Monday, March 5, 2007
NASCAR & Juan Pablo Montoya
I remember excitedly watching the Ganassi press conference last summer when it was announced that JPM was coming back to the USA to race stock cars. For all the hoo-ha about "steep learning curve" I hope the bump and run in Mexico City taught those taxicab folks a thing or two about JPM's car control and desire to win. He was simply awesome in 2000 winning the Indy 500 and I have never seen anyone stick a car in turn 3 the way he did to run away with the show - and I was pulling for Buddy Lazier that year! And Juan did it as a rookie. You know I've said it here before - anyone that runs Indy is going to get my support, and if Tony Stewart can't win, then I'm pulling for JPM to smoke them and win Rookie of the Year. I think he may win as many as 5 races this season in Nextel Cup.
I think perhaps the folks that have the steep learning curve is the team at Ganassi Racing as Juan cannot be a savior if the team doesn't put a good machine in his hands. Look at the last few years - what has Ganassi done? Not much. Juan can overcome a lot with his innate skills but the crew has to do their work too. Can't wait to see him at Bristol.
Can't say I'm surprised by Chip's reaction to the win either. He's got a major investment to recoup and I'll bet Havoline sold a lot of oil in Mexico today. Too bad for Scott Pruett though - he's been a favorite of mine too since he mortgaged everything he owned to race Indy Cars and out-dueled Al Unser Jr. in the '89 Michigan 500 with a high side pass on the last lap to win. I don't blame Scott for being pissed off, but he could have given Juan a little room too as he had the inside line for the next corner and might have been able to hold him off for another lap or so. But Juan was going to get him - no doubt about that. It doesn't do any good to whine once the checkers fly.