oh, you are going to Homestead’.”

IS IT THE MOST HECTIC WEEK FOR YOU EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE HOME? “This actually is. Of course Homestead is always big. But we had a big Chevy event yesterday, it was really a lot of fun. This is a big Target weekend here. We have a lot of top-dogs, or whatever you want to call them here, so it is always fun.”

WHO IS SOMEONE OR SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE SHOULD FOLLOW ON TWITTER? “Me! (LAUGHS) I don’t know. I don’t follow that many people. I only follow like 20 or 30 people, I don’t know. I follow Jenna Fryer (AP reporter). She’s a lot of fun. (LAUGHS WITH JENNA AND GROUP). I don’t who I follow that it is like ‘yea, you always want to pay attention to them’. I just always scroll through to see. The cool think with Twitter is that the gossip is always so good. You can pretty much say what you want and get in a lot of trouble with it. (LAUGHS).”

DO YOU THINK A BIGGER STORY FOR NEXT YEAR WILL BE FUEL MILEAGE OR FUEL INJECTION? “Fuel injection. Fuel mileage is always the same. You are still going to try to get the most power with the least amount of fuel. I don’t think it is going to change that much. I think a big play is going to be how well you do all the mapping and everything. I think that is going to be a big thing.”

WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND? “We were really good in the test session and they decided to cut the body so now the splitter isn’t riding the same way. The bumps aren’t riding the same. There are a few things that need to be adjusted a little bit. We are getting closer but I think we still have a little bit of work to do.”

SO IT IS GOOD THAT YOU HAVE FOUR HOURS OF PRACTICE? “I don’t mind, actually. When you unload with what you had in the test thinking it will be ok, but when you unload as far off as we unloaded today, you go ‘oh, I’m glad we have plenty of time’. You can actually put the car on the scales. Sit down and talk about it and make good changes. I think when you don’t have enough time, it is ‘ok, we have to do qualifying run’ and by the time you get done, you made three changes and 80% of the changes don’t really make the car any better so it is pretty hard.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags avondale, chevrolet, ganassi, montoya