Vancouver, British Columbia -- Although Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Juan Montoya has yet to complete the second year of his Champ Car career, he has already learned how quickly things can change during races and in the point ...
Vancouver, British Columbia -- Although Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Juan Montoya has yet to complete the second year of his Champ Car career, he has already learned how quickly things can change during races and in the point standings.
The defending CART FedEx Series champion has exited several races this year while leading the pack. Montoya has realized that bad luck is something that finds each driver at some point during a 20-race season. When points leader Michael Andretti exited the Motorola 220 on Aug. 20, Montoya was again reminded that the season is not yet finished and many points are still available.
"The last race was a good example of how things can change fast in this series," said Montoya, the 2000 Indy 500 champion. "Everyone makes mistakes and has bad things happen. The points leader (Michael Andretti) didn't finish the race and we were looking like we might be able to jump back into the championship race, but it didn't turn out that way (Montoya finished 16th after exiting the race with mechanical problems). I think we'll get some lucky breaks in these remaining races, since we've had a lot of bad luck so far. We're not going to give up when we still have a shot at Team Target's fifth championship."
The second year driver has reason to be confident. He returns to Vancouver, site of Sunday's Molson Indy, as the defending pole sitter and race winner.
"I'm happy we're heading back to Vancouver," Montoya said. "I had luck qualifying there and won the race last year, so we have a lot of confidence going back. I'll be disappointed if I'm not on the podium after the race." Montoya's teammate Jimmy Vasser also is familiar with the podium in Vancouver. The 1996 CART champion joined Montoya there after finishing third in 1999. Vasser has finished in the top seven in three of his last four races in Vancouver (seventh in 1996, second in 1997 and third in 1999). He heads to the Molson Indy following a fifth-place effort in Elkhart Lake, his best finish since the Rio 200 on April 30.
"It was a good feeling to get a top-five finish the other week in Elkhart Lake," Vasser said. "It had been awhile, so the timing was good. Hopefully that's a sign of some good things to come. We haven't been on the podium for awhile, so returning to the top three is one of my goals for these final six races. I joined Juan on the podium last year in Vancouver (third) and finished second a few years ago (1997), so we're heading to a place I've had some success and enjoyed racing. I'm expecting a good weekend for the No. 12 car."