An Interview With:
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA — 3rd
THE MODERATOR: Let’s roll into our post race Tums Fast Relief 500 here at Martinsville Speedway, and joining us right now is our third place finisher, Juan Pablo Montoya. He drives the No. 42 target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi.
Juan, just watching you race out there this afternoon, just the progress that this race team has made this season. You’ve got to feel pretty good about the way things went out there today.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, it’s exciting to come every week out of the truck and have a fast race car. We’ve been doing it for a while now, and you know, it’s kind of funny. I don’t know where that extra pace came from when the Chase started. I thought we had great race cars, and right before the Chase we had good race cars. But when the Chase started, everybody, all the pit stop crew, stepped it up, we stepped it up. It’s nice to see.
Q: Jeff Gordon wanted to know on pit road what he had done to make you so mad at him.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It’s just every time we’ve been around racing against him, he runs the hell out of me. He moved me out of the way before, and he was starting to do the same here today. You know, I was running the outside of him, and every time he was just getting wider and wider.
We’re good. I talked to him afterwards. And it got to a point, it’s like, hey, I’m here, and you’re not going to push me around; you know what I mean? If you give me room, I’ll give you room. He wasn’t giving me any, so I played the same game.
I talked got on the radio and said to the spotter, look, tell him if he comes I’m going to give him space, but I hope he does the same. Right at the end we ran together and he gave me room and I gave him room. I mean, you can do it. It’s just you’ve got to be sometimes you’ve got to set a precedent so people back off a little.
It’s okay. I never really had a big problem with him, but he’s always so hard to race against. But he probably says the same thing against me, because he never gave me any room, why am I going to give him any. It’s a vicious circle.
Q: Talk about the double file restarts. It seemed like before the race everybody was talking about how the guy on the outside was going to get hung out to dry and fall back. That never really happened out there.JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No, it doesn’t happen. It’s so close, and when you’ve got a good car you can run anywhere. Sometimes when you’re like in the fourth or fifth row you can lose a row or two; it happens. But it’s okay, it’s fun. I think it makes for the fans at a place like here, side by side restarts with two laps to go, you can’t ask for much more.
Q: Did you ever think of getting rough with Jimmie when you were trying to get up there?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I bumped him a couple times, didn’t I? It wasn’t to wreck, it was more just to get my nose up enough, but I couldn’t put the power good enough.
Q: Juan, you had a good finish today, but Jimmie finished second and extended his lead
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I’m too far. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to say the 48 team is doing an amazing job and they deserve everything they’re doing right now. Do we want to beat them? Yeah, we want to beat them. But it’s not over.
You’ve got to be honest, you go to Talladega and he might have a bad race, or even the race after. He might blow a motor have a bad pit stop. There’s still a lot of racing to go, so anything can happen. We’ve just got to keep running hard and hope for the best.
Q: Where do you think is the best chance to maybe catch up some room on Jimmie?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: The way he’s running, you’ve probably got to win the next five races and he’s got to have some bad luck. But for us right now this is our first Chase, we’re learning to see what we have to do, how aggressive you’ve got to run. I think one of the things we learned, next year somehow we’ve got to win some races before the Chase. I think when you start so far behind already when the Chase starts, you don’t have any cushion for a bad race or anything.
Q: On that last restart, you were sitting in third, and you know the history between Jimmie and Denny at this place.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I was pretty excited. I thought they were going to run a little bit wide and give me a little bit of room. Denny was pretty clean, and it’s just we were not fast enough to be honest.
Q: Juan, certainly your car was beat up. It looked aggressive today. Is this more aggressive than what you’ve run here, and did that car allow you to do that?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No, when people are clean with you, you’re going to be clean with them. When they race the hell out of you, you’re going to do the same. That’s what it is. But you’re going to be ending beating it, banging it and hitting it and getting hit. It’s part of the deal. It’s fun.
Q: Clearly you understand that yesterday on national television somebody made a comment about you that has caused some consternation. What do you feel about being spoken of in that light by a football coach?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Football coach? I don’t know who it is. Somebody mentioned it to me. I don’t really care to tell you the truth. Yeah, I don’t. I could say I spent the last three hours eating tacos, but I was actually driving a car. But that’s okay, I don’t care.
THE MODERATOR: Well done out there this afternoon.