NASCAR At Sonoma: Juan Pablo Montoya Dishes On Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing

When Juan Pablo Montoya came to NASCAR from Formula One, he had a three-year plan to succeed in the Sprint Cup Series.

In the third year, Montoya made the Chase. The following season, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing won four races.

Things appeared to be headed in the right direction for the organization entering last year. And then...total failure.

"Everybody felt that we had such good cars, we just dropped the ball completely," Montoya said. "...Last year was frustrating because it was more about arguing than getting things done. I think personally think that was the problem. It was who got more power, who could pull more, it was frustrating as hell."

The malaise was cured by the rampant personnel changes which took place over the offseason, including the departures of Tony Glover and Steve Hmiel, two mainstays of EGR. And although the results haven't necessarily been there thus far for Montoya and new crew chief Chris Heroy – the No. 42 team has finished in the top 10 just twice and has six finishes outside the top 20 – or McMurray, there is reason to think better days are ahead.

"I think once we changed everybody on the team, like right now it's nice to be here," Montoya said. "It's really fun to be here.

"We've just got to put it all together and we're getting there. Last week we ran really good; the week before we ran good as well. It's hard because you want to make a big jump. I think we put in key people in the right places and things are happening."

Adding to the frustration was the continued prosperity experienced by the Ganassi-owned cars in the IndyCar Series, which have won the last four series crowns and two of the last three Indy 500s.

"We joked around at Texas right when Scott (Dixon) took the lead and Dario (Franchitti) had to pit because he couldn't drive his car," McMurray said. "I was like, ‘That's that weekends we have. You'll see one guy really good and one guy really bad.' It's hard. But, the IndyCar side has been so good they haven't fought those same issues. But it seems like they have got that turned around now and are back where they are.

"I don't think we are jealous, we're happy for those guys."

Ultimately, as McMurray explained Friday, overcoming adversity makes the payoff all the more rewarding.

"Part of what makes it so great when you win is the struggles that you fight getting there," McMurray said. "It's frustrating because you want to win but at the same time last year was much more frustrating because I felt like we were going in circles. We knew what we needed to work on, work on it and then realize that wasn't it. We would kind of end up 180 from where we needed to be.

"The cars are getting better each week, and like I said I feel like in the last six weeks one of our cars has been really fast. You don't go from running 15th to winning just overnight. It takes baby steps. But, I feel like we're heading in the right direction."

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