Grand-Am Rolex Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Topics: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Juan Pablo Montoya
January 25, 2009
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
J.J. O'MALLEY: Great race, guys. We're joined by our 2nd place finishers, trying to make it a record for TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing, with Felix Sabates.
Juan Pablo Montoya going for your third in a row. What a final hour. Take us through it, the pass that was made for you in the lead and your attempts to get back by him.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I don't think I ever made any attempts to go back by it. I tried, but the amount of power they have on the straights. I'm actually surprised we finished second. I think everybody at Chip Ganassi were making jokes. They drove their ass off well and we stayed in the lead most of the race. And it's one of those deals.
I was actually surprised we even fought for the win, to be honest. Everything -- the rumors and the Penske would drive away from us easily. I drove my butt off. I knew if I would get any traffic in the backstop I was done. And I did. And I did, and I was done. And it didn't matter how many times they made mistakes. And they just kept driving off and driving off for me, even when I was in the draft.
But it's what it is. And they're going to have a fun year.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Scott Pruett, you won this eight times in class, three times overall. Talk about your emotions in this event. I know you had a couple of long shifts there in the race.
SCOTT PRUETT: I couldn't be more prouder for the whole Ganassi operation, with TELMEX and Lexus. And, of course, the job that Juan Pablo and Memo did. We gave it 110 percent. It was actually a little bit better than what we expected. And congratulations to the Brumos guys for finally getting their first victory. I know they've been chasing after that.
But it is a little frustrating. I mean, when guys just drive by you, it just never seems right, no matter what you do. Everything will get evened out. I can't say enough about the whole Ganassi organization, with Lexus and TELMEX to come back here and run as strong as we did the whole time and never miss a beat. Again, the car never had a problem at all. The car didn't have a problem.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Memo Rojas, our defending co-champion Daytona prototypes, talk about your emotions finishing second.
MEMO ROJAS: I agree with Scott and Juan. I just want to congratulate my team. They did an awesome job all weekend. We have the car to win. We didn't have the power to win, but I mean Juan and Scott, literally, it was a very difficult race. We had to drive 10, 10 through most of the race. Although there wasn't much rain, there was few yellow flags as compared to previous years. And you could see how it came up for a 24-hour race to be that tight in the end with Juan driving like a qualifying, like in a one-hour qualifying session. That was pretty impressive.
So congratulations to Brumos again; and, well, they have won the season.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Questions for our 2nd place finishers?
Q. Juan, tell me about your drive. The last hour looked like the hardest I've seen you drive in this race. And seeing how the Brumos cars pulled away from the in-car footage on the straights. Earlier in the race they seemed to pull away handily, didn't seem anything that could be done. The last hour, while you couldn't get by, once they went past, you stayed with them. Were you driving as hard as you've ever driven here?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yes. There was no question. I couldn't go out there and pass them what I was doing there. Every corner it was like 110 percent everywhere. And it was fun, because we drove like that the last two hours. And didn't make any mistakes.
And when you do that, as a driver, it brings a lot of pleasure. As we said, even when they were in traffic and stuck in the backstop, we could get runs on them, beside them. But they would clear us, like we were not even there. So hopefully go out and do something about it and next year we'll have a lot more power.
Q. Juan, when you were getting chased down by Donohue, looked like both of you were trying everything you could think of to get the job done. You trying to stay ahead and him trying to get back. You almost hit once out there just before you headed into the bus stop. Did you think at that point that there was any chance that you could hold him off?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No. (Laughter) You know, I wanted to hold him off, but you could hold off the 59. The 58 had a lot more power. And you could hear it. The two motors would sound different than everything.
It was a matter of time. It was a matter of time. I had four, five car lengths on them. And they had four car lengths, I knew when I was going to the backstop I had to protect. If I had five, I was just good enough. On the next one, I knew they were going to be beside me when we went into Turn 1. It was just a matter of a little traffic to get through, and it happened.
I was actually surprised to stay with them. I drove my butt off to try and see maybe they would make a mistake or pushing them and they made a couple of small mistakes, but they had -- that car was so comfortable for them. It was not much we could do.
Q. It sounds a little bit like having a knife at a gunfight. What were you guys thinking? What would it have taken?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: A gunfight, yeah, and we had knives. It is what it is. To tell you the truth, I think if you asked us before the race we had a chance to win this, I would 100 percent say no. We needed the Penske had a problem. We had -- we said if any of the Porsches don't have any problems, they're going to beat us. Everything from the last one they drove away from us. We did what we could do.
I gave it 110 percent. I know I couldn't go any faster if I had done anything different. I wasn't going to dive bomb in the last lap and hit him in the side. That's not racing. It wasn't going to happen.
Q. Juan, over your career, particularly in IndyCar racing, but other forms, you've sort of been known as the guy who is really, really quick on cold tires and restarts and everything. And on the last restart, one might have sort of expected you could get a little margin on David on the restart. But you did a pretty good job.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: But what's the point of getting a huge margin? Risk making a mistake? Get a huge margin and the next lap he's going to be right behind you then, because they're running a half of a second lap faster than you. And you have to protect and make sure you come off the corners right.
In a 24-hour race, it's not about how fast you can go. You gotta go fast, but you have to keep it in the black stuff the whole 24 hours. And I think everybody's going to see that in our car, and it's great to see. We haven't made any mistakes. We actually run pretty conservative through the night, through the backstop, not using the curves and actually it was pretty slow and we didn't.
At the end I told him I'm going for it. If it breaks, it breaks. But it was fun.
Q. For all you guys, if I could, racers always love to win and they never want to place second.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It sucks.
Q. When you look at your resume, it lists the wins, 2nd place, 3rd place and for teams the top five is a great thing over time. So when does 2nd place start to be okay for you?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: For a 24-hour race that's a single race event. For them, the other thing I was thinking I want to race the car but you don't want to go off and finish seventh when you're good points for 2nd.
That 2nd place finish is going to go a long way in the whole year. And for me it was very important to finish, bring the car home in one piece. And for me personally it's a single race event. And you come here to win. And it just sucks.
J.J. O'MALLEY: Thank you very much, gentlemen.
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