Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GETTING INTO THE TOP 12? "We've been really consistent. I think that's really key for our team. Apart from the first race, pretty much every race we've had a top 20...
Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GETTING INTO THE TOP 12? "We've been really consistent. I think that's really key for our team. Apart from the first race, pretty much every race we've had a top 20 finish. Last weekend was a really good weekend for us. Being realistic, to really be able to make the Chase, you have to run a little bit better. We're running average, maybe 12th to 15th place car. If we could run closer to the 10s then we could probably get into the Chase."
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS INSIDE THE RACE CAR? "I don't pay too much attention to it. I think its more -- it's easy to control the anger versus the frustration. When everything is going really bad, it's harder to control. When things are going good - the aggression - you can control that pretty easy. If you need to turn your aggression down, you just deal with it."
IS THE LEARNING CURVE STEEPER THAN YOU FIRST ANTICIPATED? "I thought the first part went pretty smooth. The last bit has been pretty hard. To get good every week is really hard. It's not only myself, it's the entire team. We swapped crew chiefs. Last year we had a pretty good car here. We had maybe a 10th to 15th place car. We didn't' have anything else for anybody. We decided to come with a completely different setup and it really didn't' work. Today was trying to catch up and at least make it drivable. It's going to be a tough weekend, but it's part of the learning curve."
HOW DO YOU THINK DALE JR. WOULD DO IN AN INDY CAR? "I think in an Indy car he'd do pretty good because the Indy car now you ride wide-open everywhere. It's like Talladega everywhere and he's pretty good at drafting."
HAVE YOU COUNSELED DARIO AT ALL LATELY? "I've talked to him a little bit. This week I called him on Monday but he didn't answer. I know he's feeling pretty good. It's got to be tough for him. It's tough because he was getting good at it. The first few races he struggled -- you look at Phoenix he run pretty good. And now you think, 'He did pretty good', and now that (broken ankle) happens. It's pretty frustrating."
WHY HAS CGRFS STRUGGLED IN CUP RACING? "I think he's (Chip Ganassi) been in Indy so long and use to the ovals with a lot of grip. And then all of a sudden you take 70 percent of the grip away, what do you do? You're still going pretty fast, that's the problem."
HAS THE LENGTH OF CUP RACES BEEN A TOUGH TRANSITION FOR YOU? "For me it hasn't. I don't mind it. It's pretty good because you have all that time to work on the car and make it better and make good changes and stuff. It's frustrating when you have a really good car to start with, sometimes you can only make it worse. Those are the kind races that want to make them short. Martinsville and Bristol are the worst ones. You run three cautions and you look up and you've done 80 laps, you think 'OK, 420 to go'. That's pretty hard."
WHAT'S THE PERFECT LENGTH FOR A CUP RACE? "I think a three hour race. Three -- maybe three and a half. There are some that go too long."
FOR A DRIVER, WOULD IT BE A BURDEN TO BE A TEAM OWNER? "You might ask me in five years, and I'll say 'maybe'. But now--.no. And deal with a guy like me. No. I don't think your want to do that (laughs)."
DO YOU THIINK THAT YOU'VE BEEN AROUND LONG ENOUGH TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP? "Somebody would be dreaming if somebody tells me that. I think as a company we're getting better. I think we need a little bit more time."
WHAT ABOUT YOU AS A DRIVER? "I think I'm pretty good. I still got to learn a little bit -- understand what the car needs, but that's part of the whole experience."
WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY HAVE TO LEARN? "I think the racing part I'm pretty good at. I think it's more of, 'Do I need a track bar? Do I want to pull rubber out? Is it the wedge? Is it the track bar on the left or right?' It's all kinds of things. When the car is really good, then it's very easy to adjust like that because you all want to pick 'here'. When the car is bad, it's very hard to decide which is the worst pick."
DOES IT DRIVE CHIP NUTS THAT HE HASN'T HAD MORE SUCCESS IN NASCAR? "It drives all of us nuts. We all want to do really good in NASCAR. Chip's a guy who has won pretty much everything. He's been close winning here before, but were not going to win overnight. It's all about a process."
WHAT WAS CHIP LIKE WHEN HE CHANGED CREW CHIEFS ON THE 41 AND 42 CARS? HE SEEMED PRETTY INTENSE? "Not with me. He just told me that everyone is thinking that for the best of the team, that we should swap the crew chiefs. You should work better with Jimmy (Elledge) and Donnie (Wingo) would work better with Reed (Sorenson). I said, 'If you want to do that, go ahead.' I'll work with any of them. I really like Donnie; I didn't mind him."
DO YOU WANT TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP HERE AT NASCAR? "Of course. Do you think I came here for holidays?
"Of course you want to win races. If I didn't think that I could -- every week -- come out here have a chance at winning, I shouldn't even show up.
"Right now we can just do with what we got and do as good as we are. You cannot expect to go, 'We're 12th now so we need to run in the top 10 every week'. We haven't run in the top 10 but once this year. All of a sudden are we going to run in the top 10 every week? No, that's not going to happen. It's not going to happen overnight because we finished second in Talladega. Are we going to have more top fives and top 10s? Probably yes. We just have to make it a little bit better. We making the Chase is more about everyone else making mistakes and we being consistent."
-credit: dodge motorsports