Montoya Preseason Thunder - Dodge interview

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON LVMS "My first time here was in my IRL car before going to Indy. We did a day here, and it was really windy. This is a different horse with these cars to be honest." COMMENT...

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON LVMS "My first time here was in my IRL car before going to Indy. We did a day here, and it was really windy. This is a different horse with these cars to be honest."

COMMENT ON TOYOTA "It's hard to know what they're going to do, but I think a manufacturer that size or any manufacturer that commits to come in to NASCAR they need to come in with non stops. You cannot say there's got to be this here and this there. If they want to do well they've got to come in 100 percent. When we were in CART they were there for a few years and they were really never that committed to it. When they came with Chip they had no stops to it and the program really worked. We had a lot of failures and stuff but they were 100 percent to it. Do you want to see them do well? Yeah, I think it's good for the sport, another manufacturer doing well, but I'd rather see Dodge win."

HOW DOES NASCAR RANK IN DIFFICULTY WITH OTHER FORMS OF RACING FOR YOU? "For me it's harder in a stock car than open wheel, but for a stock car guy, probably an open wheel car is harder because everything happens faster. It's completely different. This is a hard race car. It's all about comfort. I think the oval is all about the feedback you get out of the car. For me, being so new to this, probably the mile and a half tracks are the hardest ones there are. You go in, you get out of the gas, you get back on it. The car twitches, I'm not taking any risks. At the same time you want to run fast, so it's like as soon as you get a little bit comfortable you start attacking and attacking and attacking and going a little faster."

COMMENT ON THE BANKING AT LVMS "I wasn't here before, so I couldn't really tell you the difference. It's pretty fast. I'm amazed how fast it is. I thought Homestead was fast, but this place.... You've got to get back in the gas so fast. You're never completely off the gas. I'm not even touching the brake all the way around and I'm about two or three tenths off. We're getting there, but we've still got a long way to go."

DO YOU THINK YOU'RE LEADING THE WAY FOR OTHER DRIVERS TO COME TO NASCAR? "I hope I have some success. I'm committed to this for the long term. Is it going to happen this year? I don't know. Probably on the road courses I can get some good results. I think the smaller ovals will be pretty good.

Homestead was looking pretty decent for my first race. It's hard to say you're going to be good here and you're going to be bad there. It's sort of about getting comfortable. When I went to the Homestead test I was nowhere. I was probably half a second, six tenths off my teammates. When we went to the race I was the fastest Ganassi car. It's all relative. For me it's hard to say I'm going to go out there and kick everybody's b***. Of course I want to do that, but you've got to be a bit realistic. I never put myself to set some goals and say I need to do this and this and that because you've just got to go out there and do the best you can. It's that simple. One day the car works good and you look like a hero. The next day the car handles bad and then...."

WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN DRIVING NASCAR? "Being realistic, NASCAR is the biggest motorsports in the states. Open wheel, been there, done that. I thought it would be a great challenge to come and drive stock cars. When I drove Jeff's car I was really comfortable in it. I was talking to Chip about it and it really motivated me to do the deal. I got in it and within three laps on a road course I was up to speed. I thought it felt good. To get that feeling in something completely different is hard. You don't get that every day. I'll guarantee you, you put me in an open wheel on an oval right now I would probably suck as well. It's a completely different thing. I had some basics when I drove the open wheels, but I haven't driven an oval for seven years. It's getting back into the oval things and the race lines and learning what the car is trying to tell you, how far you can really push it and all that. It's all about learning how far you can go with the car and do things."

COMMENT ON WINNING 24 HOURS ON SUNDAY AND THEN TESTING HERE MONDAY MORNING "It was OK. It wasn't so bad. We finished the race, and did a press conference. I went to my motorhome, got something to eat, got in the plane and came here. Yesterday afternoon I was really tired. About 5 o'clock every time we stopped in the car I was about falling to sleep. It was OK. It was a great experience to get back in the car. We did a little car of tomorrow testing in December, but since then I haven't really... We tested at Daytona, but anybody can really drive at Daytona by themselves. The key to Daytona is how you draft and how the car handles with everybody around it. Yes, it's important to try to qualify well and try to put it on the pole and everything, but being realistic at Daytona, it doesn't matter how you quality. It's how you race. It looks exciting to come here, but it's a lot of hard work."

DO YOU THINK IT'S HARDER TO WIN AT INDY OR DAYTONA? "It's like everything. You take a stock car guy to the 500 and say which is harder to win and the guy will say the Indy 500 because he doesn't understand how everything works. I'm new to this. I haven't even raced it. Is it going to be really hard? Yes, it's going to be really hard. Am I aiming to win? I'm more aiming to getting the car to the end of the race to be realistic. Do we have a shot at it? Am I going to try to win it? Yeah, but I'll be really happy with a top 20, top 15 out of that race. The key thing in the first few races is to just score good points. Then you can start worrying about the race. It's a shame to start the Daytona 500 for me as a rookie because I have no experience drafting, very little. It was a bit of a surprise when I tested at Daytona. I was five laps in and it didn't do any damage, but I touched the wall coming out of four. The steering got so tight I couldn't believe it. They told me it was going to get a little tight, but it wasn't a little tight. I was off the gas and went straight to the wall. It's all about learning. I think as the race goes on you're going to get more comfortable. You're going to start understanding what you want out of the car, and if you've got enough cautions and stuff you can actually make your car better. I think the Texaco car has been good there the past few years. It's been up there, so it would be good if we could get a good result."

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS IN NASCAR? "My goals are obviously to win some races and the championship if I can."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup