Friday, June 07, 2013

Montoya To Johnson, "I Was The Leader, Not You"

Juan Pablo Montoya reacted to Jimmie Johnson’s allegations by of an unfair restart late in Sunday’s race at Dover International Raceway, saying it was Johnson – and not him – who botched the job.

“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.”


  1. Anonymous4:16 PM

    I love it Dave! Jimmie has a long history of "timing" the restarts. A few years ago, he did it to Kahne 3 times in one race.

  2. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Well said JP! I'm a Hendrick guy here, but Jimmie has absolutely no case here.

  3. I have no disagreement with this ruling, BUT I do want to point out one thing. And I open myself up to criticism in doing so, but I'm okay with that. If NASCAR is going to have this rule about the leader controlling the restart they need to enforce the rule across the board, not just for the car lined up next to the leader. You may recall a few years ago when (in what was really a smart move) Kyle Busch lined up behind the leader (I think it was Johnson)on a late race restart. The leader chose to bring the field down slow, but Kyle wanted a to get a jump on the outside line so the green flew, he got into the back of the leader and pushed him through the restart. This was a case of the third place car controlling the restart. It was legal because the rule is about passing the leader, but the spirit of that rule (it seems) is so that the leader controls the start -- it's explained that way even by the brass. I don't think there's any question that Johnson was wrong, but I think this is a great opportunity to address the restart on all fronts. Greg Biffle made a great point this week about only the second place card getting penalized for passing the leader even if other cars pass the leader on the restart.

  4. My wife seems to think that Montoya is up front so infrequently, that he doesn't know how to restart.