Montoya Maintains Position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings
BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 17, 2009) – Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Target team were able to maintain the seventh position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings (NSCS) after another top-20 performance in the Michigan 400 yesterday by finishing 19th – a finish that did not come easy.
Montoya had a fast car that qualified in the third spot but as the race started rain drops began to hit the track in turn one and on lap eight the race was red-flagged for rain. After a 30 minute rain-delay the cars got back onto the track with Montoya restarting in the seventh position. As the day wore on the car became increasingly tight. With each pit stop Team Target continued to adjust the car, loosening it up. Montoya continued to battle, keeping the car inside the top-10 for the majority of the afternoon.
With nearly three quarters of the race in the books, the left rear tire of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet was hit by the splitter of the No. 9, cutting the tire. Montoya did everything he could to control the car and get it back to pit lane with minimum damage. The No. 42 Target Chevy suffered some damage to the left rear quarter panel and a severed brake line. Team Target got the car fixed, and quickly back onto the track, losing just two laps. Montoya was able to gain a lap back by staying out under a timely caution on lap 145. Soon thereafter the team received another stroke of good luck when the caution flag flew on lap 157. As the first car one lap down, the No. 42 Target Chevy received the Lucky Dog pass. Montoya was back on the lead lap with 40 laps to go and in 34th-place.
Good on fuel, Montoya continued to battle his way through traffic eventually finishing 19th after racing past some competitors. He would also gain a few spots due to some competitors running out of fuel during the final laps. In what could have amounted into a tough day, the No. 42 team battled back and salvaged a respectable finish.
Montoya remains in seventh position in the NSCS standings. While he was able to stand his ground, the race for the chase is getting tighter. Montoya is now 108 points out of both fourth and 13th. The top-20 finish was his 19th in 23 Cup races in 2009.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now moves to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Sharpie 500 on Aug. 22 — Saturday night race. Race coverage begins on ESPN at 6:30 pm EDT and will also be broadcast live on the MRN Radio Network beginning at 6:30 pm EDT.