“Montoya’s season's over already,” say some of his fans. They should have more faith. So JPM’s had a rough start to the season. That’s all it is, a rough start. I personally don’t see any reason to panic.
As it stands, Montoya and his 42 Team are 170 points from the chase cut off, with 20 races to go. His finishes so far have been pretty horrific in four of the six races, but this is not due to a lack of speed or driver error, but unreliability and frankly, bad luck.
Two car failures (tire at Martinsville and engine at Fontana) and two wrecks (McMurray at Vegas and the Bristol wreck) account for the bad stats.
What about the good stats, the reasons why there’s no need to panic? JPM has lead convincingly at four of the six races and qualified in the top 10 at five of the six races as well as being consistently fast in practice everywhere.
Few outside of the No. 48 and the No. 2 can say that.
Of the two clean races he’s had, he’s posted 10th and third place finishes. I’d say Montoya should have had at least a top five in Fontana, Vegas, Bristol, and Martinsville.
I'm sure some fans want the No. 42 team to change something and do stuff differently, but there's no need. The speed is there, the crew chief is fine, and despite his reputation Montoya is not a crasher (no DNF's last year) and the team has reliable cars.
A good run will come soon. As I said before, the No. 42 is fast everywhere, particularly at the super speedways that make up the majority of the season. The 170 point gap will close soon enough, especially after Dover, where there are a string of good tracks for the No. 42.
So there’s no need to start flapping, yet. I have not heard Montoya himself complaining about anything, which is a good sign. He’s not worried, and neither should we be. Montoya and his No. 42 team are fast. Sooner rather than later they'll turn it around.