Watkins Glen International August 8, 2010 An interview with: UAN PABLO MONTOYA - Winner BRIAN PATTIE - Crew chief KERRY THARP: We have Juan Pablo Montoya, the winner of today's race. With this victory today, Juan qualifies for the 2011 NASCAR...
Watkins Glen International
August 8, 2010
An interview with:
UAN PABLO MONTOYA - Winner
BRIAN PATTIE - Crew chief
KERRY THARP: We have Juan Pablo Montoya, the winner of today's race. With this victory today, Juan qualifies for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Congratulations for that. The last three out of four events we've had, we've had new qualifiers for the All-Star Race.
Juan, congratulations on today's win. Certainly just an excellent performance by you and your race team.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, I think it's nice. We executed right. I think we did what we had to all day. We ran really smart. I think yesterday we had a good talk with Chip. Last few weeks have been really frustrating for the whole team because we've been so close to victory. Seemed to keep slipping away.
To come out here today and get the job done the way we did today, it was big. I feel more relieved than happy right now. It's been a really hard road in a way. It's been a lot of fun; it's been frustrating. To finally get that first win for Brian, I think it's good. I think we can really focus on just getting the job done, it would be nice.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Juan.
Q: For all intent and purposes, you're out of the Chase. How much pressure does that take off of you? Last year Brian was all about the points. There was nothing like that on you today. You could just go out there.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: We've been like that for a while (laughter).
Q: You know what I'm saying. The pressure is off. You could go out there and race your race.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, I think last year we were so focused on making the Chase, it was all about numbers. It wasn't about being fast or slow, it was about bringing the car home. This year we thought we were going to do the same thing. We had a blown motor race two, race three taken out with a teammate. I don't think it was on purpose, but we tangle. All of a sudden, you know, by race five we had three DNFs. When you have three out of five races, the DNFs keep happening, you have to be realistic about what's happening. You have to start being more aggressive. A lot of mistakes came, from my part and the team.
I think this will really bring the team together and bring great things for the future.
Q: Juan, yesterday you talked about the meeting with Chip. What changed there and what was the off-shoot of that meeting? As much success as Chip Ganassi has had this year as a team owner, do you feel like you finally got an invitation to the party at this point?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think from day one we worked so hard to bring the performance of the cars to where they are now. I think that really has helped. It's been frustrating because you could see the performance get better and better. Even last year in the Chase, finished second, finished third, finished second, finished third. That freaking win would never come, so it was getting frustrating. We do what we have to and move on.
Yesterday it was all about making sure everybody is on the same page, everybody has to do their job, and we came out today and everybody executed. It's something Brian keeps saying, Keep saving the car, keep saving the car, keep saving the car, and it paid off.
KERRY THARP: Brian Pattie, certainly a big moment for you, your first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win as a crew chief. Congratulations on that. Talk about how you thought things unfolded out there today.
BRIAN PATTIE: Spot on, I guess (smiling). It seemed pretty easy other than the mid stint during the race where the 47 was on our tail pretty hard. Seems like we hit the setup pretty decent. First stint was really good. Pulled some pretty big gaps. Adjusted air pressure that last stint to get a little bit closer to how we started.
Seemed like the 47 lost a little bit at the end, didn't have that extra push you need on these Cup races to win.
KERRY THARP: We'll open it up for questions again for Brian or Juan Pablo.
Q: You just used the word 'disappointed' and 'frustrating' to describe things going on in the last couple weeks. We heard the exchange between you on the radio from last week. Can you describe the relationship between the two of you, how it's evolved up until today and how you think today's win is going to help that relationship moving forward.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think it's simple. You know, as competitive as I am, he's as competitive with the racecar. I think we both come here every weekend with one goal: win. When the wins slip away, either my fault, his fault, I think the fault doesn't really matter. When you go home empty-handed, it's frustrating.
We have to learn how to make better judgment, myself make better calls when I'm driving, help them make better calls. I think we're really working together and understanding what needs to be done to win those races.
I think this is a big relief for everybody. I think getting the first win, second win, but first win for Brian, it's a big boost for the whole team. We just got to keep, you know, doing our job. I guarantee you we're going to have good weeks and bad weeks and you'll hear things on the radio, hopefully not as much.
BRIAN PATTIE: Please (laughter).
Q: Brian, if you could expand on that, how you have evolved up until today and how you think this will help your relationship moving forward?
BRIAN PATTIE: It wasn't bad to begin with. When you're passionate about winning races at this level, the closer we got, the worse it got for frustration level. We've led a lot of laps, led a lot of races this year. So we're there week in and week out. That's what we try to do from 2008 on, build our organization and a team that can consistently run at this level.
I don't want to come in and win a rain-delay.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I will still take one of those (smiling).
BRIAN PATTIE: I want to be, you know, the Hendricks, those guys. I want to be consistent week in, week out, no matter if we are at a half-mile racetrack, mile-and-a-half, road course or a speedway.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It's the only way you can win championships, is be good everywhere. It's simple. When you start leading races, when you're running fifth, sixth, you're not there. When you're leading, you can pull away, you're in good position, you don't take the trophy home, it's frustrating. It's frustrating for me, for the pit crew, for himself, for everybody.
Q: How concerned were you with Marcos today? Seemed like halfway through he was racing for the win.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I even said that on the radio. Why is he trying so hard, just ride for a little.
I'll tell you what, I was surprised. The car is always a lot stronger than me and a little bit on the brakes. At the same time I was not braking as hard as I could. I was pushing hard, but I was trying to make sure I had brakes for when it really mattered.
I thought with that last restart, you know what I mean, I thought if I can pull away from him a little bit, either stabilize, and if he pushes a hundred percent, if he doesn't make any ground, he's going to start making mistakes. I don't know if he made any mistakes, but I did push like hell.
BRIAN PATTIE: That middle stint, our car was off a little bit because we didn't adjust on the first stop because we wanted to see what the tires looked like, tire pressures.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Definitely the car at the end had a little bit of balance. That last stint, we could come out with really fast lap times one after the other after the other. You know, that's what wins races.
Q: After the win you said on the radio, Guys, sorry again about last week. Talk about what was the mindset after Pocono.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It was a misunderstanding. After we talked about it, it was a misunderstanding on the radio on the call. That was it. I think I went too far with it. That was it. I apologized for it. Good way of paying it back, I guess.
Q: With that in mind, you stopped on the frontstretch and the crew gathered around.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: These are the people that 24/7 work to be here.
BRIAN PATTIE: You don't work?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I play golf (smiling).
BRIAN PATTIE: And?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Wind surf.
BRIAN PATTIE: And?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I don't know, those two. Go-karts a little.
So, you know, those guys are the guys that make it happen. They deserved this as much as I did, so...
Q: Juan, you said after Indianapolis, the disappointment, it took you no time to put that behind you. How much do you let yourself enjoy this win, how are you going to celebrate? Go back to Miami and get in the pocket bikes?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I'm going to Miami and spend the day with the wife and Tuesday going to St. Jude Hospital with Target for two days, then a Chevy appearance near Michigan, and that's it. That's my exciting week.
Q: All the heartbreak, broken parts, everything that went wrong, how fitting is it that this win comes here?
BRIAN PATTIE: Yeah, it's my favorite track. He's talking about the Ron Fellows days.
It means a lot. Some of the team left Tuesday after work to drive up here because they love it so much. It couldn't happen at a better place. For me personally, it's my favorite track. I love coming here. I don't feel bad coming to Watkins Glen and walking into the garage because I think I have as many notes as anybody here. That's not the case everywhere, but here definitely I feel comfortable.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about Jamie McMurray shaking down the road test car prior to you coming here.
BRIAN PATTIE: He didn't really shake our car down, but he shook down our package. It was the Monday after Indy, I believe. I don't know that we really got good data after Indy the way our day was on Sunday.
He was pretty excited about the setup. You run a little different setup here than Sonoma. Had a good test. We took some of that knowledge and applied it toward our car which was a little bit different than what we ran last year. It was nice.
It's a team effort. You don't win by yourself. Obviously, they didn't win Brickyard without our help literally. But, you know, we didn't win it here without their help, too.
Q: Brian, I think I heard that you actually left the pit box on the last lap.
BRIAN PATTIE: The white flag lap, it's done. Caution comes out. Had to go use the restroom (laughter).
Q: Was that it?
BRIAN PATTIE: Just normal. If you look back, I don't know. I feel like a monkey in that cage. There's 40,000 people standing around. Just get away a little bit, catch my breath.
Q: Brian, on Friday you ran the first practice mainly on race trim, second in qualifying trim. Juan did two laps. How confident were you about the pace of the car?
BRIAN PATTIE: We worked on it a little bit - not much. But we made pretty decent long stint before we put a set of race tires on. The pace was there. What was the comment? It's easy to make pace. That doesn't come all that often. I thought that was a compliment.
We did. I mean, we just looked at our car. We knew that qualifying well would help, especially if we had a good car in race trim. So Friday went very well. It was calculated and executed well. Sit on the pole, no. Wanted the pole pretty bad. But third wasn't too bad.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: You never told me.
BRIAN PATTIE: I want to win everything (laughter).
Q: Juan Pablo, we talked to Jacques yesterday about his experience in Formula One and how it can perhaps be a little to road courses. Do you find anything driving stock cars that Formula One helped? Did you have a chance to run up with Jacques?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: In Indy I did. Here, because I was running Nationwide, I was running Cup, you're in the car, I never got to see him.
I did watch the race. Does it help? I don't know. I'm sure how. I'm sure it does, but they're so different. I mean, if you know what I feel when I drive these cars against, you know, an open-wheel car. I'll put it this way. I sit down in the Grand-Am car that is like an intermediate thing and I feel really weird in a Grand-Am car. I wouldn't see myself in an open-wheel car, to be honest, again.
Q: Can you explain the emotions between the two seasons. Last year you made the Chase, but didn't get the win. This year you got the win. Explain the different emotions you feel.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: To tell you the truth, the Chase, I think it's been for a while realistic that to make it you need a miracle. Win one week, lose another. I made a lot of mistakes this year. I hurt the team a lot from that point.
You know, you work on what you got and that's it. I think it's not all terrible. I think we can learn a lot this season on how to execute a little better and that's it. Prepare ourselves for next season.
It's kind of funny. I think last year we didn't have the pace we have this year and we made the Chase pretty easy, I thought. This year we had two cars capable, easily making the Chase, and both cars are out. That's what it is, I guess.
Q: Brian, have you seen any difference in Juan since there isn't the pressure of running for the Chase right now? Last year it was you were really on him week after week, had your numbers, now he can just kind of go hang out.
BRIAN PATTIE: I don't think so. For whatever reasons at the end of races, whether it's a bad adjustments, Indy, whatever.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: My mistake.
BRIAN PATTIE: It's gratifying we have cars that have good pace and can run up front every week. That means that you've done the job right. I think we gained some respect last year for making the Chase. We didn't win a bunch of races to get in it. They had the system. We chose to try to do it our way and it seemed to work.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: The plan was still this year to try to be in actually a little earlier. We had better pace. You think about it. Last year for us to be in the top 10, finish 10th was a freaking miracle. It was 12th to finish.
BRIAN PATTIE: I think Darlington, we had more points after Darlington than we had the previous year. So Darlington we were on schedule. We had a bad week at Charlotte and Dover. Snowballed there. Had decent runs, just didn't have any finishes to show for it, so... Go for some oval track wins here. Very hard.
Q: Juan, you had not been without a win for so long ever in your career. You seemed to take it very easy right now. Did you ever consider it would never come again?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Not really. I don't think about it. I just get in the car, drive it. You got to have a positive mind every week that you can get the job done. Sometimes I even talk myself out of a good result. We even talked about it yesterday.
BRIAN PATTIE: I don't think people understand how hard it is.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Exactly.
BRIAN PATTIE: We've got Indy 500 champions come over and can't succeed. I think Juan is probably the exception to the rule. It's hard. This is the top of the ladder. You can talk F1 as far as worldwide, but as far as competition, I think you're looking at it.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: In competition, the variety of racetracks is so much. It's interesting. Like Sonoma, I think the corner speed is so much slower, a lot more people can do it. Here the corner speed is so much harder, the S's, you got to really hang it out there. I'm comfortable hanging it out there. In Sonoma, first gear, second gear. Here you're going third gear, hitting curves, being a lot more aggressive. I think a little bit of the road course experience helps here.
As Brian said, you got to be good on a short track. You go to Martinsville, you got to be good. You go to a restrictor plate, you got to learn to draft. There's so many things that you got to learn. I still got to learn. I still make a lot of mistakes personally. I think I still do a lot of mistakes. I still am not sure a hundred percent sure when we make calls what we need to do. It's experience. We just got to learn from it, you know.
KERRY THARP: Juan, congratulations. Brian, congratulations. Good luck next week.