NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
PARTY IN THE POCONOS 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 7, 2013
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed last week’s restart at Dover, racing this weekend at Pocono, how close he is to an oval victory and other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT YOUR APPROACH HEADING INTO POCONO:
“As you said Pocono has always been a pretty decent track for us. I think the shifting helps. When they repaved the track it seemed to help. Last year we were on pole here the first time they repaved it. To be honest with you we didn’t have really good cars. We did a really good job we timed it where it used to be the fastest car used to go out last in qualifying, it wasn’t a draw. We knew we wanted to try to go out really early so we didn’t post a good lap on purpose. It worked well. Having good results here is important. With the speed of the car this year I’m excited to be here and run here. We seem to be good everywhere we go. It seems the smoother the track is the better we run. It should be fun.”
YOU AND JAMIE (MCMURRAY) HAVE BEEN SAYING YOU HAVE BEEN FEELING CHANGE COMING WITH YOUR TEAM AND GETTING BETTER. WHEN DID YOU START TO NOTICE IT? BEFORE IT STARTED TO SHOW UP IN THE STATS? OR CAN YOU PINPOINT A TIME WHEN IT STARTED TO FEEL LIKE ‘YEAH WE ARE GETTING THERE’?
“We had a lot of speed since we unloaded with this car. Since we started working the new car the car had a lot of speed. It seemed we could qualify really well, but we couldn’t race that well. Jamie (McMurray) was the other way around. Jamie couldn’t qualify and could race really well. We paid a lot of attention to what he was doing. To be honest with you we just made a lot of mistakes as a team. We had a lot of failures and loose wheels. Bristol we had a car easily for a top-five and we had a fuel pump problem. California was a good track for us and the selector of the gear box came off handle and everything. We had to change the whole gear box during the race. We had two to three loose wheels under green, a flat tire in Martinsville. It’s kind of crazy. We had 100 percent more speed than last year and we were finishing in the same places last year when we had no problems that it was kind of weird. I think when we got to Richmond, around there, Danica (Patrick) was ahead of us in points. We were 30-something in points.
“It was like ‘man we just have to stop making mistakes.’ We really talked to the guys and talked to everybody and said we just have to execute. Each person has got to do its own little thing. If we do, do we have the fastest car there yet? No, we don’t. Are we close? Yeah. We are going the right direction we still need a little bit of work, but we have cars if we do everything right and we have a decent car we have top-10 even top-five cars. We went into Richmond with that mentality. We nearly won there. We went to Darlington we ran well there. In Charlotte we crashed and the guys were all disappointed. I said ‘hey we wrecked because the No. 48 spun and we got wreck with the No. 48 and the No. 20, running there with them.’ When was the last time we were running with them? Think about it. A year and a half since we were running good. From everything that has happened it has been positive. Last week was positive. We had a really good car same thing again. We were really good we were just missing a little bit of speed. I think we just have to keep our heads down and keep doing our work and we will be fine.”
YOU MAY HAVE HEARD WHAT JIMMIE (JOHNSON) SAID…
“No I didn’t.”
JIMMIE (JOHNSON) CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN THAT YOU CLEARLY AND DELIBERATELY DID NOT RESTART YOU STOPPED FORCING HIM TO RESTART AHEAD OF YOU TO GET TO THE LINE. THEN HE CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN HE TRIED TO GIVE THE POSITION BACK AND YOU WOULDN’T TAKE THE POSITION BACK. WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ON THAT:
“If I did that why only Jimmie passed me in his lane? I mean you think about it. Let’s say I had a bad start and he beat me by a bumper or half a car length NASCAR wouldn’t have said anything. But it was Jimmie – the field so I’m okay with it. He didn’t if you pay attention we were coming to the cones he didn’t even want to lineup next to me. He was actually dropping back. He wanted to time it. He just mistimed it. It’s all good. It’s racing.”
JIMMIE (JOHNSON) SAID HE IS GOING TO GO TALK TO NASCAR BECAUSE HE WOULD LIKE IT TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR HE IS NOT CLEAR ON THE RULE AND HE THINKS THAT YOU FOUND A LOOP HOLE IN THE RULE:
“Wow, I’m that good (laughs). Man that is a compliment. The loop hole is that you have to start between the cones and the leader has got to… I think the start says you have to restart between the two cones that I did. And you are not supposed to beat the leader to the line. What is so hard about that? You know what I mean? I read a quote about him this week. I was at my house and I read a quote. He (Jimmie Johnson) said ‘if he wouldn’t have done that the No. 42 would have beat him.’ I’m like well I’m the leader not you. I was thinking I know you dominated the race, but we came to a pit stop and we did a better job than you guys. And as we did a better job than you guys we are the leader not you. Crazy enough if he would have backed off let me go he would have probably passed me again. It would have been all good. He wanted to time it really well where he didn’t have to deal with me through turns one and two, but he mistimed it. That is it, no drama.”
HOW GOOD ARE YOU ON RESTARTS?
“I know I do a really good job on restarts. It’s not so much about how you get off the line but how you go through the first corner. I mean there is no science. There are two cones and as the leader you decide between the two cones when to go. It’s up to everybody else to follow the leader’s space. I think that is the rule. Put it this way if I would have restarted and Jimmie (Johnson) passed me and four cars followed Jimmie I think NASCAR would have said the No. 42 had a bad start. But how is it that only Jimmie went away? I don’t know. He is probably that good.”
CAN WE LOOK AT LAST WEEK AS SORT OF A QUANTUM LEAP FOR YOU IN YOUR SEARCH FOR AN OVAL WIN?
“I mean we were close in ’09 and ’10, but I think to be honest with you… I told the guys look to be able to win is not only having one chance at like what happened in Richmond. Everything came right and at the last minute a caution came out and we didn’t win. You’ve got to be able to give yourself a few chances. You’ve got to run in the top-five, you’ve got to run in the top-10 and if you can do that the wins will come. There is going to be a week when you did the right call and everything is going to lineup right and you are going to win the race. There are weeks where you are going to make mistakes, but the only way to win is to be there and give yourself plenty of chances. We are doing that and I think I’m aggressive enough as a driver where if I have opportunity I’m going to take it. It was kind of weird last week when that last run we were really tight and Tony (Stewart) was coming on the bottom really fast. I said the only thing I can do is make sure I don’t miss the bottom so he can put the nose in. Like I can do a small diamond and I’ve got to make sure I come off the corner. He rolled the top and when he got th
ere I was wide open. If I would have kept it wide open we would have wiped each other out. There was no point. I’m pretty certain as well as when to give up. Where we are in points, yes, we need the wins, but we need the points too. I wouldn’t gain anything by wrecking with three to go and finish 30th. We have got to be smart about that.”
JIMMIE (JOHNSON) IS NOT MAD AT YOU HE KIND OF ADMIRES THAT YOU FOUND A WAY TO BEAT HIM:
“He should tell me what I did because.. I haven’t figured it out myself (laughs).”
THERE ARE THOSE THAT SAY YOU ARE RUNNING BETTER NOW RECENTLY BECAUSE SOMEBODY HAS TOLD YOU ‘YOU NEED TO PICK IT UP’ WHETHER IT’S YOUR SPONSOR, YOUR OWNER OR WHATEVER. ARE YOU DRIVING FOR YOUR CAREER NOW OR HAVE YOU JUST GOT BETTER STUFF?
“I always drive for my career. We just have better stuff. So, I’ve got a question. So last year we had Jamie (McMurray) and myself let’s say we have a deal for this year, that was not the case, but let’s say that and we were running both of us 20th’s every week. This year we all decided ‘you know what I’m tired of running 20th. Let’s run top-10 this year. Just for the sake of it. You can’t do that. The hard thing with this sport is you want to say why you are not running good. You can say it’s the crew chief, it’s the car, it’s this and it gets to a point that they are going to point the finger at the driver. That is the reality. It’s always been that way. I drive as hard as I can and I just really focus on doing my job. Am I running 25th or fifth? I’m driving the wheels out of the car.”
YOU’VE BEEN REAL CLOSE TWICE THIS YEAR DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU STILL NEED AN OVAL WIN TO VALIDATE THE NASCAR EXPERIENCE? DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT WIN IS COMING THIS YEAR?
“I hope they come. I think once we break that we are going to get quite a few wins. I still feel the car needs to be a little bit quicker. We can put ourselves in positions to win, but I think our cars need just a tick more speed. I think we gained about 80 percent of what we needed from last year to this year, but I think that last 20 percent is going to be a little bit harder.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WITH TONY STEWART ALL OVER YOUR BACK BUMPER WHAT THAT FELT LIKE:
“Well they said okay I looked in the mirror and saw it was the No. 14 and I thought ‘I’ve been quicker than him all day’. Then I looked in the mirror again and he was half way there in two laps. I’m like ‘hoo I’m in trouble.’ I’m driving as hard as I can. The problem with this car is driving it harder or going in deeper you actually are just going to slow down. You’ve got to drive it to where the car will give you. Maybe a little more you try a little more especially because you are only running 20 laps. You try to kill the tires and you will do everything you can, but it gets to the point that is all you’ve got. That is all we had. I respect Tony (Stewart) a lot and we always run really clean with each other. He had the better car. If you look at it the No. 24 was coming. Put it this way, if the No. 14 wasn’t coming the No. 24 was coming anyway. It was one of those deals that once he got outside of me I knew I had nothing. Going into turn three the only think I could do is drive it in hard enough where I can spin underneath him. That would have been pretty stupid.”
HOW MUCH DO YOU READ ARTICLES THROUGHOUT THE WEEK?
“I don’t. I saw it on Twitter somebody put on Twitter that Jimmie (Johnson) said this about the start because he is all mad. I just clicked on the link. My family is in Columbia this week so I’m by myself at home.”
WITH EVERYONE SAYING YOU NEED THE OVAL WIN ARE NOT READING WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING?
“The only thing I do is when I’m going to the airport I look where we are in points where we improved or if we have a bad day where we dropped and what is going on. On Monday’s I do a call in, because I live in Miami, when I’m not in Charlotte I will do a call in to the team meeting. We discuss what happened in the race through the weekend, what I felt was right, what I felt was wrong and where we need to improve and that’s it. I will talk to ‘Shine’ (crew chief, Chris Heroy) a couple of times during the week to see what we are doing for the next weekend and that’s it.”
HOW MUCH ARE YOU INFLUENCED PERSONALLY FROM A CONFIDENCE STAND POINT BY RESULTS?
“I will tell you the only time I’ve been really excited this year like a good result, you are going to laugh, it was in the Duels when we finished third in the Duels (in Daytona). I was like ‘yes we finished a restrictor plate race finally’. (laughs) This year Daytona it’s kind of weird you look at racing we went to Daytona and I said ‘okay we are going to run up front.’ We are going to try to run up front all day and stay there. The No. 1 car says I’m just going to ride in the back. We both, he was running 42nd I think and I was running sixth. We both got involved in the same wreck. It’s like what do you do? We went to Talladega we had a really good car in Talladega and we had an electrical problem. Rain came and we couldn’t even restart the car. I lost three laps in the pits trying to get the thing restarted. It got to a point that we just couldn’t get a break with anything. Now we are good. We are doing what we need to be doing. Something that I think we are doing good whether we have a good practice, bad practice or whatever we do we just keep our head down. We know what works. I think we are complimenting each other with the team really well with engineers. I think my relationship with ‘Shine’ and the two engineers is really good right now. They know what I want out of the car and I know how to get it across what I need. I think that makes a big difference.”
IF YOU GET TO THE FINAL RESTART SUNDAY JIMMIE (JOHNSON) IS FIRST, YOU ARE SECOND WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN?
“I’m going to beat him by 10 car lengths (laughter). You guys are wrong… thank you.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES