Montoya Racks Up Another Top Five- Finishes Third in California
Results from Auto Club Speedway
1. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet
3. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet
22. Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Guitar Hero 5 Chevrolet
Fontana, Cal. (October 12, 2009) – Team Target posted another impressive finish heading into the fourth Chase race at Auto Club Speedway over the weekend. Montoya was a strong contender right from the start as he posted the quickest speed in the first practice session and then positioned the No. 42 Target Chevrolet in fourth for the start of the Pepsi 500. Come race time, Montoya led 78 laps before crossing the finish line in the third position in a final three lap shootout. The strong performance credits Montoya as the only Chase driver to finish in the top five for all four Chase races and helped him maintain his third place standing in the points.
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship continues and the Target team came prepared for the on-track battle. With their favorite chassis in tow, Montoya was fast right off the truck. The No. 42 Target Chevrolet was on top of the leader board when the initial practice session came to a close. Qualifying took an interesting turn for Montoya as the Target machine got extremely loose on his second qualifying lap and grazed the wall. Montoya kept his foot on the gas and, with minor damage to the side of the car, placed the No. 42 in the fourth position for the race.
It didn’t take long for Montoya to find his way to the front of the field come race time. On lap 25, Montoya took over the lead and would find himself in that position a total of seven times throughout the day. The Target Chevrolet would never fall out of the top-10 during the 250-lap race and was continually credited as the fastest car out on the track. A total of seven pit stops were made for minor adjustments to help the handling due to the changing track conditions from the weather getting warmer. The race winner would be determined in a three lap shootout at the end of the day. Montoya would line up fourth on the final restart and battle it out for position until the very end. He advanced one position to cross the finish line in third.
«It was fun. The Target Chevy was good all day. We were really good when it was cloudy,” explained Montoya. “We’ve been having good finishes and everything and we’ve just got to keep doing that. We try to stay away from trouble and have good race cars. That’s all we can hope for. The pit crew is doing an amazing job. I think everybody is doing their part. If we keep doing that we should be okay for the remaining races in the Chase.”
Montoya maintains his third place standing in the Chase leaving California. There is a 58-point deficit between he and new leader Jimmie Johnson when teams enter the fifth race of the Chase at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America will air live on ABC and PRN radio at 7 pm (EST) on Saturday, October 17.