Fontana, CA. Montoya — Friday media visit

NASCAR California Auto Racing
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at California Speedway and discussed what he expected from this weekend, how he and crew chief Brian Pattie communicate on the radio, how drivers race each other differently in the Chase and much more.

TELL US WHAT YOU EXPECT THIS WEEKEND. «I have no idea. I really don’t. I’ve told you before we haven’t even been on the track. Last time we run here we didn’t run as bad as we normally run here. It’s okay. We ran really good at the end and lost the balance a little. It should be pretty interesting. We’ve got a good car here. Like every other week.»

YOU’RE INTERESTED IN CLIMBING THE STANDINGS AREN’T YOU? «We’ve been third so far. We closed the gap a little. It’s still far away. I don’t like to get excited about it. I can’t. We’ve been having good finishes and everything and we’ve just got to keep doing that. Hopefully we can stay away from trouble and have good race cars. That’s all we can hope for. The pit crew is doing an amazing job. We’re bringing good race cars and I think everybody is doing their part. If we keep doing that we should be okay.»

WHEN YOU ARE OUT ON THE RACE TRACK AND YOU KNOW THESE GUYS AREN’T YOUR FRIENDS, DOES IT HELP YOU BATTLE THEM MORE? «I think I have a pretty good relationship with most of the drivers so I’m good with that. I think everybody knows once you’re on the race track it’s not about friendship, it’s about getting the job done. Isn’t it at the end of the day? It’s pretty interesting to see how guys in the Chase, they race you one way before the Chase started and now people are not really giving too much even early in the races. It’s kind of surprising. People that give you’ll give and people who don’t you won’t. You just play the same game as they are playing.»


NOT AT ALL? «You know in a way Formula One is very European. There was a couple of Brazilian drivers but for me I felt like I was a foreigner there. When I came to Indy Cars it was the same thing. It’s the nature of the sport. It doesn’t really matter where you are from. I think it matters whether you perform or not. Getting the job done. At the end of the day for us right now is to drive the Target Chevy as fast as we can and deliver or try to deliver as much as we can. Some weeks you do and some weeks you don’t.»

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
THEY LET US LISTEN TO YOU AND BRIAN ON THE RADIO AND SOMETIMES YOU GET INTO IT WITH HIM, DO YOU HAVE A SAFE WORD BEFORE IT’S ALL OVER? «Most of the time it’s pretty good. There’s times when the car is bad and he needs to know how bad it is. I try to explain it as good as I can (laughing) and verbally as I can and it is what is it you know. I hear all kinds of comments of people saying oh you shouldn’t be saying that on the radio. It’s a private channel. You can listen to it but it’s a private channel. We say what needs to be said. When I make a mistake I’ll say I made a mistake. At the end of the day you probably only listen to half of the things that are said. Brian says I wish every time I talked I pressed the button and it’s not the case actually. It gets worse.»

YOU SAID THE CHASE GUYS RACE YOU DIFFERENTLY NOW THAN THEY DID EARLIER IN THE SEASON, WHAT ABOUT THE NON-CHASE GUYS? «They’ve been very good. Most of the people that are non-Chase drivers are very good. They give you a lot of room and you’ve got to respond the same way. There’s not much more you can do. Everybody is still racing. By you being in the Chase you’ve got to be aware as well that you’re vulnerable. People can run over you pretty easy. I think you help yourself by giving them the space because they don’t have much to lose compared to us.»

DID YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU RACED DURING THE CHASE IN PREVIOUS YEARS? «We were not fast enough to race against them. The end of last year we had a decent car actually. If they give you room, you’ll give them room. If they don’t give you an inch you ain’t going to give them an inch. It’s that simple. There’s not a rule about it but I think everybody that drives a Cup car knows how it works.»

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
WHEN YOU’RE TALKING WITH BRIAN IN REGARDS TO WHAT TO DO WITH THE CAR ON THE NEXT PIT STOP, HOW MUCH ARE YOU MAKING THE DECISION, HOW MUCH ARE YOU RELYING ON HIM TO MAKE THE DECISION? «I try to explain as good as I can what the car is doing but at the end of the day the guy making the decision is him. I let him make the decisions. Sometimes I question decisions. Sometimes I give him an idea and he will question the idea. I think it’s very open but if I’m not specific of what I want, and it’s about 99 percent of the time, I just tell him exactly what is the problem and he’ll find a way to make it better. We know what not to do and we have learned what not to do and just deal with it.»

IT SEEMS LIKE THE THIRD YEAR FOR A GUY IN CUP YOU PRETTY MUCH KNOW WHETHER OR NOT HE CAN DO IT, HOW CONFIDENT WERE YOU YOU’D BE IN THIS POSITION THIS COMPETITIVE? «You can’t say the third year is the year because if you’re not in the right car, if you’re in a Hendrick car and it’s your first year you better perform, that’s the way I look at it. If I didn’t make the Chase this year because we didn’t work hard enough it would be a problem but we worked hard enough and we would have missed it and it could have happened we could have missed it but at least we were competitive and we put ourselves in a good position to be competitive. That’s all you can ask for.»

WHEN YOU CAME TO NASCAR YOU CAME WITH A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE, THE ATTITUDE IS WHENEVER WE (THE SPANISH LANGUAGE MEDIA) WOULD TRY TO GET A ONE-TO-ONE INTERVIEW WITH YOU WE WERE ALWAYS DENIED, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND SPANISH LANGUAGE MEDIA IS ALSO IMPORTANT ESPECIALLY FOR YOU, WAS IT YOU OR YOUR PEOPLE? «I don’t make decisions. They tell me where to go and what to do. I don’t make the decisions on what interviews to do. They think which interviews are worth doing and which ones are not.»

SO WE’RE NOT IMPORTANT? «I don’t know. If you would say today it was more worth it for Target than a Latin interview I would think so. There is a certain amount of time you always spend with the media. I do try to do a lot of interviews when in Columbia. NASCAR brought some Columbia media and Latin media to Daytona. Because you haven’t got an interview I wouldn’t assume everybody didn’t. The other thing is every other driver you mentioned is Mexican so I think the background that you cover is maybe very different.»

Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images
WITH HOW STRONG JIMMIE (JOHNSON) HAS BEEN AT THIS TRACK IN THE PAST, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT BEING PART OF THE CHASE THIS YEAR? «I know they made the wrong call in the race last week and they should have put on four tires and they probably would have finished a lot better than where they finished but for me I think last week, this week and probably Martinsville are the three tracks I look forward to trying not to lose as many points as I can against Jimmie. The way I see it is if you can go through those three races without getting yourself out of reach of Jimmie you’ll be fine.»

ABOUT 12 RACES LEFT TO GO BEFORE THE REGULAR SEASON ENDED YOU GAVE US A NUMBER AS TO WHAT YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD TAKE TO MAKE THE CHASE AND THAT TURNED OUT TO BE PRETTY RIGHT ON, HAVE YOU COME UP WITH A NUMBER THAT YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE TO WIN THE CHASE AT THIS POINT? «I don’t think there’s a number for the Chase. We had a plan and if you look at it since Chicago the year before we sat down and we said we’re good, we’ve got this, we’ve got that, this is what we’ve got going, this is what’s happening so it was very easy. In the Chase it’s a different ballgame. It’s not about averages, it’s not about finishing fifth, it’s about winning. The only way to win is to score more points than anybody else. It’s not easy. We started the season with a 40-point deficit because we didn’t win any races.

«Now that you look back at it you’ll be thinking I wish we would have won a couple of races. It’s not like I didn’t try you know but it’s where we are. We are working hard at it. We would be very happy if we got to Homestead with a mathematical chance of winning the championship. It would be huge for us, more than anything. If you can actually go through the 10 races and still be a contender that would be great.»

NOW THAT IS LOOKS LIKE DANICA (PATRICK) IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE DRIVING A STOCK CAR NEXT YEAR WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO HER? «I wouldn’t be driving both cars to be honest. I just wouldn’t. I wouldn’t do it because they drive so different. You’re going to get comfortable in one thing and then you’re going to make it to the other thing and every times it’s going to be like night and day. When I drive the 24 hours and I get to Daytona it feels really weird and I’ve been driving stock cars for three years now. I do two test days and the race and come back for the (Daytona) 500 and it feels really weird to drive again. So, I wouldn’t.»

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