Montoya getting over crew changes

Juan Pablo Montoya is now positively getting over his second crew chief change of the season after initially showing his displeasure, which was evident on his qualifying performance at Lowe's Motor Speedway

Montoya getting over crew changes

The Ganassi driver was almost the slowest qualifier on Thursday, following an equally poor showing in practice on his first outing with his new crew chief Brian Pattie, who replaces Jimmy Elledge in that position.

Elledge had taken over Donnie Wingo's role since Talladega following a crew chief swap between Montoya's car and Reed Sorenson's, but he was released by the team following last weekend's All-Star Challenge.

"The first change was done to help the 41 (Reed Sorenson) and this last one had to do with an internal issue between Jimmy and his boss," Montoya told autosport.com. "I don't have the details of what happened. I just know he got fired."

"The crew chief is like the race engineer in Formula One. He's the one who decides what changes need to be done on the car and when and how those changes are made. He does a lot of things.

"With all the changes that we've had in the past few weeks it's like they've changed the ball to us from a round one to a square one and then again to a completely different one."

Montoya raced last week in the non-points All-Star Challenge where he finished 14th in his last race with Elledge. He expected at least to carry over some lessons from that race into Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, but with Elledge departing that has not transpired.

The Colombian was visibly mad following Thursday's showing, but after a couple of practice sessions, the balance on his car and the communication with his new crew chief have started to evolve.

"We're happier now because Thursday was a disaster," Montoya said. "The crew chief change came at the last minute and we were not ready for that and we paid for it. We're running better but probably not where we need to be yet. We're improving at least.

Montoya also had a meeting on Saturday with his boss Chip Ganassi - who flew in from Indianapolis - at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and following the chat he seems to be more at ease and getting over the situation.

"Yeah, Chip came here to talk to me and it was his birthday today!" Montoya added. "We spent about an hour talking through things and it was a really positive conversation.

"This is what's happening now and we have to try to improve things and look forward, not backwards. We have to deal with it. We have to see the positives and try to do the best with what we have."

Montoya will start Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 from 42nd place on the grid.

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Series NASCAR
Author Diego Mejía
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