By admin | September 7, 2011
By Richard Allen
It should have come as no surprise to anyone that Juan Pablo Montoya was involved in a controversial incident during the running of the AdvoCare 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday. After all, the Colombian driver seems to make a point of ruffling the feathers of his rivals on an almost weekly basis.
But what may come as a surprise to many is that there was another incident in which one driver sharply criticized another and the driver on the receiving end of the criticism was none other than Mark Martin.
The 52 year old Martin has long been considered a respected figure among all drivers in the NASCAR garage area. So for another driver to not only point a finger of blame at him but to openly accuse him of intentionally causing a wreck no doubt raised some eyebrows.
On lap 251 of Tuesday’s race, ESPN cameras flashed to the scene of Regan Smith’s wounded car as it limped toward the pit area for repairs. Replays of the cause of Smith’s troubles clearly showed contact being made between his car and that of Martin.
A few hours after the checkered flag had waved in Atlanta, Smith went on the social network site, Twitter, to voice his opinion of what happened.
“Wow I just now saw the replay, I was wondering if it was intentional at the time… Now there’s no doubt in my mind,” Smith tweeted. “A driver as talented as Mark doesn’t just take a right turn going in a straight line.”
Smith went on to explain that, “We had contact on a restart 10 laps prior, racing deal each continued on no harm no foul… The wreck following was no racing deal.” And, “He came across my nose on a restart and I was on the brakes trying to not wreck both of us, which almost happened.”
But this in not necessarily an isolated happening. During the Food City 500 at Bristol back in March, Kevin Harvick also pointed an accusing finger at Martin when he spoke to his crew over the team radio after a dust up on the track. “That’s two times in four races when the five(Martin’s car number) has taken us out,” he barked. “They need to check his old ass for vision.”
Whether these incidents were intentional or not only Mark Martin knows. However, Regan Smith and Kevin Harvick certainly have their opinions on the matter. But then again so do many fans and other drivers. If a poll were to be taken, a high percentage would probably consider Martin as one of the least likely to intentionally create trouble on the track.
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