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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Newman demonstrates class; Montoya, not so much; Jury still out on NASCAR

Ryan Newman tries to maintain his composure, evidenced in this video, when reporters ask him about multiple confrontations on the track with Juan Pablo Montoya.

Montoya clearly and intentionally destroyed Newman's chances for a top-10 or better finish at Saturday night's race at Richmond.



Newman indicated frustration on the radio as he predicted the #42 would intentionally come after him and try to wreck him--not once but twice. 

That wasn't so much prophetic as it was simply knowing Montoya's modus operandi.

Montoya is known for aggressive, driving. 

The incident occurred just after the first 100-lap mark when Newman, running in the top 10, got into the back of Montoya. According to Newman, it was unintentional. At the time it occurred, Fox commentator Darrell Waltrip noted that Newman's brakes were aglow, indicated that Newman attempted to avoid hitting Montoya. The incident was clearly unintentional at the fast-paced short track.

Montoya's reaction however, was clearly deliberate one hundred laps later when he aimed his car directly at Newman's #39 car, causing it to spin. Newman hit the wall, got the car stopped, and was then hit by Kurt Busch who apparently couldn't avoid it.

Newman's pit crew did a yeoman's job at making repairs. Several stops on pit road allowed Newman to stay on the lead lap. He even got back into the top 10 at one point, although the damage was so extensive that speed and handling he enjoyed during the first portion of the race caused him to finish in 20th position.

Newman was clearly frustrated during and after the race. 

It is one thing to be caught up in an incident caused by someone else, but to be intentionally wrecked is quite another. He went to the NASCAR hauler directly after the race, seeking fairness from the sanctioning body. NASCAR has been known to penalize drivers for unnecessary aggression on the race track. 

It is not clear if anything will come of it. 

I can just about predict that nothing will come of this. I would hope that NASCAR would evaluate the circumstances of this incident and penalize Montoya for his bad attitude on the race track--a bad attitude that can get somebody hurt. They have instituted a new policy however, which is known as 'boys have at it.' To me, that is little more than a loophole in the rule book that allows NASCAR officials to remain arbitrary in their handling of these kinds of situations.

Newman is not one of the 'chosen' drivers.

Sadly, I doubt anything will happen. After all, this dustup between Newman and Montoya makes for good headlines. 

It was the interesting 'news' coming out of the Richmond race. It is almost common occurrence for Kyle Busch to win there. Another Busch win isn't going to boost ticket sales, but a race track feud just might.