Race Weekend Central

Sidebar Stories: Toyota Owners 400

TRD Recalls Three Engines from No. 15 Team

According to the Associated Press, three Toyota engines have been recalled by the manufacturer from Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing team. This was in response to the penalty NASCAR issued to Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 team after a connecting rod was found to be outside the tolerance per the NASCAR rulebook.

One of the engines recalled was in the plans to be used for last Saturday night’s race in Richmond.

“We took every connecting rod in our inventory and removed anything that was too close for comfort,” Toyota Racing Development vice president David Wilson told The Associated Press.

At least one connecting rod in each of the three engines raised red flags for Toyota.

Juan Pablo Montoya Sends Message in Richmond

With sponsor Depend on board for the night, Juan Pablo Montoya surprised many last Saturday night in Richmond, leading 67 laps and finishing fourth. The finish was his first top 5 since the spring Martinsville race in 2011, and the most laps he’s led since holding the top spot at Watkins Glen for 74 circuits.

While Montoya does have two career wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he has yet to win on an oval. His closest opportunity came at Indianapolis in 2009 when he led 116 laps. A pit penalty prevented him from winning.

The top 5 in Richmond was his first one of the year. He is currently 25th in points.

Busch Butts Head With Three Different Drivers

The typical Saturday night short track racing tempers were in the air following the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond. While battling for position at the end of the race, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart found each other in a precarious situation. Stewart and Busch made contact on the track, and Stewart made clear his displeasure post-race. The two exchanged words next to their haulers in the garage area after the race.

Kenseth, who was also battling with Busch at the end, also felt like Busch made some misguided moves at the end of the race. Kenseth also nudged him slightly after the race, and Busch nudged him, though the two never said anything to each other on pit road or in the garage.

“He just destroyed my car after the race,” Kenseth said in the garage post-race. “I think it’s probably a good thing he didn’t come down here, because my boys are going to have to fix it and they’re not too happy.”

Finally, Martin Truex, Jr. was hooked by Busch during an earlier restart while the two were running towards the front. Truex was none too pleased following the conclusion of the event.

“He just had us in a bad position and wouldn’t let off the gas,” Truex said. “…I ran him hard, I ran him tight, but I gave him plenty of room. He was driving in over his head trying to get a win, I guess.”

Busch, however, was defensive of his racing.

“It was a free-for-all at the end,” said Busch. “Everybody was slamming everybody. I’m getting hit from behind. We got shucked out of there, too.”

Busch finished ninth, while Stewart settled for 18th. Kenseth was seventh, while Truex was 17th.

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