“If I did that, why did only Jimmie pass me in his lane,” asked Montoya. “I mean, think about it. Let’s say I had a bad start and he beat me by a bumper or half a car length. NASCAR wouldn’t have said anything. But it was Jimmie (messing with) the field, so I’m okay with it.
“When we were coming to the (restart) cones, he didn’t even want to lineup next to me. He was actually dropping back. He wanted to time it. He just mistimed it. It’s racing.”
Told that Johnson will ask NASCAR for a clarification of the restart rule to eliminate what he called “a loophole” exploited by Montoya, the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver laughed, “Wow, I’m that good!
“Man, that is a compliment,” he said. “The loop hole is that you have to start between the cones... (like) I did. And you are not supposed to beat the leader to the line. What is so hard about that?
“I read a quote (from Johnson) this week,” he added. “He said ‘If he wouldn’t have done that, the No. 42 would have beat him.’ I’m like, `Well I was the leader, not you.’ I was thinking, `I know you dominated the race, but we came to a pit stop and we did a better job than you guys. And since we did a better job than you guys, we are the leader, not you.’
“If he would have backed off and let me go, he would have probably passed me again. It would have been all good. He wanted to time it really well where he didn’t have to deal with me through turns one and two, but he mistimed it.
That is it,” Montoya said. “No drama.”
“It’s not so much about how you get off the line, but how you go through the first corner,” Montoya of his restart strategy. “There is no science. There are two cones and as the leader, you decide between the two cones when to go. It’s up to everybody else to follow the leader’s space.
“Put it this way,” he added. “If I would have restarted and Jimmie passed me and four cars followed Jimmie, I think NASCAR would have said the No. 42 had a bad start. But how is it that only Jimmie went (by)? I don’t know.
“He is probably that good.”