JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS met with media and discussed his progress, double-file restarts, the Indy and Monaco races, back pain, and more. ON THE LENGTH OF THE COCA-COLA 600 "If you can run 500 miles, you can run 600 miles, you...
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS met with media and discussed his progress, double-file restarts, the Indy and Monaco races, back pain, and more.
ON THE LENGTH OF THE COCA-COLA 600 "If you can run 500 miles, you can run 600 miles, you know what I mean? For me I think it's harder to run like 500 laps in Bristol. You run and you come into the pits and you run and you come into the pits and run and you look and you've run 80 laps. You know what I mean? It's 500 laps. It is a long race but its okay. You drink plenty of fluids like you always do. And we've been involved in a couple of wrecks here and there after restarts like lap 2 and 3 after the race starts always here across the start/finish line there's always wrecks. If you can avoid it it's good. I think where we're starting (9th) and the way the car is running is pretty good."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTART THEY DID LAST WEEK AT THE ALL-STAR? "I think if you're racing for points it's crazy. I think if you're racing for money it's okay, because nobody cares. I think if you have a dominant car all day, it's kind of frustrating to go double-side race starts. If you're running first, the guy second just pins you down and you get really loose and you end up fourth or something like that. I think it would be kind of stupid, but I don't make the rules."
WHAT ABOUT GETTING THE LAPPED CARS OUT OF THERE THOUGH? "I think it's really unfair. If you're running, if you don't go a lap down, it's good. If you go a lap down, you're going to go two laps down, you're going to go three laps down, you're going to go four laps down before they catch anybody else. Every time the caution comes out, and you restart, you're going to restart in the back. If you're one lap down, the first car they're going to catch is you again. So you're going to go two laps down. Before anybody goes one lap down, you're going to go two laps down. That, I think, is pretty unfair."
WHY HAVE THERE HAVE SO BEEN MANY PIT STOP ISSUES THIS YEAR LIKE PEOPLE MISSING THEIR PIT STALL, LUGNUT PROBLEMS, AND THINGS LIKE THAT? "The competition is so close right now, think if you look at points for the Chase I think cars capable of making the Chase are a lot more than before. It's just people pushing themselves to hard and making mistakes. We've all been there and nobody wants to do it, you know? It seemed like Tony (Stewart) was lucky to win last week after what he did in the pits. It's that level of pressure that's hurting everybody."
IS IT COMING FROM THE DRIVERS OR THE PIT CREWS OR BOTH? "It's equal. Sometimes you make a mistake and sometimes they do. You've got to remember it's all about sequence and timing. You know exactly what to do. You've got to pay attention if it's one lane or you're all the way to the grass or whatever they tell you."
HOW MUCH ATTENTION WILL YOU PAY TO MONACO AND INDY TOMORROW? "Monaco is normally hard to pass. Monaco is impossible. So if the guy gets through the first corner and doesn't hit anything and has clean pit stops, he's probably going to win the race."
SO YOU DON'T WATCH? "You know, you watch the first five laps and the last five. There's really nothing in between to watch."
WHO DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO WIN INDY, AND WHY? "Hopefully a Ganassi car (will win). I would think either of those two Target cars. They're always really strong. Talking to Chip, the Penskes were a little bit faster than them in qualifying trim. Helio (Castroneves) really wants to prove a point. At the same time, I think Dario (Franchitti) and (Scott) Dixon both have a good chance, but I would go for Dario this week to be honest."
SINCE MAKING A CREW CHIEF CHANGE LAST YEAR, HOW HAS THIS YEAR GONE AND WHERE IS YOUR TEAM AT THIS POINT? "I think if you look at where we were last year, we were actually not that bad in points when the crew chief started to change. But our car was nowhere near where we are right now. Also I think the performance of the car and the company moved a long way. We're running Chevys now and that's huge. I think the whole thing has been really good for us. If I look at myself now and I look at myself a year ago, last year we were there because we finished every race but this year we're there because we've got a fast car. I'm pretty optimistic that we have the chance of making the Chase. It's not going to be easy, but the potential is pretty encouraging."
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO IMPROVE ON? "You say the magic number is a 14.5 average and we're like a 15-something. So you've got to improve it a little. This year, there are so many more people with a chance that I think that average is going to be a little bit higher. If you do that average, you're probably going to make it."
IS THAT FROM PAST CHASES? "It's always been that magic number. You know, it is what it is. I think for us the next four or five weeks are really important; they are weeks that we normally run really bad (laughs). You know last year at this race, I qualified I think 42nd. This year, we qualified in the top 10 and I think we have a top 10 car if not better. It really shows where we are. I think Dover is a good race track for us. Michigan is a tough one and it's always been a tough one. If you look the places where it's been tough on how we've been running, you know it should be good. As long as we keep running the way it is, we have two good road courses and you know I think we have a good chance of winning there. Of course we want to win races. But the main goal is to make the Chase. We're just thinking about big points."
THIS WEEK JEFF GORDON HAD A PROCEDURE TO HELP WITH BACK PAIN. HAVE YOU HAD BACK PAIN? "Oh, yes, I've had a lot of different back pains. You have to find a comfortable seat. Like when I was in Formula 1 I struggled like the first year and then we finally figured out a comfortable seat for me and it was fine. I changed teams and it was horrible again until we figured it out and then it was good. Here, the first year was bad and now I don't feel it. Once you get comfortable in something, don't change it."
-credit: gm racing