By admin | June 28, 2011
By Richard Allen
Without a doubt, the driver who made the most enemies this past Sunday at the Infineon Raceway was Juan Pablo Montoya. It seemed as though there was hardly a driver in the garage area who did not have something negative to say about the former Formula 1 driver’s tactics during that road course race.
The most harsh post-race comments regarding Montoya came from drivers such as Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski. However, in listening to the in-car audio chatter on NASCAR.com’s Trackpass feature, an even greater number of drivers had disparaging things to say about Montoya’s driving style throughout the day.
At one point even Montoya’s fellow Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing driver Jamie McMurray was heard to say, “Nothing like your own teammate hitting you.” In another instance Montoya was warned by his spotter to look out for payback from Kyle Bush after the two had made contact earlier.
It seemed somewhat ironic that in his own post-race interview Montoya accused other drivers of not knowing what they were doing on the twisting track when it was he who seemed to run over so many others. “It’s hard when people don’t know how to race on road courses and think they do,” he declared.
With all that said, it could well be that Montoya picked the wrong time to infuriate so many of his fellow competitors. This weekend the Sprint Cup Series will visit the Daytona International Speedway, and on that track, it is a necessity to have a drafting partner. Trouble for Montoya is, he has angered so many other drivers that the list of those willing to help him may have been greatly reduced.
The two restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega have seen a change in racing style that requires two cars, and two cars only, to work together in a tight formation to make up ground on or keep pace with the competition.
Of course, any driver will help any other driver if it means the two of them together can get to the front of the pack. This has been evidenced on the two restrictor plate tracks this year as even Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch have worked together. However, given a choice of this guy or that guy it would seem highly unlikely that Kahne, Keselowski, Busch and maybe even McMurray would choose to work with Montoya.
This coming Saturday night in Daytona it will be interesting to see if Juan Pablo Montoya is able to find drafting partners or if he will be left hung out to dry when it is ‘go time’ at the end.
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