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Daytona Notes: JPM To Make Points

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 5 2010
Sprint Cup cars took to the track at Daytona on Thursday for Bud Shootout practice. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Sprint Cup cars took to the track at Daytona on Thursday for Bud Shootout practice. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Daytona Beach, Fla. – Juan Pablo Montoya said numerous times last season that his primary focus was qualifying for the Sprint Cup Chase and winning the championship.

Those goals will remain the same in 2010 for the popular driver from Colombia, who came under fire at times last year for points racing.

Montoya, who failed to win an event in 2009, made it clear during media day on Thursday that winning races is still secondary on his to do list.

“Our goal is the same thing,” said Montoya, who dominated last year’s Brickyard 400 before falling deep in the field after receiving a speeding penalty on pit road. “Let’s race smart, let’s get points and get into the Chase and see what happens.

“I think last year we had some shots at winning. It is hard because how good are our cars going to be? That is anybody’s guess. We are going to get the spoiler so things are going to change a little.

“Somebody is going to figure out something that you haven’t. And when they do, they are going to go out there and they are going to dominate for a while until everybody picks it up. So we’ll see.”

Don’t expect to see defending Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth share any trade secrets with the competition on how to win the sport’s most prestigious event.

“Well, I want to win it again, so I wouldn’t give them any advice,” Kenseth said with a laugh. “We tried for along time. We’ve had a lot of years down here where we actually ran pretty good and there was one year in particular where I thought we definitely, for sure, had the car to win hand-down and got crashed out.

“So we’ve got good cars. We’ve had some opportunities to win and get good finishes down here, but never really did it until last year. It’s the biggest race of the year, but you have to approach it like any other race.”

The motorsports media has picked four-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to successfully win a fifth consecutive title.

But if given an opportunity to vote, Johnson said he wouldn’t have voted for himself.

“I use fear to motivate myself. I’m entering this year saying we’re going to get beat in my mind,” he said. “That way I work as hard as can, the team works as hard as they can. We don’t leave a stone unturned.

“I motivate myself that way. I always have. I’ve always used fear to motivate myself in making mistakes, forgetting how to drive a racecar. It’s crazy. I typically start the season with nerves Am I going to remember how to do this? You know, I really, really do. It sounds crazy. But I’m not nervous for (Daytona).

“But I know the night before I go to California, I’m not going to sleep well. I haven’t for the last eight years. Especially the first year, because I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing.”

When Trevor Bayne rolls onto Daytona International Speedway during Wednesday’s opening round of practice for the Nationwide Series, he will be turning his first laps at the famous 2.5-mile facility.

Bayne admitted during Media Day on Thursday that there is a possibility he may compete in next Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Series truck race in Daytona.

“I need seat time. Seat time is everything,” said Bayne, who drives the No. 99 Toyota in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series for Michael Waltrip Racing. “We’ve talked about getting into the truck race. And that’s still in talks and on the table, I guess.

“There are some teams that have some trucks ready and some things fell through. We’re still talking about it. We’ll see what happens.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 5 2010
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