2008 NASCAR Fantasy Draft Kit: Juan Pablo Montoya

An in-depth look at Juan Pablo Montoya and how he might work on your fantasy NASCAR team for 2008.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya entered NASCAR in 2007 with an accomplished racing resume, but only one Cup start and a handful of other scattered stock car races. It was considered a great experiment by Chip Ganassi. Could an open wheel driver succeed in the less precise, more grueling world of stock car racing? Montoya answered that question with an emphatic yes. The bigger question now is, “Can he win on an oval?

He won his first race at the Mexico City Busch race in the first two months of the season. He scored his first Cup top 5 at Atlanta in race 4 and won his first Cup race at Sonoma in June. He also finished 2nd at the Brickyard 400 at a track where he won in Indy cars 7 years earlier. In the most telling sign that he had arrived as a stock car driver, Montoya got into a yelling and shoving match with Kevin Harvick the next week at Watkins Glen.

Overall Montoya’s season was a pretty typical rookie effort. He had some nice runs mixed in with several disappointing ones. He only had 4 DNF’s, all due to crashes, but did have 10 sub-30 finishes. He won a race, but everyone including Montoya conceded that real progress will be measured on the ovals.

The road courses were an obvious strength so it was no surprise when he won both the Mexico City and Sonoma races. Beyond those two races he also had nice runs at Atlanta, Texas, Indianapolis and Dover. Maybe the most impressive finish was his 8th place run at Martinsville. Few tracks pose a more physical challenge than the tiny paperclip-shaped track. The fact that Montoya survived the beating and banging and avoided the carnage to post a good finish is more impressive than winning a road course or running well on a wide open track like Atlanta or Texas.

Montoya quickly proved himself as a good qualifier. He had 8 top ten starts including a season best 2nd achieved at Indianapolis, Bristol and Dover. Whether by design or plain rookie inexperience, Montoya almost always dropped out of the top 10 in these races.

Aside from his obvious ability on road courses, Montoya also found success at 1.5 mile tracks, most notably Atlanta. He scored top tens in both the Busch and Cup series’. Texas and Indianapolis comprised his other speedway top tens.

Ganassi said he expects Montoya to make the Chase. Maybe that’s a source of motivation or inspiration for Montoya and his crew, but don’t count on it. Montoya’s driver rating was 67.7 for the 2007 season. He also only had 6 top 10 finishes. He needs to seriously improve both of those numbers (85.0 rating and 12-15 top 10’s) before the Chase is a real option.

Considering the equipment Ganassi has had in recent years, the Chase will not happen. Ganassi and the Dodges as a whole need serious improvement. While the speedway program improved, their short track CoT game was off. Now the CoT runs full time in 2008 and it’s hard to imagine the company catching any of the top teams car-wise.

Montoya is sure to improve in year two of stock car racing. His knowledge and comfort of the cars and what adjustments to ask for will allow for more consistent runs. The biggest concern for Montoya might be his aggressive, sometimes stubborn approach. The closer to the front he runs, the more respect and patience he will have to display. If he doesn’t heed to the other top drivers, he won’t last long up front before someone. Ganassi obviously disagrees, but Montoya is not ready to challenge the top drivers on a weekly basis and Ganassi doesn’t have the tools in place yet either. Improving his final point standing to the upper teens is possible. For the answer to the biggest question regarding an oval win, it’s a “not this year”.

See our complete Juan Pablo Montoya NASCAR Statistics.

Juan Pablo Montoya 2007 NASCAR Season Statistics
Race Start Finish Pts Laps Status Winnings
Daytona 500 36th 19th 106 202/202 Running $299,483
Auto Club 500 9th 26th 85 248/250 Running $120,475
UAW-Diamler Chrysler 400 4th 22nd 97 265/267 Running $126,950
Kobalt Tools 500 16th 5th 155 325/325 Running $126,200
Food City 500 36th 32nd 67 497/504 Running $114,700
Goody’s Cool Orange 500 23rd 16th 115 500/500 Running $109,850
Samsung 500 16th 8th 142 334/334 Running $168,375
Subway Fresh Fit 500 36th 33rd 64 309/312 Running $101,325
Aaron’s 499 24th 31st 70 187/192 Running $115,750
Crown Royal 400 16th 26th 85 399/400 Running $103,250
Dodge Avenger 500 41st 23rd 94 365/367 Running $113,575
Coca-Cola 600 20th 28th 79 369/400 Running $124,300
Autism Speaks 400 16th 31st 70 395/400 Running $112,775
Pocono 500 38th 20th 103 106/106 Running $107,300
Citizens Bank 400 33rd 43rd 34 67/200 Out of Race $103,926
Toyota / Save Mart 350 32nd 1st 190 110/110 Running $310,600
Lenox Industrial Tools 300 5th 19th 106 300/300 Running $111,200
Pepsi 400 20th 32nd 67 157/200 Running $118,025
USG Sheetrock 400 30th 15th 118 267/267 Running $130,575
Allstate 400 2nd 2nd 170 160/160 Running $360,850
Pennsylvania 500 9th 16th 115 199/200 Running $106,425
Centurion Boats at the Glen 18th 39th 46 73/90 Running $93,375
3M Peformance 400 26th 26th 85 202/200 Running $109,100
Sharpie 500 2nd 17th 112 500/500 Running $131,050
Sharp AQUOS 500 42nd 33rd 64 247/250 Running $121,625
Chevy Rock-n-Roll 400 15th 41st 40 241/400 Out of Race $98,755
Sylvania 300 31st 23rd 94 299/300 Running $111,200
Dodge Dealers 400 2nd 10th 134 399/400 Running $121,800
LifeLock 400 21st 28th 79 209/210 Running $118,400
UAW-Ford 500 22nd 15th 118 188/188 Running $115,925
Bank of America 500 36th 37th 52 274/400 Out of Race $96,400
Subway 500 26th 8th 147 506/506 Running $116,850
Pep Boys Auto 500 21st 34th 61 283/325 Running $118,350
Dickies 500 3rd 25th 93 331/334 Running $143,300
Checker Auto Parts 500 14th 17th 112 312/312 Running $106,700
Ford 400 33rd 15th 118 267/267 Running $106,850