MONTOYA LOOKS TO TURN HIS LUCK AROUND AT RIR
Montoya has struggled at Richmond
April 27, 2012
Juan Pablo Montoya has a reputation for getting the most out of his race car. He certainly showed that Sunday in Kansas, moving all the way up from 39th to finish 12th.
"I go out there and give it 100 percent every time I'm behind the wheel," Montoya said. "I've driven hard in every form of racing I've been in. You never want to walk away and know you didn't give it all you have. This is the most competitive form of racing. You're up against 42 other drivers and we're all chasing the same thing; a win."
Sunday, a brush with the wall between turns three and four on lap 186 kept Montoya from making more noise, something he hopes to accomplish this weekend at Richmond.
But if there's one place recently that's damaged Montoya's rep for maximizing his equipment, it might be Richmond International Raceway.
Last year, on April 30, Montoya squandered the pole at RIR and finished 29th. When he came back on Sept. 10, Montoya started 10th and finished 15th.
"I've struggled at Richmond," Montoya said. "You can look at my stats and see just how bad we've been there in the past. I don't know what it is about that track. I sometimes think that the schedule plays a big part in how we run there. We practice and qualify all in one day so it leaves very little time to work on the car and try major changes. So you just try and tweak what you have when you unload."
Montoya said he's found success at NASCAR's other noted short-tracks, but not at Richmond.
"We race really well at places like Martinsville or even Bristol but have struggled with Richmond in the past," Montoya said. "Although we did get the pole there last year so hopefully our luck is turning around. It all comes down to having the right set-up and being able to maintain track position. If you start out having issues when you first unload the race car, you're already behind and then you play catch up all weekend."
This season, Montoya may feel like he's been playing catch up since his fiery crash into a jet dryer during a caution at Daytona.
"To tell you the truth, it hasn't been an easy season this far, but we're hopeful and the guys are working really hard to get this program to where it needs to me," he said. "We had a freak accident in Daytona and have been chasing our set-ups these last few races. Ideally we'd like to be further along, but this is a new team and we know it's going to take some time."
While that crash was obviously an accident, Montoya also has the reputation for intentionally wrecking opposing drivers who have crossed him, an assertion Montoya laughs at.
"We're all competitive in this sport. I wouldn't say I intentionally set out to wreck anyone on the race track but sometimes it happens. It happens to all of us."
"I'm out there to win races," he added. "That's my main focus. I don't think my reputation is any worse than the other guys out there. We all have that desire to win races and that's what we set out to do every weekend."