In the last 20 laps you go from full
mode to full attack. Prior to that you’re
also thinking about fuel saving, staying in
the draft, not wanting to lead... But when
you get to the final 20, it’s go time! Yep,
everything changes when it’s 20 to go.
All of a sudden, nobody is giving you any
room. Your mindset just changes – you
want to be in front, you want to protect, but
at the same time you don’t want to lead all
the time because the leader’s more exposed.
It’s a mind game. You’re trying to position
yourself, trying to get a read on how to be
at the right place at the right time.
In the past, it used to be like a chess game.
Now, it’s a sprint race. But it all depends on
the situation you’re in. You want to feel
sure that you’ve learned everything you
need in the previous couple hours,
because you don’t want any surprises.
There’s so many different ways it could go.
It depends whether there’s a late-race
caution; it depends on who you’re fighting
with; it depends on what state your car’s in
and what state your competitors are in…
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
If you lead, you can control what’s going
on a little more. In second, you put
yourself in a really bad position with the
(ABOVE) The final
duel between Ryan
Helio Castroneves in
the 2014 Indy 500
was one for the ages.
(BELOW) Juan Pablo
Montoya and Scott
Dixon get their hustle
on in the closing laps
of the ’ 15 “500.”
cautions. You never know if the guy in
10th place is going to make a move that
finishes the race before it’s really over.
You go into another gear. You’re just
pushing. It’s a position that you spent a
month trying to get to, but then you have
to take some chances. It changes every
year – last year, for example, with the new
aero kits, the top 10 guys were nose to
tail and it was very difficult to pass. The
last few years, leading has been the right
way to go, meaning you’ve got to get to
the front as fast as you can.
You never know when the last yellow will
come. I’m living proof of that from both
sides – I’ve won and lost the race because
of late cautions. But really you don’t think
about it because, in the end, there are so
many things that you can’t control that
it’s not worth it. You end up ruining your
race by trying to orchestrate too much.
I find that the more you try to plan for
what’s going to happen, the more you
find yourself in trouble. Yeah, you’ve just
got to go for it.
Your whole year is defined by those last
few laps, those final few miles. You feel it.
You have to channel that pressure into
helping you, but you also have to make
sure that you contain it. Don’t let it
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
“You have to take risks. You’re
not going to be stupid, but You
have to be more aggressive”