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Originally published Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 12:02 PM

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Target mascot Bullseye joins Montoya at Daytona

Juan Pablo Montoya has a furry friend at Daytona International Speedway.

AP Sports Writer

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. —

Juan Pablo Montoya has a furry friend at Daytona International Speedway.

And they have matching fire suits.

Target mascot Bullseye, the bull terrier used in the chain's advertisements, made an appearance at the famed track Saturday and will be on hand for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday.

The dog, which has a Target bull's-eye logo painted around its left eye, might even be a good-luck charm.

"I've seen him a couple of times," Montoya said. "It's amazing. It's pretty cool. I hadn't seen it with the race suit on. That is pretty cool."

Impressions?

"It's a cool dog and obedient as hell - not like me," Montoya added.

Bullseye was on hand for fellow Target-sponsored driver Dario Franchitti's third Indianapolis 500 victory last summer.

No pressure on Bullseye or Montoya, right?

"No, I think it's pretty cool for everybody on the Target team," said Montoya, who is trying to rally after three consecutive disappointing seasons. "We worked really hard this year. Last year was a tough year for us. We worked really hard, and to start this year the way we have been running so far, it's pretty encouraging."

Montoya will start seventh in the Daytona 500.

Maybe the strangest thing about the Bullseye-Montoya combination is the NASCAR driver doesn't spend much time with his own family dog, Spot, back home. He got the dog because his children wanted a pet.

"Do I like dogs? Yes, I like dogs. Do I want to have a dog? No, I don't want to have a dog," Montoya said last week. "I had dogs when I was a kid. Parents are so excited. They give you a dog. You play with dog for a month, and the rest of the life of the dog, the parents have got to take care of it because the kids never play with it again. It is a fact."

Montoya's three kids relentlessly nagged him about getting a dog until he gave in and bought them a French bulldog.

"The deal is simple: I don't clean. I don't feed. I don't anything. I will play with the dog. I will love the dog, but I don't want to take care of it and they said `OK,'" he said. "So I said `OK, we'll get the dog.' So it's all good."

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