Disagreements all in the past as EGR team soaks up success
For two weeks the perception has been Juan Montoya and Brian Pattie were on the verge of divorce. Yet, here they were in Watkins Glen celebrating their first win together in the Cup Series, as if there were no cracks in the team.
It just goes to show winning really is the best medicine.
It's not that the No. 42 has been struggling recently -- just the opposite, in fact. At Indy, Montoya was the class of the field, but Pattie's call to take four tires instead of two on the final pit stop ended up being the wrong decision.
Last week at Pocono, Montoya was in the position to challenge for the victory again, but another four-tire call turned out to be Montoya's undoing. On the radio, the fiery driver told his crew chief exactly how he felt about it.
Two consecutive races, two pit decisions that ultimately cost the No. 42 a shot at the victory.
There was clearly drama within the team, because team owner Chip Ganassi got the No. 42 bunch together before Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen to have a talk. But any factions within the team disappeared in 90 laps in upstate New York as Pattie earned his first Cup Series victory as a crew chief and Montoya grabbed his first Cup win since 2007.
"We had a really good talk with Chip and all the boys," a jubilant Montoya said following his victory. "It was all about making sure everybody is on the same page, everybody has to do their job, and we came out [Sunday] and everybody executed."
"It's been frustrating because you could see the performance getting better and better. Even last year in the Chase -- we finished second, finished third, finished second, finished third -- that freaking win would never come, so it was getting frustrating.
"To come out and get the job done the way we did, it was big. I feel more relieved than happy right now. It's been a really hard road in a way. It's been a lot of fun; it's been frustrating. To finally get that first win for Brian, I think it's good. I think we can just focus on getting the job done."
This sport gives a driver and his team more lows than highs in a season, so the question remains: Do Montoya and Pattie have a strong enough bond that when things go wrong, this team doesn't need another visit by the owner? (Continued
The answer to that question is a resounding yes.
Montoya and Pattie haven't been together long -- since mid-2008 -- so there are going to be growing pains. But just because a driver has some harsh words for his crew chief during the race doesn't mean there is trouble on the horizon.