Montoya Continues Climb
Miami resident Juan Pablo Montoya dealt with bitter disappointment at the Brickyard two weekends back after a pit road-speeding violation ended his bid for what looked like sure victory. But in the follow-up at Pocono, Montoya provided evidence that his stout performance at Indy was no fluke: he is now on the verge of becoming the first non-U.S. born driver to qualify for the Chase to the Championship, which will be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22.
While unable to overtake a grieving Denny Hamlin—his grandmother passed away on Friday--Montoya confirmed that patience is a virtue, as he closed to within .870 seconds while Hamlin battled to hang on. With the runner-up finish, Montoya moved up to 8th in the points standings—of which the Top 12 make the Chase “playoffs”—and finds himself among a star-studded field of contenders for the Sprint Cup Championship, to be crowned Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (click here for tickets). In recording eight Top 12 finishes in the last nine races, Montoya has just six more races to hold his berth in the Chase.
Upon arrival at Pocono, Montoya insisted that he had moved on from the crushing pit road-speeding violation and kept his eye solely on the points standings in his bid to make his first-ever Chase, which culminates Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"My goal this year is making the Chase," Montoya said. "That's the bigger picture. The 18 [of Kyle Busch] has won three races this year, and he's like 150 points out."
The three-race swing of Indy, Pocono and Watkins Glen should go a long way toward assuring the Colombian driver a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. This is the time for Montoya to take full advantage of the tracks ahead before getting into the 10-race shootout for a Championship to be crowned Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So if his races at Indy and Pocono are any indication, Montoya should be a factor for the rest of the season that culminates with Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 20-22) at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
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