Martinsville: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Second Straight Top-15 Finish for Big Red Team MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 30, 2008) -- Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Big Red Team earned their second-consecutive top-15 finish after finishing 15th at Bristol and 13th at Martinsville on Sunday.

Second Straight Top-15 Finish for Big Red Team

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 30, 2008) -- Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Big Red Team earned their second-consecutive top-15 finish after finishing 15th at Bristol and 13th at Martinsville on Sunday. Montoya and the team have improved every race this season, starting with their 32nd-place finish at Daytona. The team has climbed from 32nd to 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship standings.

Montoya started the 500-lap race from the 29th position after qualifying on Friday afternoon. He was hung out in the outside lane and complaining of a tight car when he dropped back to 34th before the caution waved on lap 20. The team made a huge chassis adjustment and fitted the car with fresh tires. Montoya restarted the race in the 32nd position and began his march through the field.

Montoya had worked his way up to 21st when Wingo made the call to leave him on the track when the leaders pitted. He took the green flag on lap 48 in the third position. He battled in the top 10 for the next 50 laps until getting hung out in the outside lane again. He fell back to 23rd at lap 100 when the fifth caution of the day waved. Montoya came down pit road for tires, an air pressure adjustment, a trackbar adjustment and fuel. Racing resumed on lap 110 with the Big Red Dodge sitting 22nd.

Montoya maneuvered his way back into the top 15 on lap 143, and after a round of pit stops was 17th on lap 204. At the midpoint of the 500-lap race he was sitting 13th. He continued to try different lines on the track to see how it would affect the handling of his Dodge Charger. Crew Chief Donnie Wingo and the Big Red team continued to adjust on the car throughout the race. Montoya commented the car was really good on the longer runs, but typical short-track racing brought out cautions quite frequently.

With 100 laps to go in the race Montoya was running in the top 20. He battled side-by-side with the cars he was trying to pass for position, but also lapped traffic which included almost half the field. It made it difficult for the lead lap cars to gain ground on the cars they were racing. At the end of the day when the checkered flag waved, Montoya was 13th and earned his top finish of the 2008 season.

In three starts at the Martinsville track in his career, Montoya has finished 16th, eighth and 13th, by far one of his best tracks on the circuit. Next, Montoya and the team head to Texas Motor Speedway for the seventh race of the season.

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing