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Notebook: Montoya has a nose for the top five

March 06, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service, NASCAR.com



Notebook: Montoya has a nose for the top five
LAS VEGAS -- Montoya won't let changes deter him again; Keselowski upset with ESPN

Juan Montoya believes the switch from a rear wing to a spoiler after five races last year adversely affected his performance.

Montoya and the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing crew wanted to make sure NASCAR's change to a new nose this season wouldn't have the same effect.

Kobalt Tools 400

Results
Pos. DriverMake
2.Tony StewartChevrolet
3.Juan MontoyaChevrolet
4.Marcos AmbroseFord
5.Ryan NewmanChevrolet

So far, it hasn't. Montoya was a strong third in Sunday's race and gained five positions to fourth in the Cup standings.

"When we can get the car working, it works really good," Montoya said. "I think last year, when they went from the wing to the spoiler, I think it really affected me, and we really struggled.

"We did a lot of work over the winter with the new nose to make sure that didn't happen, and I don't know- -- here we are. It's good."

Press Pass: Juan Montoya

Dudley Do-Right?

It's not every driver who gets his likeness turned into a cartoon character, but that's what happened to Clint Bowyer when Totino's incorporated its packaging as an integral part of a video game.

Fans can visit the website racefans.Daytona500.com to learn how to play the game, using their Totino's pizza box as the steering wheel.

"It was a great idea for Totino's to gives fans a game to have fun and race a little bit using a pizza box," Bowyer said. "I thought it was pretty cool. I'm looking forward to hearing what the fans think about it. I'm very fortunate to have sponsors that want to interact and build things around this program."

Bowyer also had a succinct reaction to his cartoon likeness, which looks like a cross between the driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet and Dudley Do-Right.

"I thought it was funny," Bowyer said.

Feeling snubbed

Brad Keselowski took exception to not being interviewed by ESPN following his third-place finish in the Nationwide Series race.

Keselowski was leading when a flat tire sent his car into the wall, and Mark Martin slid past him to win Saturday's race. The defending Nationwide champion complained on Twitter that he was ignored by ESPN, and that the network focused on Danica Patrick's fourth-place finish.

"I said what I meant and I meant what I said," Keselowski said before Sunday's race. "They just chose to focus on only a few storylines during the race, and when I got out of the car, it was clear I wasn't one of those storylines. They said they tried to find me, but I was hiding in plain sight. Nobody ever showed up to talk to me."

Keselowski finished 26th Sunday in the Sprint Cup race, but his day began with a celebration of his Nationwide title.

Dodge presented Keselowski with a custom 2011 Challenger that it dubbed "The Biggest Trophy In NASCAR -- Imported From Detroit." The high-performance street vehicle featured custom wheels and paint, and is part of the BKR (Brad Keselowski Racing) Commemorative Edition.

"This thing is awesome," Keselowski said. "I can't wait to drive it, but I have no idea how I'm getting it home. They told me not to worry about it, so I'll just wait and see if it shows up."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.