Montoya and the Target Team Finish 19th at the “Valley of the Sun”
Results from Phoenix International Raceway/Subway Fresh Fit 500
1. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet
19. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet
35. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
Avondale, Ariz. (February 27, 2011) – The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series headed out west for race number two of the 2011 season. The Target Chevrolet started midfield and would battle handling concerns, avoid on track melee and damage to the right front fender to cross the finish line in the 19th position.
The on-track schedule varied slightly from years past with teams having only two practice sessions and then qualifying on a separate day. Teams utilized the sessions to practice race and qualifying trim to prepare for the unique configuration of Phoenix International Raceway. On Saturday, the only track time 43 cars saw were for a two-lap qualifying run in which the Target Chevrolet found itself in the 22nd position on the starting grid.
When the green flag waved, Montoya radioed in a tight handling race car after 15 laps. The team took every opportunity to bring the No. 42 Chevrolet down pit road for adjustments, fuel and tires. The handling concern continued throughout the 312-lap and was even more troublesome when right front fender damage occurred on lap 66 as Montoya avoided an on-track collision. The Target team was able to make the necessary repairs and maintain track position until the very end. As the checkered flag fell, the No. 42 Target Chevrolet would be credited with a 19th place finishing position.
“We tried a new set-up and found ourselves having to make some changes throughout the race to get the handling under control,” Montoya stated. “With the new at-track schedule we were limited with our practice time so that set us back a bit. The bigger picture was to come out of here with a good points day and I think we were able to accomplish that.”
Montoya leaves Phoenix in a three-way tie for positions seven through nine in the point standings. He currently has 64 points and is 16 points out of the first-place position.
Teams will head to “Sin City”, Las Vegas, for the next race on the NASCAR schedule. The Kolbalt Tools 400 is Sunday, March 6 at 3:00 pm (ET) and will air live on FOX and radio stations affiliated with PRN.