Sun, Aug 12, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Historic win is `possible': Montoya


Juan Pablo Montoya just shrugged. The chance to make NASCAR history wasn't foremost on his mind.

"Is it possible? Yeah," Montoya said on Friday before Nextel Cup practice at Watkins Glen International. "Do we have a chance to win? I would say yes. I just see it as an opportunity to win a race."

Montoya, a Nextel Cup rookie born in Colombia who made the jump from Formula One to stock cars, won a Busch Series race in Mexico in March and took the Cup race at Sonoma in June. A win in either the Busch race yesterday or the Centurion Boats at The Glen today would make him the first NASCAR driver to win three road races in a single season.

Only three drivers -- Jeff Gordon in 1998 and 1999, Robby Gordon in 2003 and Tony Stewart in 2005 -- have swept both Cup road races in the same season. Nobody has won three NASCAR road races in one season.

"I think it's pretty exciting," said Montoya, who was seventh-fastest in Friday's lone practice before qualifying was rained out. "I've got to say we've been having a pretty good season lately. The last few races we've been getting better."

With finishes of 15th, a second at Indianapolis and 16th in the past three races, Montoya has moved up three spots in the standings since finishing 32nd at Daytona. He stands 18th with five races before the cutoff for the Nextel Cup championship.

"I'm starting to get the hang of the car, I'm getting more comfortable, to drive a little freer, a little bit looser, and I think that's helping a lot," Montoya said.

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