“In practice my fastest lap should have been the first lap and I got traffic out of four,” Montoya said. “I think a Cup car here is all about timing. I know where I need to brake and if you brake in the right place and you make the right arc, you put yourself in the right position to get on the gas in the right place and you come out of the corner. This is not a place where it flows; it’s a place that it’s about timing. It’s all about getting the timing right. If you do the timing right and the car drives good, you’re good.
“Roger Penske (team owner) gave me the chance to come. They have great cars this year and he gave me the chance to come today with the Penske Truck Rental Ford and see what we can do. It seems like we’re pretty good in qualifying trim. We didn’t try qualifying trim today. Our race pace, looking to compare with Brad (Keselowski), looks really, really close so it seems like we’re pretty competitive. I don’t know. I wasn’t that happy with the car to be honest. It’s hard because they’re so different and what Brad and Joey drive every week and what they look for in the car is a little bit different than what I want out of the car, so we’ve got to try and do a lot in one practice. Like today, we went through a lot of stuff and it was good – just short runs – try this, try that just to try to get ready for tomorrow.
“I think the one thing that is going to be good for us is we’ve got qualifying tomorrow and not today. Michigan was hard because I ran six laps of practice before qualifying, so at least today we got a lot of running done.”
Montoya is as good a “Wheel Man” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as ever been seen at this track because of his versatility and ability to excel in so many different types of races cars. And because he is not running for points or a spot in the 16-driver “Chase Grid” Montoya is here for one reason only – to try to win the race.
“Yeah, I could have won the Brickyard once or twice, and I probably coulda, shoulda and would’ve won the 500 this year as well, but coulda, woulda and should’ve doesn’t count,” he said. “At least I had a chance and I still think I’ve got a good chance this year. I was talking the other day to my Indy car race engineers and said, ‘It’s a shame the 500 was the first race this year on an oval,’ because now that I’ve raced more races I look back on it and say, ‘I should have put this much more front wing in, I should have done this and should have done that but didn’t know what to expect.’”
When Montoya arrived at the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie in 2000 it was at the height of the CART/IRL war for IndyCar racing control. He was unimpressed with the IRL car that he had to drive in the Indy 500 but when he won the race he realized just how big it was to win that race.
That began his infatuation with Indianapolis Motor Speedway.