Juan Pablo Montoya - Infineon Friday Media Visit

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By Team Chevy

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 COTTONELLE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Infineon Raceway and discussed racing at Infineon, racing at Daytona next week, status of with talks with Ganassi and more.

SO IS THIS A MUST WIN THIS WEEKEND? “It’s a must win when it’s good weekend. I mean after last weekend. We had a great Pocono and I thought we were getting back on track and last week was hard. It was a shock for us. I thought we had a decent race base in practice and just decided to change the car a lot. We had 10th to 15th-place car in practice and we thought we could go better with our normal stuff and we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot there. I think this week, the Cottonelle car looks pretty good. We’ll just have to wait and see. This is a place I think we are in a really good position to either get a win or run up front at least and get a lot of points. I think we can still make the Chase by being in the top 10. We have a car that is capable of doing that. I think if we make good calls in the next few weeks we should be pretty good. If we get a win here, yeah I think it would be great. But two really clear chances of victory here or Watkins, it’s exciting.”

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

ONCE YOU BUY THE THEORY THAT SOMEBODY CAN SWEEP THE ROAD COURSE RACES AND GET INTO THE CHASE, IS THAT POSSIBLE OR HOW FAR FETCHED IS THAT? “To tell you the truth I think if you are in the top 15 or 16 in points and you get a win you are going to be in the Chase.”

ONLY ONE? “Yeah, I think one will do it. I think the guys that got more wins are outside looking in, they are going to keep running better and push some people out of the points. It’s going to be interesting to see.”

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN COMING INTO THIS PARTICULAR RACE AT THIS PARTICULAR TRACK? “We always struggle here putting the tire down. I know the tire changed this year and we changed the car a lot last year after we came here. Should be exciting. We haven’t done any testing this year on a road course. The first few laps are going to be just getting back in the car and getting the rhythm.”

HOW SPECIAL IS IT BECAUSE YOU GOT YOUR FIRST SPRINT CUP WIN HERE? “It’s a good place. We got our first win here. We won here and we won at Watkins, both road courses. I think it’s pretty good. We’ve just got to be smart all day and see what happens.”

FOUR OR FIVE GUYS ARE BETTER AT ROAD COURSES, IS IT OKAY THAT SOME OF THE DRIVERS ARE THAN NOT? “It’s simple. A lot of these guys here they grew up doing ovals all their lives. I grew up doing road courses. I think the really good guys will still perform okay like we’ve been doing at the ovals.”

WITH JEFF GORDON’S RECORD HERE AND THE WAY HE’S BEEN RUNNING SO FAR THIS YEAR, HOW MUCH OF A THREAT DO YOU SEE HIM THIS WEEK? “It depends on how good their car is. Last year Jimmie ran better than him. This is one of those places that if you have a good car you can run really well. If you do good in qualifying most of the time a guy on the pole is a guy that will surprise you and won’t run that well in the race. For us we’ve just got to make sure we’ve got a good car, get a decent qualifying position and go from there.”

LOTS OF GUYS WERE PRETTY CRITICAL OF JEFF GORDON LAST YEAR, WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THE WAY HE RACED HERE LAST YEAR? “I have no problem with him. Here is a place where there is going to be contact and you’re going to be leaning on each other. The thing here in road racing, people because of the oval are so used to the give and take and people are used to running side-by-side. Any other form of racing if you’re inside of somebody when you come off the corner the guy better not be there because you are going to use all of the race track. So you’ve got to change how you approach the racing here a little bit.”

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WITH WHAT HAPPENED TO RED BULL, THERE WERE A LOT OF CONNECTIONS WITH YOUR NAME OUT THERE THAT YOU MIGHT BE GOING THERE? “Not really. You may know a lot of connections but I didn’t. A lot of people have asked me about it but I never really talked to anybody there so I don’t know.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE GARAGE TO SEE AN ORGANIZATION POSSBILY SHUT DOWN? “I don’t know. It is what it is. They came as a company and just wanted to have a lot of success like they did in Formula 1 and didn’t get it. It’s a lot harder than they though and I think they are probably going to do something different.”

YOU SAID YOU GUYS DIDN’T ROAD COURSE TEST, IS IT BECAUSE IT’S SO HARD TO GET ANYTHING USEFUL AT OTHER TRACKS TO BRING HERE? “It would have been good to just get a little bit to just get used to. Last time I was one of these cars in a road car and I ran on a normal race track was in Watkins, it’s been a while. But I do a little bit of karting here and there so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

WHEN YOU DO ROAD COURSE TEST SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN LIKE HERE IS IT TOUGH TO FIND ANYTHING USABLE? “A lot of times it’s hard. The places that you can go are not very, they are just very different. You don’t have a place similar to this somewhere close. Even if you could test here, to come all the way out here for a one-day test when its cooler, to me I think temperature dictates a lot of what happens.”

ARE YOU A BIGGER FAN OF INFINEON OR WATKINS GLEN? “I will tell you here at Infineon and I’ll tell you at Watkins (laughter).”

WITH ALL THE BEATING AND BANGING THAT WE’VE SEEN IN THE LAST COUPLE OF RACES HERE, DO YOU HAVE TO APPROACH THEM WITH A SIMILAR MENTALITY THAT YOU HAVE AT A SHORT TRACK? “I think it’s worse than a short track. A short track you can still spin around a lot easier. Here you can lean on people and people will lean on you a lot more and use you a lot more. So you’ve got to be prepared for that.”

WITH HOW AGGRESSIVE THE RACING IS, WILL YOU PROBABLY TAKE CHANCES HERE TO GET A WIN MORE THAN YOU WOULD AT A NORMAL TRACK? “I think when you have an opportunity to win you’ll take the gamble. Right now where we are in points and if you can get a win it would be huge. So yeah.”

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT THE NIGHT RACE IN DAYTONA? “I think the easiest thing with the hotter conditions and the bump drafting there. If people were spinning around when we had 60 or 70 degrees track temperature, it’s going to be quite a challenge with the hotter conditions. It’s going to be interesting how people will approach the race. Because at the end of the race it’s going to be two-by-two-by-two with everybody pushing. The question is if you’re going to do it all night.”

DO YOU LIKE THE NEW TWO-CAR STYLE OF RACING? “Yeah, I think it’s better because you can make something happen. You know when you are three-wide before at Daytona and you were fourth row you were stuck. Now with it this way you can pass people, you can make something happen. I think that is great for the sport.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN AT THE DAYTONA 500 THAT YOU CAN APPLY NEXT WEEK? “When we were running in the second group going into the last lap and we left the door open for Carl (Edwards) on the bottom and I think we should have closed that door a little bit earlier. A lot of it goes on the lead guy. When you are pushing you go where the guy goes. So I think that was the harder thing.”

THERE’S TALK THAT YOU MIGHT BE SIGNED UP WITH CHIP AGAIN SOON, IS THAT TRUE? “We’re pretty close. I think we’re pretty close, yeah.”

NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS MAYBE? “We’ll see. When it’s ready you will know.”

BUT YOU EXPECT TO BE BACK THERE NEXT YEAR? “I would assume, yeah."

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, ganassi, montoya, sonoma, sprint cup