Juan Pablo Montoya is viewing 2014 as a fresh start in regards to his career. After spending the last six years racing in NASCAR, Montoya will be returning to Formula One this season. The time spent in NASCAR is challenging to describe as anything other than a failure. During his six seasons in NASCAR, Montoya was only able to finish inside the top-10 in points once. The other five seasons his best points finish was a mere 17th. Aside from not being consistent Montoya also wasn’t winning, racking up only two wins in his NASCAR career.
According to reports, earlier this week with this new Penske Racing team, Montoya was asked to reflect upon his time spent in NASCAR. He was asked if he missed being there and why he thought he wasn’t successful.
“It’s a feeling that I wasn’t missing it probably. It was weird actually. A month ago when they did their first set, I was with my son racing at Homestead. I got a text from Chevy, “We’re missing you.” I’m like, Why are you missing me (laughter)?
When we had good cars, we did good. When we had bad cars, we did bad. I think as a team we threw a lot of races away. It’s part of the thing you always do. The point is when you’re winning races, you throw a lot away and you still win a few. When you’re not winning races, you notice the things you throw away. I think that’s the biggest difference. The focus for me now is IndyCar 100%. I’m pumped about it. I feel like a complete rookie right now, so it’s pretty cool. I’m really excited to be part of Team Penske.”
When you have suffered through the disappointments that Montoya has it’s hard to be positive. That being said, more or less throwing your entire NASCAR team under the bus isn’t exactly the classy thing to do. In the world of NASCAR in order to have success you have to be a great driver and an even better racer. The best cars and the best equipment will only take you so far, just look at Dale Earnhardt Jr. as an example. In the case of Montoya he simply wasn’t a good racer as compared to other NASCAR drivers.
Montoya was also asked about whether or not he would consider returning to NASCAR just for the Brickyard 400 this season. This line of questioning was prompted by previous comments made by Roger Penske in which he said that he would like to see Montoya in that race.
“I think the Brickyard would be a good thing. I’ve been so close so many times, it would be a good way of closing that chapter with a good win there. I know Roger hasn’t won there. If we could get the opportunity to do it, I think it would be pretty cool.”
Interestingly enough in his six races at the Brickyard he has only finished in the top-10 twice. After finishing second in that race during his rookie season his next best finish was ninth, last season. As NASCAR prepares for a 2014 without Montoya it seems appropriate to say that he isn’t going to be missed much. A return to the Brickyard with a win would be his defining moment in the sport.