Juan Pablo Montoya Gets Big Boost with Third-Place Finish at Las Vegas
Bob Pockrass, SceneDaily.com
LAS VEGAS – Juan Pablo Montoya couldn’t hold off Tony
Stewart for second in the waning laps of the Kobalt Tools 400, but for a driver
with career finishes of 22nd, 19th, 31st and 37th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,
finishing third Sunday was just fine.
Montoya had only one top-five finish in his previous 16
races, so the third was certainly a boost for his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team,
which finished a lap down in 19th at Phoenix last week.
A couple of two-tire pit stops – one near the beginning
of the race, another near the end – helped Montoya with track position but he
also had good car.
“We could make the car turn through the middle, we just
couldn’t touch the throttle [early enough], and the other way around,” Montoya
said. “It was just touch and go.
“But it’s good. We really needed a good result after
last week, and it was nice to get it here.”
The third-place finish was Montoya’s first top-five
finish at a 1.5-mile track since Atlanta in March 2010.
“Last year when they went from the wing to the spoiler
I think it really affected me and we really struggled, and we did a lot of work
over the winter with the new nose to make sure that didn’t happen,” Montoya
said. “Here we are. It’s good.”
Montoya is fourth in the Cup standings three weeks into
“We ran like a bucket of crap last week trying some
stuff and probably should have been a little more conservative last week,” said
crew chief Brian Pattie. “Instead of trying stuff, we should have stuck with a
“We normally run top-10 there and we’d be leading the
points probably right now. We live and learn. But definitely a third-place
finish will make us feel good going into a weekend off. We learned a lot, and it
shows we’re progressing on our mile-and-a-half program. It is a good