Montoya preparing for first Cup all-star race
By Jenna Fryer
CONCORD ó A win last year on the road course at Sonoma has Juan Pablo Montoya locked into the All-Star race, where heíll run for the $1 million grand prize this Saturday night at Loweís Motor Speedway.
Although itís an all-out dash-for-cash, Montoya isnít quite sure heíll share that mentality. For starters, his Chip Ganassi Racing team will field the weaker of the two cars it has prepared for the two weeks of racing at Loweís.
iI donít know how to approach it, because I am more focused on points,î Montoya said. iWeíve got one really good car, but we want to leave it for the 600 because the All-Star race has such a good chance of wrecking. Itís just a little bit too risky to use a good car for that event. So weíll see.î
Still, with nothing but a big payout on the line, thereís a good chance crew chief Jimmy Elledge will pull out all the stops to give the No. 42 a chance to win. Elledge is renowned for his willingness to gamble, and itís likely he already has a few ideas up his sleeve for Saturday night.
But Montoya isnít so sure tricks will get it done. The race is 100 laps spread over four 25-lap segments, and Montoya is pretty sure it will take a strong car to win it.
iI donít think itís that much ëJust go for ití mentality,î he said. iIíve never done it, but the race is long enough that if you have a decent-handling car, you are still going to pass everybody. If you donít, you will still go to the back. Iíve not been very lucky at the track ó we went three times last year, and I believe I had three wrecks.
iAnd in the shootout to make the All-Star, it was go or go home. And it turned into more of a going home thing for me. But that was OK, because I got to back to Colombia earlier.î
So Montoya is instead looking forward to the Pit Crew Challenge, which his team will compete in Thursday night. Heíll fly in from Miami earlier in the day to cheer on the guys who service his Dodge each week.
iI think we have a pretty decent one and a chance to win that event,î he said.î
Unlike last year, when he spent the week between the All-Star race and next weekendís Coca-Cola 600 in Colombia, he plans to stay in Charlotte with a trip to a candy convention in Chicago breaking up the time.
iThatís going to be great. I am going to get so much candy,î he said. iIím going to get a ton of gum and the lifesaver gummies. Oh, they are the best. The sour ones. Incredible.î
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