AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 20, 2009) – Juan Pablo Montoya and the Target team started 20th for the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday. Despite having a fast car, the Target team battled being a lap down due to a pit road penalty, resulting in a 24th-place finish.
The weekend started strong for the Target team. During Friday’s first practice Montoya was marked 10th fastest with a time of 27.749 seconds. The No. 42 Target Chevrolet was an impressive second fastest in NSCS final practice with a time of 27.291 seconds. Montoya and team qualified 20th for the 500-mile event.
When the green flag waved Saturday afternoon, Montoya quickly radioed to crew chief Brian Pattie his Chevy was loose in. With the first of six cautions falling on lap 54, the team worked on the handling of the Target Chevrolet. Throughout several cautions, the Target Team crew not only assisted Montoya in the handling of the car, but also helped him pick up a few spots. However, the team couldn’t catch a break on lap 244 when Montoya was issued a penalty from NASCAR for entering the pits too fast. Montoya fell a lap down to the leaders and would battle all day to return to the lead lap.
Montoya and team continued to fight for the remainder of the extended 312-lap event bringing the No. 42 Chevrolet home in 24th-place. Montoya now stands 15th in the NASCAR Driver Point Standings, 332 points behind leader Jeff Gordon and 36 points out of 12th – the cutoff for the Chase.