In a Nutshell: Juan Pablo Montoya continued his stellar form as of late and delivered a convincing victory in what is arguably the second biggest race on the INDYCAR calendar. Montoya won the pole for the race and then proceeded to duel with old CART rival Tony Kanaan in a grueling battle that was only …
Did You Notice?… The road course ringer era is over? Just two right-turn “subs” are on the list for Sonoma: Boris Said for GO FAS Racing and Alex Kennedy for Circle Sport. Said, driving the No. 32, has been in that position for years while Kennedy is a bit of a stretch, considered somewhat of a …
Qualifying for two consecutive pole positions in August (at Pocono and Watkins Glen) was the highlight of Montoya’s year.
If not for a badly-timed tire problem for Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr. wouldn’t be getting my shoutout — because he’d have won the race. Instead, Truex had to settle for fourth after a wild restart. Adding insult to injury, Truex, who has flown under the media’s radar all year long despite being a fixture in the top 10 in points, garnered relatively little television attention compared with the night’s other race leaders.
Although Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski were making the last lap at Watkins Glen one for the ages, another driver was quietly posting his team’s second top-five run of the year. Sam Hornish Jr. followed up his third-place finish in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday with a fifth-place run on Sunday. But the numbers don’t tell the whole tale. Because Hornish has an open wheel background, it’s often assumed that he has extensive road-course experience. But he doesn’t; Hornish’s three IZOD IndyCar Series titles came when the series ran almost exclusively on oval tracks. Hornish had just 11 road-course starts under his belt when he made the move to NASCAR.
In an era where many drivers don’t know how to turn a wrench, it was a refreshing change to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. taking the bull by the horns and helping his crew when the No. 88 suffered a transmission failure. By the time his crew got to the garage from pit road, Earnhardt had the car up on jackstands on the left side and was working on the right. Although handling the jack might not seem like a big deal, it is on a couple of levels. One that a lot of drivers, including some championship-caliber ones, wouldn’t have thought to do that.
Despite crash damage and a penalty from NASCAR, after the smoke cleared, Carl Edwards, who laid down his pole-winning qualifying run more than a week ago, was able to coast home to an eighth-place finish. Edwards was penalized after the red-flag period when a crew member removed a windshield tear-away under the red. Crewmen had been given permission to assist drivers in hooking up radios and window nets, but not to work on the racecars, and removing the tearaways falls into that category. Edwards then suffered heavy damage in one of several late-race crashes, and also got lucky on a yellow-line call by NASCAR before he survived to the checkers for that eighth spot.
Despite not scoring any wins in 2011, Juan Pablo Montoya and his No. 42 Chevrolet accomplished something perhaps even more impressive: he completed 99.5% of the total laps run during the Sprint Cup season.
On the first green-white-checker restart, Kyle Busch overdrove turn 1, was unable to keep his car in the preferred groove on exit, and opened the door for Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose to slip by. That left the two of them to settle the win amongst themselves; through the bus stop, Ambrose pounced, making the pass and riding off into the sunset for his first career Cup win.