Juan Pablo Montoya remains positive on his season prospects, despite losing ground in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a 35th-place finish at Charlotte last weekend.
The Earnhardt-Ganassi driver was caught in an incident during a restart, in which he was hit by Mark Martin, suffering severe damage to the right rear of his car. His poor finish caused him to drop from third to sixth place in the standing, putting an end to a streak of top-five finishes during the Chase. Despite that, 34-year-old Colombian is looking at the positives of last weekend's race and remains upbeat for the second half of the playoff series.
"We came here, we made the Chase and we've been competitive, we had a bad week. You've got to look at the positives," said Montoya, who had run in the top three before his incident. "The positives were we probably had the second fastest car last week. I would say the 11 [Denny Hamlin] had a faster car than us. Apart from that, nobody had a faster car than us. Neither the 11 nor myself had a good week. What can you do? We lost a ton of points, you move on.
"We come here and we do the best we can. Anything we do is a bonus. If I came here to defend the title and that happened last week, I'd probably about kill myself but right now, but hey! We lost some points we can still come back and have good results. If we don't we've got to learn from it. It's all about learning."
Montoya did not blame Martin for crashing into him last week and leading to the tough race he endured from then on.
"Was Mark Martin at fault because he ran into the back of me? No," said Montoya. "We all checked up and he didn't slow down fast enough and its part of racing. I'm good with it. It could happen to anybody. I don't care what happened last weekend. Whether we have a good week here or not, it's not going to change anything.
"We've got to run as hard as we can. If we run great, it's going to be awesome and we're finally going to run good in Martinsville. If we don't, we're going to go back and see why we're not fast here when we've been fast everywhere."
Montoya says that winning a race this season remains high on his list for the next few weeks, as he believes a first oval victory is long overdue.
"It's the same thing we've been doing: Have fun, run hard, make sure everybody sees that car running hard and up front and see what happens," he added. "If we can go out and win some races that would be awesome. I think we're way overdue but as I say that it could take a year before I win a freaking race so I don't know."
Montoya arrives at Martinsville 195 points behind championship leader Jimmie Johnson.