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Press Snoop: Se habla Montoya?


JUAN PABLO MONTOYA held court for the local media Wednesday at Infineon Raceway, site of the first of two road course races this season for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and the first time on a road course for the Car of Tomorrow.

Montoya is running for the rookie championship in Cup and Busch Series, and currently is 23rd overall in Nextel Cup standings - top rookie with 16 of 16 races - and 20th overall in Busch - third in rookie standings with 13 of the 16 races. Montoya is only running the Nextel Cup race this weekend.

Montoya's first road racing experience was at what was then known as Sears Point Raceway, with a three-day course in the Skip Barber Driving School. He isn't worried about acclimating again to the road course.

"Ovals, in a way, are simpler because there are only four corners, but there is a lot of technique and so many different race lines," he said, "On a road course, there is only one race line. With my background, it should be easy. The better question is how competitive the car is going to be. I've talked to some drivers to get hints as to what to do and where to go."

JPM said he spoke with CASEY MEARS last week.

"The main thing that bothers you is where do you brake," he revealed, "The last thing you want to do is miss a braking point and wreck the whole car. The problem is that, by the time you get to the race track during practice, do a few laps and check the car, you only get ten laps and it's straight to qualifying. If I get really comfortable and the car is good, we should do pretty good in qualifying and, by Sunday, we should be really good."

JPM isn't shy about touting his skills as a road course driver either.

"It's because I've always done it," he reasoned, "I think, on ovals, I'm just starting to get the hang of it and, when I get comfortable in the car, I'm competitive."

For Montoya, the biggest challenge for him and his Ganassi team has been the Car of Tomorrow.

"It has been a tough programme for us," he admitted, "We thought we'd do a lot better. We did a lot of testing and we did our homework, but it kind of surprised us when we just sucked.

"Coming here with the COT will determine how good we are. If somebody did more homework than us, and they probably did, and they found something tricky in how to run the suspension and stuff, then we might be in trouble. If their car is half a second quicker than me, you can improvise half a second for a lap or two, but not for 110 laps.

"The key for me here is to watch and learn."


Related Pictures

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Juan Pablo Montoya - Texaco Havoline Ganassi Dodge   [pic credit: image.net]
Juan Pablo Montoya - Texaco Havoline Ganassi Dodge   [pic credit: image.net]
Juan Pablo Montoya (Texaco Havoline Ganassi Dodge) leads Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr at Atlanta   [pic credit: image.net]
Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Sleep Innovations/Dow Chevrolet, and Dave Blaney, driver of the #7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Dodge, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 Powered By Kroger at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2013 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeb Burton, driver of the #4 Arrowhead / Kangaroo Express Dodge, and Max Gresham, driver of the #8 MRD Motorsports Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the Camping World Truck Series Fred`s 250 Powered By Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #42 Target/Kraft Chevrolet SS qualified 3rd Friday, September 13, 2013 for Sunday`s Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Montoya is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Picture Credit: Brian Lawdermilk for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #42 Target Chevrolet SS finished 7th and Kurt Busch, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #78 Furniture Row Racing/Beautyrest Chevrolet SS finished 4th Sunday, September 1, 2013 in the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Montoya is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Busch moved up two positions in the point standings and now ranks 10th overall.  (Photo Credit: Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualified third Friday, August 30, 2013 for the Advocare 500 Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Montoya is 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, climbs from his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2013 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson and team owner Chip Ganassi speak during a press conference announcing his move to the #42 Target Chevrolet during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2013 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Team owner Chip Ganassi speaks during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2013 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Mike Bliss, driver of the 19 TriStar Motorsports Toyota (left) chats with Michael Annett (right), driver of the #43 STP Ford during practice for tomorrow`s STP 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 20, 2013 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #42 Target Chevrolet SS finished 3rd and Paul Menard, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #27 Schrock/Menards Chevrolet SS finished 6th Saturday, August 24, 2013 in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Montoya is 21st, Menard is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Rusty Jarrett for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #42 Target Chevrolet SS finished fifth Sunday, August 11, 2013 at Watkins Glen International during the Cheez-It 355 At The Glen in Watkins Glen, New York. (Brian Lawdermilk for Chevrolet)
Max Papis at Infineon during qualifying on June 20, 2008. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, leads Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Energizer Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Energizer Chevrolet, races Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Juan Montoya, driver of the #42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, hits the wall after an incident the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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