Indianapolis: Montoya — Friday media visit


JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 41 TARGET IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed looking toward the Chase, the difference between NASCAR and Indy cars at IMS, Sonoma verses Watkins Glen and more.

HAS THERE BEEN A COUPLE OF TIMES WHERE YOU’VE HAD TO TAKE A BIGGER PICTURE LOOK AT THINGS? «Oh yeah like last week. At the beginning of the race we had a flat tire and couple of guys passed us and they didn’t give us an inch of room and a couple of times off of turn four I was on the brakes and when you do that it’s kind of scary but you have to do it. You have to remember the bigger picture.»

THAT KIND OF GOES AGAINST WHAT A RACE CAR DRIVER DOES TOO. «Yes and no. You’ve got to be smart. It’s all about the championship right now and to be able to be part of it and compete for it. You’ve got to be smart. You don’t have to win the race to get in the Chase, we have to finish every race. I think if we can finish 15th or better the next seven races we should be in the Chase.»

ON THE TIRES. «I think the tires are going to be fine in the race. I think today you are probably going to see some cars on chords, not a lot but a little bit of chords when the track is green. Once it rubbers up it will be fine. By the time the race starts it will be fine. Unless it rains Saturday night then we’ll have a competition caution. They worked really hard on the tires and they are actually really good.»

«Remember most of the teams tested here. So we had a couple of days here and we learned a little bit and worked on the car a little bit. We thought we had a pretty competitive car when we were here. We seem to have a good car every week. Some weeks are a little bit better than others. When it’s bad its 15th when it’s good its fifth to third, we want to try to move that trend to four or five places up. When we have a good week we want to be trying to win races and when we have a bad week we don’t want to be running 15th, we want to be running 10th or 12th.»

HOW MUCH DIFFERENT IS IT RUNNING A STOCK CAR HERE THEN WHEN YOU WERE RUNNING AN INDY CAR? «The race line is pretty similar. I know the Indy car is not very good bumpy and you can’t run low where in this car you can still run pretty low. I don’t know, you just go with the flow and see what the car does. When the car turns it’s easier when it pushes its harder. It’s fine.»

ARE YOU WORRIED AT ALL ABOUT DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS HERE? «It’s been fine everywhere. It’s been fine at road courses when everybody thought it was going to be crazy. I think people are being very respectful of each other and giving each other a lot of room. You know in some race it’s going to happen, there’s going to be a big wreck on one of those restarts and hopefully we’re not involved.»

LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD TO WATKINS GLEN, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE COMPARED TO SONOMA? «It’s the same mindset. I think in Sonoma we could have finished a lot better. I didn’t think we had a car good enough to win the race but we could have finished better. What’s the risk? There’s got to be a balance between risk and reward. Right now the reward is the Chase. So it’s kind of crazy because you take it easy and you have sometimes have a better reward than the reward pushing it.»

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WATKINS GLEN COMPARED TO SONOMA? «It’s a lot faster race track. I’m not a big fan of Sonoma. I know I’ve won there and everything but it’s just so slow where Watkins Glen is a lot faster race track.»

DO YOU USE A LOT OF THE SAME SETUP AT POCONO AS IN A ROAD COURSE? «No. I’ve driven road courses and there’s nothing to be anywhere near.»

I GUESS POCONO IS ITS OWN ANIMAL COMPARED TO OTHER TRACKS? «It is. It’s very bumpy. It’s really hard on tires and that turn three with that asphalt out there. Very different race lines than anybody else. It’s kind of exciting and interesting.»

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF THIS SPEEDWAY (IMS)? «I think my first memory is of Roberto Guerrero here. He qualified on the pole here. He always ran well here. When I signed with Chip (Ganassi) the team was based just up the road so I actually came down here and took the bus and went around the track in the little bus, came through the museum. When we tested here we went through the museum with the boys and went down stairs to see all the cars. It was exciting.»

IS WINNING IN 2000 STILL A FRESH MEMORY? «I don’t think about it too much. I really don’t. I think about it and get some memories when I see the car. When you go to the shop and talk to the guys that were involved but that’s about it.»

WOULD YOU SAY MARCOS AMBROSE HAS BLENDED PRETTY WELL THIS SEASON FOR A GUYS THAT DOESN’T HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE? «I think he has a lot of experience in these cars. I think the cars that he ran in Australia were a little more similar to what we race here than anything I’ve driven before. I think the guy has got a lot of talent and a lot of aggression and does a good job. I think that (Michael) Waltrip and his company are coming along good.»


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