Montoya matches best oval result

Juan Pablo Montoya matched his best NASCAR result on an oval with a second place finish at Pocono Raceway

Montoya matches best oval result

The Colombian had a strong start to his race, running solidly inside the top ten, but then a mistake in the pits and a loose wheel caused him to drop down in the order.

However, an early final stop allowed him to get back in contention, when all the leaders pitted for the final time under caution a few laps later than him.

"We pitted basically as early - I think this race track, by tradition, you pick up so much in tyres, and track position is so important, everybody was running together," said Montoya.

"We decided to come in when we could make the 'green-white-checkered'. We probably could have come in earlier than that.

"I know I needed a little bit of cautions. But I had four or five more laps on the race track before I stopped, and still made it. So we were pretty good."

Montoya jumped from 33rd place following his final stop up to fourth when everyone completed their final stops.

He then moved up to second, dropped back to fourth before the last caution, and on the final restart he saw Denny Hamlin pass him after he ran wide when Sam Hornish Jr and Kasey Kahne made contact with him while battling for position into Turn 1.

The 33-year-old said he probably lost any chance of winning on that restart when Hamlin got by, but putting his second place into context, he feels good about moving up to eighth in the Cup standings and closer to his goal of making the series play-off.

"I think the biggest thing was where [Hamlin] was going to be," said Montoya. "I thought I had a car fast enough to hold [him]. I got hit in the last restart, and he passed me. I don't know.

"Ifs and buts out, my goal is making the Chase. That's the bigger picture. If I make the Chase, they won't remember this guy won the race, this one didn't.

"[Kyle Busch] won three races this year. He's probably like 150 points out or something. You know what I mean? They won't be talking that he won three races. They'll be talking he [didn't make] the Chase."

The Earnhardt Ganassi driver believes he may have a shot at the title if he is able to make the Chase, given the performance they have been able to show in the last few races.

"What we say with [crew chief] Brian is let's get into the Chase and then let's have some fun," said Montoya. "I think we got fast race cars. I think we're just starting to push more the envelope with everything we do. I think if we make it, we might have a shot at this."

Next weekend Montoya hopes to make the most in the final road course event of the year at Watkins Glen, where he anticipates being more competitive than what he was back in June at Sonoma.

"For us going to a road course is good, especially that one. In Sonoma our car never runs good," he said. "Watkins Glen we normally got a really good car.

"For us, if we can get a top five out of there, I know we can probably win the race, but if we get a top five out of there, the points for the Chase would be huge."

Montoya's first top five finish of the season puts him 169 points ahead of 13th place in the driver standings with only five races left before the Chase for the Cup begins.

shares
comments
Hamlin wins at Pocono

Previous article

Hamlin wins at Pocono

Next article

Hornish scores best NASCAR result

Hornish scores best NASCAR result
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021