NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500
Topics: Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500
Juan Pablo Montoya
August 3, 2009
LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA
KERRY THARP: We're going to go ahead and roll into our post race press conference of today's race at Pocono Raceway. We're pleased to be joined in the infield media center by Juan Pablo Montoya. He came in second today. He drives the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.
Juan, got to tell you, last week, super performance, and you followed it up with another strong outing this afternoon. Your thoughts?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: To tell you the truth, it's the same car actually. The same car we had last week. You know, we brought it because it just ran good last week. We thought just bring it back.
I don't know. It runs good, you know. Same thing as last week: we were really strong in clean air, but in the back, we'd really struggle. It's just the way I'm driving the car. It runs really good in clean air. When is few cars, is okay. But when is whole field, seems like you just have to change the whole setup. Makes life a little tough.
We had a lot of problems. I overshot the pit stops once. Actually first time I pit in, you never go through any boxes. The perception was different. I thought I would be fine. I screw up a couple times. Was a good learning thing.
We had a loose wheel. Everybody came in and took two tires. I came in and took four. We lost like 15 places there. But we had great fuel mileage. I think that really played into our hands today.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Juan Pablo Montoya.
Q. Talk a little bit about the decision your crew chief made that really helped you, to pit.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: We pitted basically as early -- I think this racetrack, by tradition, you pick up so much in tires, and track position is so important, everybody was running together. We decided to come in when we could make the 'green-white-checkered'. We probably could have come in earlier than that. I know I needed a little bit of cautions. But had four or five more laps on the racetrack before I stopped, and still made it. So we were pretty good.
Q. Juan, down the stretch, did he speed up or did you fall off a little getting that big edge on you?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think couple laps, he was pulling about a 10th a second a lap on me. At the end we kind of ran the same lap time. He had a little bit faster car than us.
It was okay. I knew we had a very good car in clean air. Just in traffic it was horrible.
KERRY THARP: Let's hear now from Clint Bowyer. We have our third-place finisher in today's race. Clint drives the No. 33 Hartford Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Clint. You were up front most of the afternoon. Looked like maybe you were going to get one there today. Your thoughts about your performance?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I mean, you know, we had a decent car. It was fast in practice. We just lost way too much track position on pit road all day long. Kept battling by. Shane with his call bailed us all on the team, the Chevrolet. I was proud of his call there. We stuck it out. Things worked or way.
Haven't really been going our way exactly all year long. So it feels good to have something swing your way a little bit. We're not out of this thing. We've got to keep plugging away. I think we're 115 out. There's still a lot of racing left.
I feel like, you know, if we get our act together, we can still fight.
KERRY THARP: We'll continue with questions.
Q. Juan, on the last restart there, you got hit pretty hard. Did you think you were going to lose it? Talk about that a little bit.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: He was kind of funny. Actually first guy that hit me was the 77. Went into the second group behind Clint. They just hit me and I just turned right straight up the hill so the car wouldn't spun. I managed to get back on the gas. I saw 11 going by. Then I see the 9 car just coming straight at the wall. I just turned left to make sure when he hit me, I wouldn't crash into the wall.
Actually came out pretty good (laughter).
Q. Do you think the wildness of the last 30 or 40 laps was made even more wild just because most of you guys haven't won in a while who were racing?
CLINT BOWYER: Restarts.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Restarts makes it interesting. In our head, I told them, I think we have a car that can win the race. I think the biggest thing was where the 11 was going to be. I thought I had a car fast enough to hold 11. I got hit in the last restart, and he passed me.
I don't know. Ifs and buts out, my goal is making the Chase. That's the bigger picture. If I make the Chase, they won't remember this guy won the race, this one didn't. The 18 won three races this year. He's probably like 150 points out or something. You know what I mean? They won't be talking that he won three races. They'll be talking he made the Chase.
I think right now with the Chase, it's very important to make it. A year ago when I sat down with Brian, our goal was to make the Chase this year. And we did, so far.
Q. Knowing you from CART, you're setting up for Watkins Glen. The two races give you the momentum for that type of race?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: For us going to a road course is good, especially that one. In Sonoma our car never runs good. Watkins Glen we normally got a really good car. For us, if we can get a top five out of there, I know we can probably win the race, but if we get a top five out of there, the points for the Chase would be huge.
Q. Juan, aside from the contact you had with the 77, you also made contact before that.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No, no, no. Really, he told me tight. I still had the bottom groove. I just got really tight.
Q. My question is, did it impact the car at all?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No, no, no, no.
Q. This is one of the best races the year. Like a Talladega race. You finished second, had a chance to win. You're really a race driver. Don't take that the wrong way. You really look like a good race driver, championship caliber. Do you feel you've made a jump in the last couple weeks?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: What we say with Brian is let's get into the Chase and then let's have some fun. I think we got fast racecars. I think we just starting to push more the envelope with everything we do. I think if we make it, we might have a shot at this.
KERRY THARP: Juan, thank you very much. We'll continue with questions for Clint Bowyer.
Q. The strategies the last 150 laps, I didn't know who was taking two or four tires. How do you know what's going on?
CLINT BOWYER: You just got to pay attention as much as you can. You know who's been running up front all day long, because you're watching them on the scoreboard, you're watching them in your windshield.
We had to make a call. We were losing way too much time on pit road every time we'd go in. We had to do something. We couldn't go back down pit road. We gambled on fuel mileage. I didn't think I'd lead that much. I was prepared to try to get it back up and have a top five or maybe even a top 10 was what I was thinking.
Once the cautions fell there, it gave me enough room to get out and get away of those guys with tires and things like that. But it is wild. This double-file restart has really opened the door up for a lot of position changing, a lot of jockeying around for positioning at the end of the races.
It's doing its job. It's creating havoc and everything else. I think as a fan, though, it's making it exciting. You have to look at it from that side. There's both sides of the fence on our side of it. As a racecar driver, you're going to get the good end of the stick and the bad end of the stick. It's just whether or not it's your turn or not.
As a fan, I think it's a good thing.
Q. Clint, you finished third. I think Kevin Harvick finished 12th. What kind of shot in the arm can this give RCR?
CLINT BOWYER: There's no question we're getting better. Did we run third all day? No. We made good decisions and we stuck with it and we made it happen. These are the things that we need to do. What we got, five races? If we can top five the rest of these, we can do it.
All of them except for, you know, Watkins Glen I've run in the top five at. I feel like these are good tracks for us. If I can get through Watkins Glen, we got a shot at 'em.
Q. Do you think the fact all you guys haven't won in a while made it even more dicey?
CLINT BOWYER: No. I mean, everybody's trying to win. But everybody's on different agendas. Like Juan said, he's trying to make the Chase. He's never made the Chase before. They set out to make the Chase. That's what he's going for, you know.
Of course, you want to win. I was trying to win. I was kind of a sitting duck. Once they caught me, they caught me. But we did the best we could. Just like you always do, you give it a hundred percent. Sometimes it's good enough. Sometimes it's not.
Q. You touched on Watkins Glen. At Sonoma you have an average finish of about eighth. You're capable at road courses. Could you compare the two.
CLINT BOWYER: Watkins Glen is so much more high speed. Wide open, balls to the wall. Sonoma is a lot more technical, a little bit slower. I've got the hang of Sonoma obviously. Just working on Watkins Glen. We're getting better. But we got to improve our, you know, finish.
Q. Just talk about the rain washing the rubber off the track.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I mean, the rain threw everybody for a loop. You just had to be ready for it. Whichever way your car went, whether it was tight or loose, it was gonna change 20 or 30 laps into the race when the track started taking rubber.
We did a good job of fixing our balance. We got way too loose once the heat and the rubber and everything else, we were too loose. We were able to tighten it up. That's what you got to have. You got to have enough adjustability built into your racecar to be able to do that.
KERRY THARP: Thank you, Clint.
CLINT BOWYER: Thank you.
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