Montoya ready to put Brickyard penalty behind him
Juan Pablo Montoya says he has turned the page on his frustrating penalty at Indianapolis, which prevented him from scoring what would have been his first NASCAR victory on an oval last week.
Montoya was up to 5.1mph over the speed limit according to NASCAR's timing system when he entered the pits for the final time, having led 116 of 125 laps completed of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The Colombian said his team checked its tachometer following the race to try to find an answer for the pit road violation, as he insists that he was within his referenced limits when he drove into the pits in the closing stages of the race.
He also recalled an incident at Phoenix this year where he was mistakenly penalised for speeding, although he avoided getting deep into the topic.
"We checked ourselves after the race and it seemed OK and everything seemed to be in the right place," said Montoya. "For some reason [NASCAR] said we were speeding and that's what it is. I've moved on and that's it.
"I think the Phoenix incident is a past incident and it happened already. Things like that whether you're right or wrong or they're right or wrong, today we can't change it. I can't. At least we showed to everybody how much potential this team has, everybody, Earnhardt, Ganassi and the Target team is doing an amazing job. We've just got to keep doing it."
The 33-year-old said he was not pushing the limits in the pits at the end of the race because he had a big enough lead over second-placed Mark Martin at the time, making it unnecessary to take risks. He added that pit roads like the one at Indy, where the speed limit is set higher than at other tracks, are easier for him to deal with than venues where keeping a constant speed at 35 mph and lower revs make a speeding violation more likely.
"I think there are times you've got to push but I think when you've got a five-second lead with 30 laps to go you don't have to push it and I wasn't pushing it, but it didn't change anything," Montoya said.
"I don't know. The slower the pit road is the harder it is for me. The reason why is because the gear is shorter and the car just bounces a lot. When you're running faster it's a lot more stable. The RPMs are a lot more stable.
"Some weeks we can just hold the throttle, you put the throttle in a certain position and it just rides along pit road. Some places you've got to ride the hell out of the brakes just to try to stay in touch with it."
The Earnhardt Ganassi driver will race this weekend at Pocono in the same car that he ran last weekend at Indianapolis. Although there are some similarities between both tracks given their low banking and atypical radius in the turns, he doesn't expect his Indy pace to translate into this weekend.
"We actually brought the same car because the car we were going to bring here we're not as happy with it as we thought we were going to be," said Montoya. "The Indy car was in one piece so we brought it here. Does it mean we're going to run as good as Indy? I would really doubt it.
"I would hope so but you know, this is very bumpy. I don't know what people see similar between this and Indy, so I hope I can find it. I'm sure if I find it we'll probably run really well."
Montoya currently ranks 10th in the Sprint Cup Series driver standings and remains a strong candidate to make the Chase for the championship in seven weeks' time.