Montoya has more bad luck at Richmond but sees some positives

| Sunday, April 28, 2013, 6:30 p.m.

RICHMOND, Va. — It's been a season of bad breaks for Juan Pablo Montoya, so it was only fitting when things again didn't go his way.

Montoya was sailing toward his first victory since 2010 — on an oval no less — when an ill-timed caution ruined everything. He had led 67 laps Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and needed to complete just four more when Brian Vickers hit the wall.

Montoya screamed into his radio, pounded his fist against the steering wheel then quickly collected himself to consider the big picture: He'd come into Richmond ranked 27th in the Sprint Cup standings with absolutely nothing to show for the improvement Chip Ganassi Racing has made this season.

In his seventh season with Ganassi since leaving Formula One for NASCAR, Montoya has no more time left on his contract unless Ganassi picks up the option the team owner holds. But keeping his seat in the No. 42 Chevrolet could depend on performance in an organization desperately trying to turn a corner.

Montoya has just two road course victories and a lone appearance, in 2009, in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. But the team struggled mightily, Ganassi has made numerous personnel changes, and no amount of talent could get Montoya out of the rut.

He recommitted himself to his fitness, focused on his racing and opened the year driving the final stint in Ganassi's victory in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The momentum from that win never materialized, even though the Ganassi organization appears to be the most improved group in the garage.

“We had a great car. Same as last week, we had a great car,” Montoya said. “The pit crew redeemed themselves. They did a great job all day, no mistakes. That is what we needed. We needed to come out of here and be smart.”

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