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Montoya heads into 2008 with high expectations for second NASCAR season

Montoya heads into 2008 with high expectations for second NASCAR season

His first season in American stock cars was considered a success, but his car owner wants even more.
Juan Pablo Montoya heads into his second season in NASCAR with a "Chase or bust" edict that will challenge the former Formula One veteran to qualify for the circuit's season-ending "playoffs".
Car owner Chip Ganassi has made it clear he wants the Colombian racing for the Sprint Cup title this season. If he's feeling any pressure from it, Montoya isn't admitting.
In fact, he argues his inclusion in the Chase for the championship field has as much to do with Ganassi as it will Montoya.
"When he says that, I think he means that as a team we need to really step it up," Montoya said. "I think we've got the right tools. I think we have everything in the right place to deliver. And with the experience we had last year, we should be able to put ourselves in a position to get there.
"But it's all going to be relative to how we perform as a team."
Montoya won races on the road courses in Sonoma and Mexico City last year, and finished second at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his best showing on an oval. He was 20th in the final season standings and won rookie of the year honors.
He won't talk specific goals or expectations for 2008, but knows the only way he'll challenge for a title is if the Ganassi team can find a consistency it lacked last year.
"We need to give ourselves more chances to do well," Montoya said. "Let's say we gave ourselves four, five, six races (last season) where we genuinely had a chance to win a race. But the guys at Hendrick (Motorsports), they give themselves 20 to 25 chances a year to win.
"When you have that many chances, you are going to win a lot of races. That's what we need to work on. We had a string of really bad races last year, and we'll try to avoid that this year. Is it going to happen? We have no idea."
The Ganassi organization has a different look this season, with IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti now in the fold. The team now consists of third-year driver Reed Sorenson and two former open-wheelers, and Montoya believes all three have a chance to win races.
"I think when things click for Dario, he'll be very good because he's very smooth and controlled," Montoya said. "Can he win a race? I don't know. Can I win a race? Hopefully. If the cars are quick every week and we are up there every week, then we should be winning races."


Updated : 2021-10-22 19:05 GMT+08:00