JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed the racing at Talladega, who to work with during the race, his season to-date and other topics.
YOU HAVE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS HERE THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS TRACK: “I think it is a cool place. With the restrictor plate, at least the way it used to be, it was always about putting yourself in a good position and we always find a way to do that and, stay out of trouble. The biggest thing is to stay out of trouble early. Run really smart. You are always going to get cautions and things, so you have to play it really smart all day. It is going to be interesting with the pushing because, different than Daytona, there is so much more room out here. I think you can run four wide easily, if not more. It is going to be quite a challenge to know when to go and what to do and how aggressive to go. You saw that at Daytona, that four laps to go, people got crazy and man, there were big wrecks happening. It is going to be quite a challenge as always.”
IT SEEMS THAT YOU AND JAMIE (MCMURRAY) ARE HAVING THE EXACT OPPOSITE SEASONS AS LAST YEAR, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? “I think I put myself, a lot of times, in bad positions and it didn’t help, but we did have a lot of bad luck. I think this year, we came in with a really positive attitude and everybody on the team and everybody on the team is really positive about everything we do. Even if we get bad breaks in a race, we are like ‘Don’t worry about, we’ll go through this…make it work.’ And we always do. I think when things go wrong, you start over-doing things and it keeps getting worse and you are making the hole bigger. I did that last year, at least personally. Jamie, I don’t know what happened to him last week to be honest. He was running around where I was running all day.”
HAS HE (JAMIE MCMURRAY) TALKED TO YOU AT ALL ABOUT WHAT YOU WENT THROUGH LAST YEAR? “We talk in the meetings and things about it. I will give you an example. We went to Martinsville and they asked me what is your strategy? We always do team meetings on race day. I said ‘My strategy today is anger management’. It was. I said ‘If I can get out of here without screaming on the radio or screaming at somebody, I did a really good job’. That is what we are doing. Trying to run smarter. Learn to pick your battles. You know, the races are so long, that you forget that. Sometimes even at a place like here, you run hard and you run hard and you look and you still have 400 miles to go. It’s like ‘What are you doing?’. I have been very self-conscious about that and making sure that when the car is not good, get the most out of it, be patient. Don’t give up. Let’s get to a pit stop; let’s try to make some changes. As long as everybody knows I am in it, they will be in it as well. It is working really well.”
WHO DO YOU WANT HEAR AND TALK TO ON YOUR RADIO ON SUNDAY? “I get along ok with everybody. I have a really good relationship with Todd, my spotter and Brian (Pattie, crew chief). Sometimes it is funny because sometimes after a pit stop I will ask a question and they are looking at the tires and I get on the radio ‘Heeelllloooo, I’m here. Can somebody answer me?’ Generally its pretty good.”
WHAT ABOUT OTHER DRIVERS AND OTHER TEAMS DURING THE RACE? “Hell no! (LAUGHS) We did that with McMurray. The only person I really wanted to have on the radio is Jamie because that was focus, in the 500 that was the focus. I would assume as a team, we are going to do the same here. I’m not 100% sure. You plan so much and everything and I end up pushing Kurt Busch at the of the race. I don’t know. You plan everything and you get to a restart and the guy in front of you is a different guy. You can either go, there is always choices. You make a decision and sometimes you make the right ones and sometimes you make the wrong one. But, I always try to be very loyal. When I tell somebody I am going to be with them, I will be with them all the time. It seems to pay off because that way they know. You have to have a partner to work together.”
SEVERAL DRIVERS HAVE TALKED ABOUT HOW MENTALLY CHALLENGING THIS RACE IS, IS THERE ANYTHING FROM YOUR OTHER FORMS OF RACING YOU CAN COMPARE THIS TO? “For me actually, the hardest race I have ever had in difficulty in the five years I’ve been here or four and a-half years I have been here. It was last week for some reason. It was so so hard. The car was a handful, it was really hard. Here, at the beginning, it used to be, but lately we take the approach of riding the 100 laps and I’ll go to the back of the pack and just ride. You just have to make sure you just stay in line and don’t do anything, just be smart about how you do things and it seems to work. I think always it is all about timing. You can go too early, you can go too late. It is about making the right decisions when you are up there. I don’t know exactly, I assume that everybody is going to be two-by-two-by-two. There are so many people that spin off and things. You know, Jamie spun me and I spun (Greg) Biffle and I spun two or three times in Daytona in the race. You have got to avoid that, you know what I mean? You have to put yourself in the best possible scenario possible at the end of the race with the best car possible. Underneath my car everything was broken at the end of race in the 500 because of all the spins and the flat tires and everything. I think we have to be smart about that. We have got to make sure. We push and this place is a little bit easier. Especially when you are riding, it is very easy to make a mistake.”
-source: team chevy