Kansas City, KS. Montoya — Friday media visit (+video)

Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images
Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed running at Kansas, his outlook for the Chase, the competition, and more.

WHAT’S YOUR OUTLOOK ON KANSAS? «I don’t know. You know I haven’t even done a single lap so it’s hard to say our outlook. It’s been good. We normally run pretty good on the 1.5-mile tracks. This is pretty close to Chicago. We had a decent race there, not the best. We were I think top-10 there. You just got to see how good the car is. I think it’s a new car, I’m not 100 percent sure but I think it is. It’s one of those deals. I really just don’t know.»

CAN YOU TELL US HOW IMPORTANT YOU THINK IT IS TO HAVE A CREW CHIEF THAT REALLY PUSHES THE BOUNDARIES? «You’ve got to have someone who is willing to go all the way. Of course within the regulations but you’ve got to have somebody that is determined as you are. You’ve got to have somebody that matches your style. I believe that every time I’m in the car I try to give 100 percent. There’s going to be good and bad days even when you do that but on the same side as a crew chief some weekends you unload and you’re going to have a great car and some weekend’s you’re just not going to be so good. If you work together well and you’re determined things will happen.»

LAST WEEK JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID THAT HE HOPE THE COMPETITION WOULD BE SCARED WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? «They did good last week but the last time they were there they did good as well so it wasn’t a surprise. You look at their performance in Loudon and it wasn’t that good. I don’t know. I don’t care. At the end of the day, and he’s probably thinking the same thing, you’ve got to run as good as you can and hope that what you do is better than anybody else. If it is great if it isn’t well.»

YOUR THOUGHTS ON CALIFORNIA NEXT WEEK AND IT BEING ADDED TO THE CHASE. «I would rather have Atlanta to be honest. I always run really well at Atlanta. At the same time we ran pretty good there last time we were there. It was very early in the season and even then I think we had decent cars. Right now we’ve got much more competitive cars. Going to California it’s going to be exciting. You’ve got to be very open-minded. We’re bringing our best stuff every week and you’ve got to hope what you bring is good enough. Some weeks you’re good enough for a top-five and some weeks maybe good enough to win and some weeks you kind of look at yourself and you know finish 12th or 15th. Everybody is going to go through it right now.»

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT ANY INSTANCE RECENTLY WHERE YOU’VE SEEN YOUR TEAM STEP UP? «I think everybody is just more relaxed. I think that the bigger thing. Everybody is calm and everybody knows what they’ve got to do. Being realistic our goal was really making the Chase and there was a lot of pressure on everybody to do that and we did. Of course you want to run well, of course you want to fight for the championship but this is a bonus for us right now. Everybody is pumped up about it and everybody is trying to bring their a-game every week and everybody is doing it. That’s the biggest difference. There were always people concerned on the pit stops oh let’s not make any mistakes and now it’s time to go. It’s exciting and the same with the driving.»

Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images
Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images
HAVE YOU DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY THIS YEAR, MENTALLY OR PHYSICALLY TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW? «Not really. I’m flying planes, I wasn’t flying (biplanes) last year (laughs), that’s the only difference to be honest. No, I really don’t. Something that’s really good is having a family. When you leave the race track you have so many things to do that I don’t really think about the racing. I wake up every morning at 6:30 and I take my kid to school. Then I get home and get the girl ready and then you take the girl to school. My wife gave me a biplane for Christmas and I’m getting that ready and it’s getting pretty close and I’m getting pretty excited. So I get to the warehouse at 10:00 in the morning and its eight o’clock at night and I’m still there. So, you know what I mean? I’m always entertained so it’s pretty cool.»

ABOUT THE CHASE «A championship is beating everybody else. We come here to race and to win races and to win races you’ve got to beat everybody else. We know that we’ve got good cars. We know we’re in a very good position but at the end of the day it’s ten races. So nothing really has happened. I think you’ve got to wait five or six races and see where you are. And if you’re still in this good position after six races then you go, okay, what do we need to do from now on. And have kind of a game plane. Right now it’s all about all you can get.»

DO YOU THINK THE NO. 5 (MARK MARTIN) AND THE NO. 48 (JIMMIE JOHNSON) CAN KEEP UP THE PACE THEY’VE BEEN ON THE PAST TWO RACES? AND CAN YOU KEEP UP THE PACE THAT YOU’VE BEEN ON? «If you look at our pace and ours, it’s been right there. I don’t know (laughs). I’m really trying to think. You’ve got to say oh the No. 48. The No. 48 won three championships in a row. So what am I going to say?»

IS IT GOING TO TAKE TOP FIVES? «Oh, I think it’s going to take top fives all year. And I’ll be honest with you. I think more than the No. 48, I would be worried about the No. 5 car. You know, the No. 48 either really shines, really shiny, like perfect and everything. They have picture perfect days or they have average 10-place days. Where the No. 5 car kind of struggles all day and he finishes second, third, or wins? Second, third, win every freakin’ week you know? (laughter)»

DO YOU HAVE EIGHT MORE TOP FIVES IN YOU? «How many do I have this year? Two in the Chase. I don’t know. Hopefully (laughs). Hey, I’m serious, you know? It’s like we unload every Friday with our best car or what we think is our best car, and what we think is the best motor we should run right now, and we go out and everything works and all the information and simulations that say we should run the car this way, we do. We put it on the race track and if it’s good enough, great. You know there have been weeks this year where we unload and you’re 20th. And you go, uh, oh. It’s like do you think guys running 20th in the championship are not doing that? Everybody’s doing that. It’s just that some people are doing it better than others and understand the car better than others. That’s all there is. Right now, (crew chief) Brian (Pattie) and everybody on the team really understands what I want out of a car and how to get that. And that’s why we’re so good right now.»

SOME DRIVERS, AT CHASE TIME, GET VERY IN THEIR HEADS AND WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO? FOR SOME, THE TOUGHNESS OF IT CAN BREAK THEM. YOU SEEM TO BE, EH? «It’s 10 races you know? The Formula I championship was 15 races. So this is like a normal season for me (laughs).»

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THAT WAY? DO YOU GET REALLY IN YOUR HEAD ABOUT IT OR DO YOU JUST KIND OF ROLL WITH IT? «I’ve been in two positions. I’ve been like on my head about it and the more you put it in your head the more you screw up. Or, the more you put it in your head sometimes it works. So, I’m just really enjoying the ride (laughs). You know, think about it. It’s our first Chase. And nobody gave a penny for this team at the beginning of the year or the year before or the year before. Right now, the way we’re running, everybody is like oh my God. It’s like, wow. Where is that coming from? I think for a lot of people it still doesn’t make any sense how we can run that good. And if you really look at what Chip (Ganassi) has done in the past and what I’ve done in the past and what the good people we’ve got around us are doing, you shouldn’t expect any less. You know I didn’t come here and sign with Chip thinking I know it’s not a very good team right now and I’m just happy to run 20th every week. Hell no, you know? It wouldn’t happen.»


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