Montoya Preseason Thunder - Dodge interview

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON YOUR TEAMMATES "Do I want to beat my teammates? Yeah, I want to beat my teammates, but do I want my teammates to succeed? Of course, I want them to succeed. If the whole team...

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

COMMENT ON YOUR TEAMMATES "Do I want to beat my teammates? Yeah, I want to beat my teammates, but do I want my teammates to succeed? Of course, I want them to succeed. If the whole team does better you're going to start getting better results more often."

COMMENT ON FIRST DAY OF TESTING AT DIS "It was a great experience. It was a bit of a challenge with all of the bumps and getting used to running close to the wall. That was pretty tough."

ARE YOU GLAD YOU MADE YOUR CUP DEBUT LAST YEAR? "I didn't really care if it was last year. In a way it was good because it takes a lot of pressure off, but I didn't really think about it."

ARE YOU READY FOR THE DEMANDING CUP SCHEDULE? "The more experience I can get the first year the better it will be for me. I think it will be a great thing. You race hard here every weekend. You go from a two-and-a-half-mile racetrack to a half-mile flat track. It's not an easy transition. I raced two years of ovals. I drove stock cars when I started my career, and that really helps. It's a challenge. The smaller tracks are more simple. The big tracks, whew!"

WILL THIS BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF YOUR CAREER? "It's probably as big for a challenge when I went from CART to Formula One. Everything was different, the cars, technology, everything changed. Here it's the same thing. It's a tough challenge, but it's exciting. When things are bad, they're really bad but you've got tools to make it better. Formula One you tune the car but there's so few things you can do mechanically to make the car better. If you've got a car that's good enough for fifth place if you make it great you're going to finish fourth. You ain't going to win with that car. There's no way on this planet you're going to win unless something major happens. In a normal race, the guy that is fourth is going to pull away from you and the guy that is sixth is going to pull behind you."

WILL DAYTONA BE LIKE ANY OTHER TRACK FOR YOU? "No, I think the history behind Daytona is like the Indianapolis of stock cars. The tradition and everything, just like at the size of the grandstands. It's a pretty big deal. You'd probably get more fans here every week than you'd get in Formula One. On race day in Formula One you get 90-100,000 people. Here, easy you'd get 100,000 people at every race."

COMMENT ON YOUR FANS "I think a lot of the guys that followed me in open wheel are really interested in seeing how I do and they're going to be following me a lot. In a way I think it's good for the sport. I have a couple of guys like in Miami say "it was great when you won Indy. I really followed your career then and it's great to see you back here.' It really shows how big NASCAR and how big this deal is."

HAVE YOU WATCHED THE DAYTONA 500 ON TV? "I've watched a few of them (Daytona 500s). That I sat down and watched the whole race I would say no. I'd watch a little bit here and then change channel and a little bit change. I want to really focus myself at the moment on stock cars. If Chip would come and say I want you to do it (Indy 500) I don't know. Been there, done that."

COMMENT ON COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF DONNIE WINGO "At the moment it's a lot better. At the beginning it was hard. Donnie's accent is way over. In the beginning it was like 'can you repeat?' Today it happened. I wanted to know how long was the line? I said, 'how long is the queue?' The spotter said, 'you've said that before. I know what you mean now.' It's just different. We understand each other really well. I'm very picky with the way I want the car, and I think Donnie understands that. I work on it (vocabulary) really hard. I think the better you make the car the better the year is going to be. You learn that a lot in F-1. Sometimes your car is not great, but the better your car will drive the easier your day is going to be."

ARE YOU TIRED OF TESTING? "I don't mind it. We used to test three or four days a week every week in F1. I'm really looking forward to drafting. That makes it really exciting. I thought it (Lakeland test) was great. It rained the first day when I landed in Orlando. They said, 'go there, it's dry.' I got in the car, drove about five laps and it rained again. It was exciting. It was fun. It was a small track, but that's the good thing about this. You go to road courses. In Formula One the fast road courses are fun. The small road courses, the car just doesn't like it. It's like second gear, first gear, second gear, first gear, first gear, second gear. The Formula One, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, that's where it wants to be. Even the small tracks here have got a challenge to make the car better."

DO YOU THINK YOU CAN CONVERT THE GOOD OL' BOYS INTO MONTOYA FANS? "I hope so. I'm a guy that likes driving the wheels off the race car. I'll race hard. I'll have a little respect for the guys I'm racing against, and I think the fans will like that. I think we're going to see a lot of 'oh yeah, he's nice.' You're going to see some fans that think it's a great thing and some other good ol' boys that say, 'we don't want you.'

COMMENT ON NASCAR ROAD RACING "On a road course a Formula One car is probably 30 seconds a lap quicker than a NASCAR because a NASCAR isn't designed for a road course. You're sliding, but at the same time it makes it real exciting because you've got so little grip. You're working and working. I had a blast when I was at Road Atlanta. I had the time of my life on a road course. Yes, you're going 30 seconds a lap slower, but it was like power sliding everywhere."

CAN YOU FEEL WHAT THE TIRES ARE DOING? "I hope I'm good at sensing when a tire goes flat because if not it's going to hurt. Generally, I think learning to manage tires is a big deal. You're going to want to learn to look at the tires, but if you look too much at the tires you're going to look so much that when the tires are working you're going to be so much behind. It's a little compromise."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup