Juan Pablo Montoya is optimistic about his chances of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year as he heads into the penultimate race before the series' playoff.
Montoya arrives at Atlanta placed ninth in the drivers' standing, 64 points ahead of Kyle Busch who ranks 13th after winning at Bristol two weeks ago.
The Colombian ran as high as second at the half-mile oval, but a flat tire in the closing stages left him down in 25th place, costing him two positions in the championship.
A week before that, contact with Kasey Kahne at Michigan caused him a puncture that left him only 19th in the end after a top-10 result had looked on the cards. But despite his recent missed opportunities, Montoya feels good about his position in the points as the Chase for the Sprint Cup lies only two weeks away.
"To be honest right now, where we are right now is OK," said Montoya. "We can't change that we had two flat tires the last two races and it cost us a lot in the race results.
"It is part of racing. We do everything we can and we still do. Coming here, we think we have a good car. We have to make it to the end and get a good finish and see what happens.
"It isn't about being conservative, it is about being smart. Everything we have done this year, is making smart choices, when to race, when to get out of the gas, a lot of the give and take and it makes life a lot easier."
The 33-year-old says he is not letting the pressure of making the Chase get to him or his team. He has vowed to keep the same approach that has gotten him inside the top-12 now that only two races remain before the playoff starts.
"It is pretty easy, I am not really thinking about it," Montoya said. "It is what it is. As a team, everybody on our team just needs to keep doing what we have been doing every week and hopefully it is enough.
"You can't change things; you can't try to make up in two races what you haven't done in 24. I think we have done a good enough job and we are going to keep doing the same thing."
Montoya can mathematically clinch a spot in the title battle this weekend, although the scenarios for that to happen are unlikely. The Colombian says that regardless of this weekend's result at Atlanta, he will still head to Richmond with the same mentality of racing smart in pursuit of the best possible result.
"Whether it is good or bad, we are still going to Richmond," he said. "What it is is what it is. Whether it is secure or not secure, we have got to go to Richmond and do the best we can as well. It is not a matter of we have to win here so we know.
"If all we a 15th place car here, the make the car finish 15th here and see what you have to do in Richmond. We bring home a fifth place, great. If we bring home 30th, it is 30th, you can't change it."
Montoya starts Sunday's night race at Atlanta from 22nd place on the grid.