Juan Pablo Montoya was leading and pulling away from Kevin Harvick in the closing laps of Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Richmond when the final caution dropped on lap 397. Most of the leaders pit, including the front two teams -- a decision that worked out for Harvick but left Montoya to finish fourth.
Montoya attributed the result to restarting on the outside lane when leader Jeff Burton chose the bottom. Those who stayed out were on much older tires and everyone just bunched up behind for them on the restart.
While the call to hit pit road didn't pan out for Montoya, he still believes it was the right decision -- not that it made him feel any better.
"I was pissed off," Montoya said of the final caution. "Everybody on our team did an amazing job. We had a great car and the pit crew redeemed themselves tonight. They did a great job all night -- no mistakes."
It's no secret that Montoya has struggled the past few seasons. Since making the Chase for the Championship in 2009, Montoya has failed to crack the top-15 in the championship standings each year since. He hasn't won a race since 2010 and entered tonight in dire need of momentum.
He received that and more at Richmond.
"This is exactly what we needed," Montoya said. "We needed to come out of here and just be smart. (The finish) was the luck of the draw. We just restarted on the outside and we were screwed."
Montoya wanted to be a little more aggressive on that restart but ultimately decided to just bring the car back in one piece once he realized he wouldn't be able to get to the bottom lane.
"When you are on the inside, you can just jump to the front," Montoya said. "I tried to get to the bottom as soon as Harvick went by but Logano was there and I told myself that ‘we've just got to get a finish.' Remember that before this we had six really bad weeks. I thought everybody on the Depend Chevy did a really good job and I'm just really proud of the guys."