JUAN PABLO MONOTYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed points racing, the Brickyard, his relationship with Brian Pattie and more. BACK IN THE TOP-12, A BIG WEEKEND FOR YOU. "Not...
JUAN PABLO MONOTYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed points racing, the Brickyard, his relationship with Brian Pattie and more.
BACK IN THE TOP-12, A BIG WEEKEND FOR YOU. "Not really. I don't know. We're running hard every week and I'm trying to finish as good as we can, being careful as well. Trying to race as smart as we can and it's working. Here we're 12th in points but still 10 races to go, it's a long way. We've just got to keep focusing on what we've been doing the last five or six weeks, that is trying to bring the car in the top-10 every week."
IN REGARDS TO THE BRICKYARD CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE IN WHAT YOU FEEL NOW COMPARED TO YOUR OPEN-WHEEL DAYS RUNNING THERE? "You know I only ran there once in 2000 and it was all a little bit of a rush. We got late to practice because we were in Japan racing in the CART Series at the time. It was fun. We had a great time but I think right now in NASCAR it seems to be a lot of fun. I think the driver really plays a big part on the car. It's very different when you run the Indy cars, you run wide open all the way around and here you have to brake, you've got to lift, you've got to time it a little bit more. I know tires were a big issue last year and I think this year it will be fine. You might see a little bit of the same thing on Friday like you always see in Indy but by the time the race comes it will be fine."
WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS WHEN YOU FIRST CAME TO THIS SERIES NOT ONLY FOR THAT FIRST YEAR BUT MOVING FORWARD? "When I came here my expectations were not that high. I knew it was going to take time. I knew there were going to be good races. There were going to be weeks when everything clicked and we were going to run great and it happened but there were going to be a lot of weeks where it was going to be trouble. When I came to Ganassi the team was running okay but it wasn't a great team so we've done a lot of work over the last couple of years to get where we are. It's been hard. Last year was a tough a season changing crew chiefs and everything. I think the ability is there and the momentum is there, we've just got to keep the ball rolling."
THERE ARE SOME TALKS OF OTHER OPEN-WHEELERS MAKING THE MOVE TO NASCAR, SPECIFICALLY DANICA PATRICK, WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE FOR HER? "Danica I think she's got the talent and everything but I don't think she knows what she's getting into. They're so different to drive. It's not the same feeling. When you drive an open-wheel car on an oval you have the grip, you turn the wheel and it turns, you get on it and it goes and you get on the brakes and it stops. This it goes more with the momentum. You've got to give time to the car and you've got to get used to the feeling that you've got to go fast when the car doesn't feel right. With time actually it becomes kind of normal. Like for me driving the Cup car now it's normal. I've finally got to a point where I go every week and I'm not surprised, it doesn't feel weird, it doesn't surprise me, it feels like what I drive every week now and that takes a long time. If she comes I'm sure she can do it but it doesn't matter if you come to a winning team or anything, it's going to take time."
HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT FACTORY SUPPORT OF YOUR TEAM? "I'm not. That's not my problem. It is going to be a problem with the end result of it but I don't get involved in it. That's up to Chip (Ganassi) and Teresa (Earnhardt) to decide what they want to do. How do they want to deal with the Chevy situation and how Chevy is dealing with them. I'm telling you the truth, I have no idea. I don't ask."
WE JUST TALKED ABOUT A WOMAN ENTERING THE FIELD, DO YOU THINK AS A FELLOW RACER YOU'LL LOOK AT HER AS A FELLOW WOMAN OR JUST ANOTHER COMPETITOR? "Just another person. I think out there on the track when you have a helmet on it doesn't matter who you are. It is what it is. I think she'll probably get very welcomed by everybody if she decides to come. I'm sure it's going to be the same if she decides to come. She's going to have good weeks, bad weeks you know. It's her problem not mine."
YOU SAID LAST WEEK THAT YOU WILLINGLY GAVE UP PRETTY MUCH A TOP-FIVE TO SETTLE FOR SIXTH BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T WANT TO RACE TOO AGRESSIVELY. I UNDERSTAND YOU'VE SORT OF ACCEPTED THAT YOU NEED TO RACE THAT WAY TO MAKE THE CHASE, DO YOU LIKE RACING THAT WAY THOUGH? "You've got to be smart about what you do. I felt we had a decent car, I didn't think we had the best car there but I think if we would have pushed we probably could have had a little better result but at the end of the day I rather finish sixth than 25th being spun by somebody. That happened last year. (Marcos) Ambrose spun me last year and I wanted to avoid that especially in a place like Sonoma where everybody runs on the lead lap. You get spun you don't go back to 15th or 20th you go back to 35th and you do want to do that with 10 laps to go."
IS IT FRUSTRATING FOR YOU TO RACE FOR POINTS? "No, it's what this sport is all about. It's all about making the Chase and we're doing everything in our power from the team to myself to the crew chief making the calls and being smart. I think if you could run like top-five every week then you could get away with being a little more aggressive. We're not. We're running top-10 not top-five. We're making a lot of changes in the car, finding new ways to make the car faster. I don't think we want to bring this to the wire. It might happen but if we can avoid going to Richmond being on the bubble that would be awesome."
IS THAT AN ADJUSTMENT FOR YOU? "No, in Formula One at the end of the day it was the same thing, its points racing. You want to win races but at the end of the day you're sometimes better finishing third than getting involved in a wreck. It's the same thing. You just got to be race smart. It's not cautious, just a little more smart."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP YOU'VE BUILT WITH BRIAN (PATTIE, CREW CHIEF) AND THE PROCESS THAT YOU'VE HAD TO TAKE UNTIL NOW? "It's been awesome. We have a lot of things in common. One of them is the willingness to win and doing whatever it takes to win. We're doing that. We've taken this team to the next level. We're doing everything in our power to get everybody. It's not only Brian and myself, from the engineering to the mechanics, anybody involved with this team they've really brought their game up. Pit stops are getting better and we're getting competitive every week and they see it and they're getting hungry for it. Our pit stops are better, our calls are better. We're racing smarter and we're racing better and it's great to see. I think anybody here if you ask them about the Earnhardt-Ganassi deal at the beginning of the year nobody felt like we were even going to be in the top-20 in points. I think it's nice to prove everybody wrong."
YOU'VE DRIVEN SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF CARS, THIS CAR NOW YOU'RE OBVIOUSLY GETTING THE HANG OF IT, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS CAR TO DRIVE? "For the things I've driven it handles horrible but the old car did as well. But for racing it's the best car I've driven. If you could combine the way an open-wheel car drives with the racing that we have it would be the ideal race series. I've driven all the great cars but the racing has always been terrible. This racing is incredible. I love it. I get a kick out of it. In Formula One when you used to get some rentals and go and play with friends it was more exciting. This is what I get here. You race close to everybody. You pass cars and cars pass you. It's hard to keep up with everything happening. In Formula One nothing happens. You come in, you go, you come in, you go and that's it. You never come in with everybody into the pits together because there's not even two stalls to come in. When there's a caution everybody comes in the guy running behind gets screwed. It's what this sport is."
-credit: gm racing