By admin | July 25, 2010
By Richard Allen
For the second year in a row Juan Pablo Montoya entered pit road leading the Brickyard 400 and left out of contention.
After a late race caution in which everyone would be well within the fuel window to make it to the end of the race, crew chief Brian Pattie opted to put four tires on the #42 car. Montoya exited the pits in 7th place with little chance to win on the track known for its difficulty in passing.
And from there, things only got worse. Montoya began sliding back through the field as his car handled badly in the ‘dirty’ air. Eventually, he lost control of his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in turn four and pounded the wall. He then veered across the track and collected the oncoming car of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The dejected Colombian driver walked back to his motor coach without offering immediate comment. Later on twitter he would comment that, “We had a rough day. Great car and great team effort. Nice to see the 1 car win. I know it means a lot for Chip.”
Montoya’s teammate, Jamie McMurray, who took on two tires during the stop went on to win the prestigious race.
Montoya finished a disappointing 32nd after retiring to the garage area 15 laps shy of the finish. That result unofficially dropped him to 22nd in the Sprint Cup standings with little chance short of a miracle to make the Chase for the Championship.
As has been well documented, Montoya came onto pit road leading this race last year and soon found himself out of contention as well. He was busted by NASCAR officials for speeding and made to come back down pit road for a drive through penalty. That ended any chance he had of winning that race.
While Montoya has won only one Sprint Cup race in his career, these loses at IMS have to be particularly distasteful. After experiencing great success on the track with an Indianapolis 500 victory as young IndyCar driver and a 2nd place in the Brickyard 400 during his rookie NASCAR season he seems to come to the historic track with great confidence every year. However, each of the last two trips to ‘The Brickyard’ have ended in the most bitter of ways.
It is probably safe to say that Juan Pablo Montoya now considers what was once one of his favorite tracks as the pits, literally and figuratively.
Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
Topics: Articles |