No other way to spin it

Montoya's second dust-up in as many races gets tempers flaring

May 11, 2011|By George Diaz

Kevin Harvick vs. Kyle Busch sounds like a pretty good main event for NASCAR's "Boys Have At It" pay-per-view extravaganza this weekend at Dover.

But what an exciting undercard too.

In this corner we have a cool kid from El Cajon, Calif., a five-time defending champion. In the other corner, the challenger (boo!), an interloper from open-wheel racing (boo!), a foreign import at that (boo!).

Jimmie Johnson vs. Juan Pablo Montoya. It's on.

Montoya can't seem to get enough of his favorite game — bumper cars. With all the focus on the Ryan Newman-Montoya dust-up at Richmond — did it come to fists some folks wonder? — Montoya unexpectedly switched sparring partners at Darlington.

On lap 83, Montoya bumped Johnson, forcing Johnson into a spin-and-save scenario.

The yada-yada on the radio frequencies was priceless.

"Can somebody tell me what I did wrong there?" Johnson asked .

"He's … just (upset) at the world," crew chief Chad Knaus answered, also using a choice word to describe Montoya.

"Tell him I apologize, but I let him go and then he just stopped in the middle of the corner," Montoya said.

"I can tell you right now he's a way better driver than that," Knaus said. "There's no apology there."

Prophetically enough, Johnson predicted more mayhem was on its way to Darlington before the race.

"This track is going to breed that," Johnson said. "As narrow as it is, track position being so important, if you look at tracks where it's tough to pass, I think you can set up some sort of temper scale, and it will parallel it.

"Michigan, tons of room, easy to get by people, it's not a problem. Here, Richmond, other tracks where it's really tough to pass, that's when tempers fly."

Tempers flew all right. At least Newman and Montoya stayed out of each other's way. Maybe we at least should give both of them an "attaboy."

"It just adds up," Montoya said of his professional relationship with Newman. "It gets to a point where too much is too much and I felt it had to stop, you know what I mean? I could have done it a lot more aggressively and completely knocked him out of the race but that wasn't really the plan.

"I just felt he could have given me about an inch and nothing would have happened but over and over and over has been the case. … I didn't mind so much that he did it, I minded that at this point we both need the points and I didn't feel I was being treated fair. Do what I do, what I had to."

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