Bristol, TN. Montoya — Friday media visit

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Bristol, how big of a race this weekend is with the Chase approaching, his comfort level with this car and much more.

YOU’VE SAID ALL ALONG YOUR GOAL IS TO GET IN THE CHASE, HOW BIG OF A RACE IS IT THIS WEEKEND IN BRISTOL? «I think it’s as big as any. We finished top-10 last time we were here and I think we’ve got a good car. We found a lot of stuff on the car in the last few weeks is making the car run faster and we’ve got a couple of good ideas for this week so it should be good. We should have a good race car here.»

YOU DIDN’T EXACTLY HAVE A STERLING RECORD BEFORE YOUR RUN BACK HERE IN THE SPRING, WAS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT CLICKED? «I thought we run good before. The first year was hard. The first time here it was hard and our cars were not that fast. Last year I thought we run pretty good. I’ve qualified on the front row here before. We’ve been okay here. If you say not sterling, last week was a horrible track. We had a good car, just got involved with Kasey (Kahne) there when he ran into me, we blew a tire, no rear brakes or anything. It was okay.»

WHICH OF THE 10 CHASE TRACKS DO YOU CONSIDER TOUGHEST FOR YOU? «I don’t know. Haven’t got to think that far ahead to tell you the truth. To tell you the truth I think all of them are pretty good race tracks for me. I don’t see any race where I would say oh. I think probably the weakest one may be California but we had a good run there. I think the way races are going and you’re running a lot more under the green than before, I think fuel strategy is going to play more into this year’s Chase than before. I think consistency is really going to be key. You’ve got to win races but you’ve got to be up there every week.»

DO YOU THINK YOUR PHILOSOPHY WILL CHANGE AT ALL ONCE YOU GET INTO THE CHASE AS FAR AS HOW YOU RUN RACES? «You will take a little more chances for one side. First of all we’ve got to get in. Whatever happens whether you get in or not I think after that you can go a little more aggressive. I think the pit call can be a little more aggressive and stuff like that. We’ve played it very conservative making sure we always got enough fuel to get to the end. You’ve got to count the green-white-checker, you’ve got to count all that because if you don’t, look at what happened to the No. 5 car last week. They had a great points day going and they actually lost points. You can’t do that trying to make the Chase.»

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOU COMFORT LEVEL WITH THEIS PARTICULAR CAR? «Right now I struggled more with the other car than the newer car. I don’t know why. I just feel more comfortable in this one. Every time we run the COT against the old car in the first year, most of the time I struggled with the old car. We did have 1.5-mile race tracks where we ran good but there were like four race tracks where we ran good, everywhere else wasn’t that much fun.»

HAVE YOU RESOLVED THE ISSUE WITH KASEY (KAYNE), A LOT CAN HAPPEN AT THIS TRACK VERY QUICKLY DO YOU KEEP THAT IN MIND WHEN YOU ARE RACING? «I think everywhere. I haven’t talked to Kasey at all. I know my crew chief talked to him last night. He talked to him about it but I haven’t. I don’t know. I don’t get what he’s trying to do. I think the position we’re in we’ve got to be smart about not wrecking each other and get into the Chase. I’m okay. It’s just frustrating because you just want to have nice, quiet days.»

EVERY BODY WANTS TO KNOW WHAT YOU JUST SAID (REGARDING ANSWERING THE QUESTION ABOUT RACING AT BRISTOL IN SPANISH). «I just said the race track is pretty cool. It’s improved a lot since they changed the concrete. Good side-by-side racing. Things happen pretty quickly here. You’ve just got to be heads up all the time.»

HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY CHANGE IN FOCUS WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION BECAUSE YOU’RE TRYING TO HOLD ON TO A CHASE POSITION? «No, I think we’ve got very good momentum in our sight. Our team everybody is really focusing on building good race cars. We keep finding lighter race cars, better parts, better set-ups and everybody is just very motivated right now to run good. It’s not about proving anybody right or wrong, it’s about getting the job done. They understand why we are here and it seems to be working pretty good.»

COULD YOU GO OVER SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE CLICKED THIS YEAR WHEN PAST YEARS HAVEN’T BEEN AS SUCCESSFUL? «I think last year there was a lot of disruption with crew chief changes, closing one team, getting rid of some people, getting rid of some more people, doing here, going there. All those things really hurt because every crew chief has his way of thinking of how the car should be run. Then a group of engineers that work with him they all have different ideas. Everything doesn’t come together and everybody starts pulling in the same direction, it takes time. If you are an engineer and there is another guy and your idea is completely opposite to the other guy, sometimes both ways can work but there is always a better way and you’ve got to figure out which one it is.»

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