Watkins Glen: Montoya — Friday media visit

Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images
Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed his outlook on the weekend, his thoughts on racing at Bristol, his crew chief Brian Pattie and more.

WHAT’S YOUR OUTLOOK THIS WEEKEND AT WATKINS GLEN? «I don’t know. We had a great Monday. Last week we were really quick. I made a mistake in the pits. Went a little deep once and the left rear tire was loose and we dropped. What really helped was we had great fuel mileage and everything just came into our hands. We showed at the end that we had as good of a car as any and it was good. We just never really had the track position. It’s kind of funny because you look at two weeks ago you’re expecting great results and great points and we finished 11th. In the middle of last week you never thought we were going to finish that high so it kind of balanced itself out. Can’t complain.»

SOME THINK THAT YOU NEED TO WIN AN OVAL TRACK RACE TO BE A COMPLETE NASCAR DRIVER, DO YOU THINK JIMMIE JOHNSON NEEDS TO WIN ON A ROAD COURSE TO SORT OF COMPLETE HIS RESUME AND HOW DOES HE IMPRESS YOU AS A ROAD RACER WHEN YOU ARE AROUND HIM ON THE RACE TRACK? «He seems to be doing always a good deal on the road courses. Like last year in Sonoma he was really fast. I think Sonoma and this race there is always a little bit of fuel mileage involved and a lot of luck. Especially I think the double-file restart here is going to be pretty interesting. I think it’s going to be pretty wild. It’s all about surviving right now. It should be fun. Last year we had our car quick enough to win and we just ran out of brakes. I believe we fixed that and we’ve got a new car here and it should be pretty good.»

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
LAST WEEK AT POCONO, EVERYBODY FOUND OUT HOW AGGRESSIVE RIVALS ARE GOING TO BE WITH EACH OTHER ON RESTARTS, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT HERE GOING INTO TURN ONE? «A place like Pocono or Indy it’s so hard to pass once gets in line. Ninety percent of overtaking is done within the first two or three laps and after that wherever you end up in line that’s where you ride. If you’re going to make any ground you have to make it in those first two laps. I think here it might be a little different. Here it is very easy to miss a corner. We got tangled with (Kevin) Harvick two years ago when (Martin) Truex pushed me but it can happen to anybody especially now with double-file restarts.»

THE WEATHER LOOKS PRETTY GOOD THIS WEEKEND BUT IF WE DID GET A SHOWER OR TWO IS IT DIFFICULT RACING IN THE RAIN? «I’ve never driven one of these cars in the rain. Everything that I’ve driven in the rain I’ve been good at. I don’t know. Are we even racing in the rain in the Cup Series? I don’t think we do anyway. I don’t know.»

WHAT WAS IT LIKE THE FIRST TIME YOU WENT TO BRISTOL AND DO YOU ENJOY RACING THERE NOW? «The first time I went there was before they redid the track. It was a handful. It was really, really hard because you really had to be on the bottom. I think experience on the track paid a big thing. If you missed the bottom or they moved you up you would lose a lot of ground. Now I think it’s nicer. I think you see a lot more racing. You see a lot more side-by-side racing and there’s a lot of different race lines. The racing is better. We normally run well there so I’m pretty excited and looking forward to it.»

IT’S BEEN ABOUT TWO YEARS AND ONE MONTH SINCE YOUR FIRST CUP VICTORY, YOU’VE BEEN POINTS RACING TOWARD YOUR GOAL OF MAKING THE CHASE BUT YOU’VE BEEN CLOSE TO VICTORY FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS, HOW MUCH IS THE WINNING BUG ITCHING? «Of course you want to win. I wouldn’t say I don’t want to win but at the same time how far are you willing to push it? Like last week we finished second and we probably could have won last week if Kasey (Kahne) would have pushed me but it happens. If’s and but’s don’t count. Is it going to happen? I believe it’s going to happen pretty soon. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing until it happens. You start running second, third, fourth, leading some times every week and one week is going to start going your way and once its clicks I believe it’s going to start clicking.»

Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images
Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images
ON HIS CREW CHIEF BRIAN PATTIE AND WHAT HE CONTRIBUTES TO THE TEAM. «I think Brian and everybody on the team we all do our little part. I think one of the biggest things is we seem to have a very good relationship. We understand each other and it’s exciting. It’s his first full season as a Cup crew chief and he brought our team to a new level. It’s really nice to see. But it’s not only him, I think everybody from the shop to engineers, to people building the cars, everybody. It’s a full team effort. You gotta say Brian is the head guy there and he seems to be doing a great job.»

TALK ABOUT THAT POINT WHERE YOU COULD RECALL WHERE YOU STARTED SEEING THINGS TURN THE CORNER FOR THIS SEASON, MAYBE EVEN IN TERMS OF YOUR PROGRESSION AS A DRIVER. «I think the first season was pretty good and it was probably more than we expected for being our first season. Last year we started really good and then the crew chief changes started to happen and other things happened in the team and the performance went really bad. At the end of last year we had really good cars but we got involved in a lot of wrecks. We went from running 15th to 20th to like top-five’s and we dropped in the points every week. So you’ve got to be there at the end to score the points.»

HOW DID YOU KIND OF STAY MOTIVATED AND FOCUSED THROUGH ALL THAT, DID YOU THINK IT WOULD TAKE THAT LONG? «I never really expected it take any shorter than it has. I didn’t. If somebody came to me and said alright you being a Formula One driver you’re going to come here and you’re going to kick ass, I didn’t think it was going to happen. I think a couple of weeks when I felt comfortable and everything came out my way I could be fast but it was more hit and miss than anything else. Hit and miss with 76 races doesn’t help.»

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW DRIVERS IN NASCAR INTERACT WITH FANS DIFFERENTLY THAN MAYBE DRIVERS IN FORMULA ONE OR INDY RACING? «To be honest with you in Formula One you don’t really interact with the fans so much. I think the closest you get to the fans is when you do the parade in the morning like drivers intro. They do it early in the morning on race day. That’s the only time. You don’t even interact with them you wave at them but that’s about it. You park in a separate place where they don’t see you. They don’t really interact with you too much. Indy — I don’t know I was there 10 years ago so I don’t know. This is cool. For the fan I don’t think it gets much better than this.»

IF NASCAR CAME TO YOU WANTING INPUT ON THE SCHEDULE WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM? «I wouldn’t change a thing to be honest. I wouldn’t. I’ve been here for two years and it’s great. I don’t know. I could say I rather race here than there but one of the races I would say I wouldn’t like to go too much is Pocono but this week we finished second so I wouldn’t mind to go back there now (laughter).»

LAST WEEK AFTER POCONO A LOT OF PEOPLE GOT OUT OF THE CARS AND SAID WE DID THINGS WE NORMALLY WOULDN’T BE DOING, WE JUMPED OUT A LITTLE BIT AND MAYBE DID SOME THINGS THAT WERE A LITTLE BIT CRAZY DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO MAYBE BE MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN YOU ANTICIPATED IN WATCHING FOR POINTS AND WHAT NOT? «I think this place is going to be pretty interesting. I think if you get to0 aggressive here you’re going to actually DNF the race. Hopefully you’re in a good position and when it’s time to go you go. I always seem to pick up a lot of places around restarts and when it’s time to go I’m pretty good at going. Hopefully we keep it our way.»


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