Someone ought to tell Juan Pablo Montoya that he's going the wrong way in terms of finishes at Infineon Raceway, as he's gone from a win in his rookie year to a 10th place finish last season. How dreadful!
Now if you've mastered the art of sarcasm, then you know that Montoya is definitely a favorite for Sunday's race. You get the feeling that the No. 42 team is on the verge of turning their season around, although it's not quite as consistent as their steady 2009 campaign.
However, Montoya feasts on road courses and this is one track where the 2007 Cup Rookie of the Year could truly make up ground on the top-10 drivers as well as stamp his ticket into this year's Chase. The aggressive Bogota, Colombia native is fit for this track, where a balance between aggression and patience is needed to handle this Wine Valley road course.
One interesting statistic for Montoya is that he's finished every race run thus far in 2011, which is somewhat reminiscent of his stellar breakthrough season two years ago. Crew chief Brian Pattie harnessed his driver that year by having him race conservatively and for the best finish rather than the "cash or crash" tactic that Ricky Bobby, er, Montoya used in his first two Cup efforts.
Just 46 points behind 10th place Denny Hamlin, who normally doesn't excel at road courses, JPM's time to make noise for a Chase seed must begin this Sunday. The margin of error is as razor thin as Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas' mustache or Montoya's buzz-cut.
You get the picture: be consistent, run strong, and yea, try to win a few races. That's Montoya's style. Question is, will it be enough to be one of the 12 drivers who'll chase after the Sprint Cup title from Chicagoland to Homestead-Miami?
Track Stats for Juan Pablo Montoya at Infineon: 1 win, 1 top-five, 4 top-10's, 7 laps led in 4 starts