Daytona Beach, FL. Montoya — Thursday media visit (+video)

(Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed racing at Daytona, the ‘Chase,’ NASCAR drug testing and other topics.

WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND?: «Survive. I think we have a good race car every week and this restrictor-plate racing is all about surviving. If we can survive this week and bring it home anywhere then I think we will be good. I think if you can get to the end of the race then you are probably going to be in the top-20. If you can get a top-20 at a restrictor-plate racing going into for the ‘Chase’ is not a bad thing. I know we have a fast car and we’ll see what happens. It’s all about points right now.»

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR TEAM IS AN UNDERDOG IN THE ‘CHASE’ RACE?: «No. I don’t really care how big or small the team is. If you have a big team and everybody works together then it’s a plus. You always hear that every crew chief has his way of doing things here and there and it never really relates too much. As long as we can come out every week with good cars and we’ve done that so it’s good. I still feel that we’re missing a little bit, I always say that actually, but we’re getting really close. We can run top-five, top-10 every week. Just want to get to a weekend and be the dominant car and if we can do that then I think you can get that ball rolling and get everybody on the team pumped up about that. Everybody is pumped up that we’re running well and really pumped up that we have a realistic chance of making the ‘Chase.’ Not by luck, but by pure speed. I think that’s very important and I think that if we can run a little bit better then people can start smelling wins. Then they are going to get even more excited.»

CAN YOU COMMENT ON WHAT DANICA PATRICK WOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH TO RACE IN NASCAR AND DO YOU THINK SHE CAN RACE A STOCK CAR?: «I think she’s got the talent to do it, the ability to do it — it’s a hard challenge. Are people going to be patient enough for her to struggle — that’s the million dollar question. If she decided to come and somebody decides to hire her — are they willing to know that she is going to struggle sometimes. She might have some great weeks that she feels comfortable in the car and there are going to be weeks where she is going to run horrible. You look and the best example is Joey (Logano). You look at the pace that Joey (Logano) has in the Nationwide car and it’s incredible and you look at his pace in a Cup car and it’s nowhere near as good. I think if people are willing to accept that she doesn’t finish fifth — it’s very different. Open-wheel to this is very different. When you say she had a top-five in an Indy car race against a top-five here — it’s very different. A top-five here is like three wins in Indy car or something like that.»

IS THERE MORE PRESSURE GETTING INTO THE TOP-12 OR STAYING IN THE TOP-12?: «We are just trying to gain ground on everybody. There’s weeks, like last week, where the 00 (David Reutimann) got a lot of points. He was nowhere near running where he finished and that was frustrating because he closed the gap again. At the same time, a lot of Roush cars had a bad day and we closed the gap on them. I think I’m like 100 points away from fifth place with like 10 races to go. It’s all about numbers and averages and things. You know what average you need to have, it doesn’t matter who finishes in front or behind you, as long as you have that average then you are going to be in. We’ve been through the numbers over the past I don’t know how many years and the ‘Chase’ numbers and this and that. It’s simple. You have to run well, you have to be consistent and you have to be smart. If everything goes your way then you ought to be able to make it. At the same point, yeah, great making it, if we make it then I want to be in a position to say, ‘We had a go at it.’ We just didn’t make the ‘Chase’ and finish 12th — that would really suck.»

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
DO YOU BRING THE MENTALITY OF LOOKING AT POINTS FROM FORMULA ONE?: «Point are important in every series. A lot of guys that you get in here are guys that are winning races. When you’re winning races then you can have a bad weekend. If you finish first in one and 30th in another one then it averages out to like 12th or something with the points. It’s not bad, but when you’re finishing 10th and you have a 30th then it goes to 18th or something like that. It really hurts it. If our good weekends were to be a little bit better then it would be a lot easier. Then you can say, ‘I’m going for wins,’ but we’re not.»


HAS THE NASCAR DRUG TESTING POLICY INCREASED AND WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT?: «It is what it is. Whether you like it or not, you have to do it. Just go with the flow and do it. They normally call you when you get out of the car after practice, but we finished practice early actually and I was actually peeing when they called me and I said, ‘Can I come back in like two hours so I can drink some water?’ They said, ‘No, you have to be with us here and you have to fill it at once.’ I thought this is going to be a while so I had like five bottles of water and just sit there until I could pee and then the next three hours I pee every 10 minutes — it really sucked. Sorry for the details, but it wasn’t too interesting.»

WERE THERE MORE PAPERS THAT YOU HAD TO SIGN?: «I don’t really remember. I thought Daytona was a little easier. Here, it’s like you need proof of who you are. I thought, I’m in a race suit — what proof? You know what I mean, it’s a little different.»

ARE YOUR CARS BETTER THAN THEY WERE LAST YEAR?: «Oh yeah, of course. Our cars are better. The reason in any sport, let’s not talk about this sport because you don’t want to talk any names, but let’s go Formula One. Do you think Lewis Hamilton that won the championship last year just forgot how to drive or do you think Jenson Button just out of the blue just learned how to drive? Drivers at this level — all the drivers are good. The good drivers are good whether they are here or Formula One, whatever, you name it. You need to have good equipment to win, it’s that simple. Is our equipment better than last year? Yeah, it’s a lot better. Can it be better? Yes, of course and we’re learning. We’re a small team, but we’re doing the best we can and we’ve shown everybody and I think shutting a lot of mouths that were saying that we were going to struggle and we’re going to suck — we’re good, you know.»

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