Montoya sees progress at Bristol

Juan Pablo Montoya says his ninth place in Sunday's Bristol NASCAR Sprint Cup race is a sign of things to come from him and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing this season

Montoya sees progress at Bristol

The Colombian had qualified 12th for the event but he quickly moved inside the top ten and raced there for most of the distance. For a while he struggled with the balance of his car in the second half of the race, but an adjustment during the following pitstop allowed him to move up in the order once again.

His race was not without incident though, as he tapped the rear of Jamie McMurray's Ford on lap 124 while fighting for fifth place, a move he later lamented, accepting he misjudged the Roush Fenway driver's entry speed into Turn 1.

Montoya says Sunday's race shows his team is definitely making progress and he believes a good result had been due since the end of last season, when he ran well many times but could not get the finishes to show for it.

"It was a tough race and we had to work hard for our top ten," Montoya told autosport.com. "I'm really happy because this shows where the team is heading and where we're really at right now. We've been close to a good result for a while, even since the end of last year but we had just been unlucky."

The EGR driver says his team has put more emphasis on trying to hit the track on Fridays with a better baseline set-up, so that it is able to run well in qualifying and not be too far off a race balance.

He says the Atlanta race from two weeks ago made EGR dig even deeper as he expected a good result that didn't come in the end at a track he considers to be one of his best.

"To be honest we've been doing our homework," Montoya said. "We've been trying to arrive at the track with better baseline set-ups to qualify better. At Atlanta two weeks ago we were shocked that we didn't run well in the race because that has always been one of our best racetracks and it ended up being the worst thus far.

"It was a wake-up call for everyone in the team and it put us to work even harder."

Having run well at Bristol, Montoya is confident that his team can fight to be in the Chase this year as he expected Sunday's race to be a difficult one. In the past, he says, short tracks had been the team's Achilles' heel.

"The short tracks have been typically our weak point in the past, so running well at them will really help us," said Montoya. "If you can't run well at these tracks you're not going to be in the Chase. You've got to be there at every type of track to be able to think about being in the top-twelve in the championship.

"That's what we want to do. Is it going to be easy? No, but I think we've got a car to give the fight."

Montoya doesn't necessarily expect his Bristol pace to translate to next weekend's event at Martinsville, but he says his team will prepare as well as possible by testing this week.

"Martinsville has always been good to me, but the fact that we ran well at Bristol doesn't automatically translate into running well at Martinsville," he added. "We're going to test this week to make sure we've got the right package suspension and brake-wise for next weekend. We'll see."

Montoya currently ranks 15th in the drivers' standings, ahead of his EGR team-mates Martin Truex Jr and Aric Almirola.

shares
comments
Ambrose excited about Bristol result

Previous article

Ambrose excited about Bristol result

Next article

Hendrick stands by Earnhardt

Hendrick stands by Earnhardt
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR
Author Diego Mejía
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
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020
Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy Plus

Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy

The last season of a retiring NASCAR great has shown promise, and may have resulted in another playoff push without small issues outside his control. 2020 won't be the year Jimmie Johnson would have wanted, but it won't be what he is remembered for

NASCAR
Sep 3, 2020
Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR Plus

Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR

Comparing Porsche's 919 HYBRID LMP1 to NASCAR is motorsport's equivalent of apples and oranges, but this weekend one of Weissach's top works aces will pit his skills against the regulars and revive the tradition of the 'road-course ringer'

NASCAR
Aug 13, 2020