By admin | January 30, 2011
By Richard Allen
Driving as part of the team that finished 2nd in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Juan Pablo Montoya proved once again that he is one of the most talented road course racers in the world. His hard charging style in that and all other road course events demonstrates both is driving ability and his strong determination to win.
Unfortunately for Montoya, the series he regularly competes on has but two road course events on its 36 race schedule. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series contests races at the Infineon Raceway in California and Watkins Glen International Raceway in New York, but every other facility on the schedule features only left turns.
In 2011, Montoya has the opportunity to establish himself as a serious Chase for the Championship contender but to do that he must progress on oval tracks to the point that he is a threat to win on a regular basis. He did qualify for the Chase in 2009, eventually finishing ninth.
There have certainly been times when this native of Bogota, Colombia has challenged for victory on ovals. Close calls in Indianapolis and Atlanta come readily to mind. But still, victory has eluded him.
Montoya’s Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team proved last season to be a force. Teammate Jamie McMurray won in Daytona, Indianapolis and Charlotte while Montoya added his own win in Watkins Glen to the cause. JPM also racked up pole positions in Loudon, Indianapolis and Talladega.
However, he ultimately missed out on the Chase much because of inconsistency on oval tracks.
Montoya’s progression in NASCAR has been remarkable. He has proven to have the ability to adapt to this form of racing despite a background hardly resembling most of his competitors. An oval track win, particularly early in 2011, could establish him as a serious championship threat throughout the rest of the season.
The EGR program along with the Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines can definitely provide the equipment to win. This could well be the year that Juan Pablo Montoya scores his first victory on something other than a road course and fully establishes himself as a weekly threat in NASCAR.
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