Montoya - Watkins Glen Friday media visit

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Team Chevy

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at The Glen and discussed winning at The Glen last year; his season to-date; the legal issue this week with former Earnhardt Ganassi Racing employees, outlook for the weekend and other topics.

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK COMING TO THE GLEN AND YOUR SEASON SO FAR INCLUDING NOW BEING RIGHT OUTSIDE THE TOP-20: “I think the last three weeks have been rough weeks for us. We had cars to have pretty good finishes. Last week we were not very good, but apart from that overall we had cars that would run in the top-five and top-10 and we end up with 30-something place finishes. We went from 13th in points three weeks ago to being 21st, so that kind of sucks. I think everybody on the Target team has been working really hard to make ourselves better. I think this could be a great weekend to turn things around. I know everyone on our team is working really hard on making things better. Last week we had a couple of really good meetings in the shop with everybody. There are good ideas of group planning coming for the next few weeks. It should be fun.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO TARGET HOUSE AND HOW REWARDING IT IS TO SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING THERE? “I have been to Target House a lot of times. I went there when they opened it the first time and when I came back working with Target, we go there every year to visit the kids. The experience changes. The first time you went there, it is shocking. It is a great that you can give kids a smile, but when you become a parent and you go there, it is a different story. I think it is really cool the way the kids are. Right now, they just have fun and when you are there and you can help, it is fun. The first day we went there an signed some autographs and then had a silly string fight with the kids and all the parents. You have a great time. The next day we went, they do an affair at the hospital. They have the kids sing karaoke, taking pictures and things. We had some video games. There were some Xbox, a couple of games there and we were playing with the kids. It was fun. It was a hell of an experience.”

HAVE YOU HAD ANY CONVERSATIONS WITH CHIP GANASSI ABOUT ANY REASONS THERE MIGHT BE FOR THINGS GOING THE WAY THEY HAVE GONE FOR YOUR TEAM THIS SEASON? “I think the No. 1 car (Jamie McMurray) has been having a really rough season and they have been trying to change things around and it hasn’t really come to them. They have had a couple of decent results but overall it has been a really hard season for them. For us, we have been up and down. We can get a top-five here and there and fight for a win there and then run 30th. It is something we need to understand why it is and lately it has been getting harder and harder. I think our cars need to get better. We looked at some numbers and stuff and there is some work to be done. It is going to be interesting.”

DO YOU THINK ROAD COURSE RACING HAS BECOME MORE PHYSICAL AND THERE IS MORE PEOPLE GETTING KNOCKED AROUND? “They have always been the same. I think its fun. I love this place. I’ve never been a big fan of Infineon. I think it is a great race track, I actually had my first, when I just got into cars back in 1992, I did a Skip Barber school there and thought the place was great. But, in these big cars, I think this place is a lot more fun. I think the driver can do a little more here. As Tony (Stewart) said the other day when they did the swap here (with Lewis Hamilton), it is a shame we don’t use the Boot here. But it is what it is.”

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE GLEN AND INFINEON AND WHY DO YOU LIKE THE GLEN? “It flows a little more. The corners are a little faster. 80% of Sonoma you are in first or second gear and it is short gears. This place, the esses up here are fast. When you get into the Bus Stop, you are doing, not sure how fast, but probably 180 miles-an-hour when we brake into the Bus Stop, you know what I mean. You are hauling ass in this place and its fun. I think the driver can do more and there is a lot more sliding and things. You can run side-by-side easier here than there. Just personal preference.”

WHEN WERE YOU TOLD ABOUT THE CREW MEMBER ARRESTS THIS WEEK AND IS THAT A CONCERN FOR YOU? “Not really. It is something that the team had to deal with it and NASCAR had to deal with it. We left it at that. Personally, we made some changes in our crew. And that’s it. We get on with our business to try to win here and that’s it.”

WHAT KIND OF A DRIVER MENTALLY DOES IT TAKE TO WIN AT THE GLEN? “For me, the big thing is always…running by yourself isn’t a problem, if you have a decent car, I think we have good enough pace to have a chance. Track position is very important and the luck of the draw on the restarts. Restarts…you could be leading all day and you get a green-white-checkered and you get dumped and you finish 30th. (LAUGHS) That is the way racing goes. It is something that you don’t see on the ovals on the restarts because it kind of flows a little more. Here, when you have to brake a lot harder and people aren’t used to it. When you have to down-shift and stuff. A place like Infineon it kind of keeps flowing all the way to the top of the hill, even like that you get wrecked. Here, you accelerate hard then you have to get hard on the brakes actually downhill where people are going to wheel-hop and all kinds of things.”

IS THERE MORE LACK OF RESPECT AND AGGRESSIVENESS BEING SHOWN ON ROAD COURSES THIS YEAR? IS THAT A BY-PRODUCT OF THE PRESSURE YOU GUYS ARE UNDER? “No, I think it is by-product of you don’t see as many wrecks on the oval so they stand out more. I think the old Bristol used to get more wrecks than anywhere else or Martinsville and a few other places. I think the wrecks on the ovals has come down and I think the road course stay the same. So people are like “oh wow” but it is the same thing.”

WHEN SOMEBODY GETS INTO YOU, DO YOU THINK WELL THIS IS A PRODUCT OF JUST GETTING BUNCHED UP OR HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT? “It is funny actually because my stuff here with (Kevin) Harvick a few years ago, I actually got out of the car to apologize and tell him I was being pushed from behind when we were going into turn one. (LAUGHS) So……”

WHO IS THE BEST AT DIVING INTO TURN ONE ON THE RESTARTS HERE AND WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE AND HOW DO YOU WANT TO WORK THAT? “It is a bit of the same if you get a good restart you will be looking pretty good. I think a guy like (Marcos) Ambrose or Tony (Stewart) or myself, we more look to come out of that corner clean. I think if we come out of the corner clean, we will be ok. We are not so focused on dive-bombing. I think if you are fifth and you have a good car and you put tires on it and you are coming, you have to make a move. The other side of the coin is, you just have to be smart and go through the corner without incident.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, montoya, nascar, sprint, watkins glen