Image by: Jeff Kluss/ SIT
June 25, 2007
Well I think everyone just knew it was a matter of time. How can you keep a great driver down? He mastered F3000, F1, the Indy 500, Long Beach Grand Prix, and now it appears he is on his way in NASCAR. The following are some excerpts on Juan’s comments after the race.
“It was a good day. It was tough. You don’t know how fast you are. I was patient. We made some changes on the car and that made a difference it was good. We had good restarts and it was hard when we were behind traffic because in turns 7 and 11 you have to get on the gas and it was really hard. It was easy to spin the wheels. I knew I was running third with 10 to go and I didn’t want to finish third. I picked up the pace a little bit and at the same time I was trying to roll the car as much as I could. I was just being very patient.
“I’ll tell you the truth. I was very surprised by the level of the drivers here. In Mexico I had a very good car and the drivers were very strong, but here, man the top 20 were – you had to work for your money. At the end we were right behind Kevin and I was saving the tires. I just tried to keep up with him for 15-20 laps and when I started pushing it I everything fell into place. That was huge. I think this will be a big boost for everybody working in the shop.”
“They kept telling me to be patient and I’d be fine. They said don’t over do it and try to save fuel. That’s why we’re here, and that’s why we want to keep winning. That’s why success is here, and that’s why I came to Chip because Chip is like I am. I think the whole team wants to do the same thing. I think I’m more relieved than excited. We worked so hard to get here. Working with Chip is an awesome feeling, someone who works with me and believes in me and makes my life a lot easier.”
“I tell you. This is as big as any victory. You could say it’s as big as winning the Indy 500 or winning Long Beach. For me winning Long Beach was probably cooler than winning the Indy 500 because it was my first ever big race. Winning here is my first ever big race in stock cars. They’re all right up there. I kinda think this is my favorite. It’s amazing. We worked hard for it and not only me, but the whole team deserves this. I felt pretty good in the car all day. I was a little thirsty, but it’s just more mental than anything else. I felt pretty comfortable. It’s pretty important to be comfortable. I was shocked when they told me the time in qualifying. I thought he was joking and when I found out he was telling me the truth, it was like ‘man, we sucked.’
“I think in a way it’s going to be good for the whole NASCAR sport. I think me winning today is going to bring a lot of attention the next few races. It’s good for me. It’s good for the whole team. I think it’s good for the sport. I’m very proud to be part of it. If I can help it’s good.”
We at SIT would like to congratulate Juan and the entire Ganassi #42 team for a great day of racing and some pretty cool calculating on the fuel mileage. Great job guys.