Two races and two good finishes for Juan Pablo Montoya and his new Chevy Impala—the merger might turn out to be a godsend for Montoya.
The performances in the first two races of the season puts him in the 10th spot of the Chase and only about 40 points from second on the standings.
It was very clear the top eight cars—you know the group—were just flying. They had all the power, and with no wrecks to help advance positions, there wasn't much passing in the middle of the pack.
Montoya had a smart race, he was running in the eighth to 12th position all day. I followed the lap times in the last 30 laps, and Montoya was running mid-42, which was just good enough to keep his position, but there was no chance for him to advance.
That was the time I was hoping for a wreck—one where no one got hurt, of course, but that never happened. Still, it turned out to be a good race for EGR.
Martin Truex, Jr. finished 27th, but is still well into the 17th spot with three races to go for the top 35. Aric Almirola is on the edge at 36th.
Almirola needs to get that car well into the top 35 standings in the next three races, or he will probably say goodbye to his season. I don't know if many sponsors would take a chance on a driver who has to qualify every week to race.
All in all, California was a great race for Montoya. It was a non-eventful, non-dramatic race for Montoya, who finished with a clean Impala—not even a scratch. If he can do that every week, it should be a good chasing season.