Sunday, March 04, 2007

Montoya spins out teammate to win Mexico Busch Series race

The NASCAR Busch Series returned today to the Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City for the Motorola Telcel 200. This is a road course for guys who normally run ovals. There were a few Buschwackers in the race but there were also several road course ringers including Ron Fellows & Boris Said and native Mexicans like Adrian Fernandez & Michel Jourdain Jr. There were also drivers from Colombia (Juan Pablo Montoya), Australia (Marcos Ambrose), Venezuela (Alex Garcia) & Canada (Fellows & JR Fitzpatrick). Scott Pruett is one of those road race aces and he won the pole. He normally drives for Chip Ganassi in the Rolex Road Race series.

It became obvious from the start of the race that Chip Ganassi teammates Scott Pruett's #41 Juicy Fruit Dodge & Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Texaco Havoline/Telcel Dodge were the fastest cars in the field. But pit strategy meant that they would pit on lap 10 and the lead would get passed around for a while. Sometimes you can get away with pitting out of sequence but it didn't really work out for German Quiroga Jr.'s #28 Telcel Chevy. He was leading when a lap 23 caution brought out by Alex Garcia's #98 Dixien Chevy spin. Quiroga pitted and was never a factor in the race.

The lead cycled back to Montoya & Pruett with Denny Hamlin third. Pit stops begin again on lap 42. Montoya leads but crew chief Todd Parrott discovers that there is a problem with the fuel intake hose and he will have to pit again. Todd Souza's #13 Chevy spins on lap 52 to bring out the caution. Montoya pits and is in 19th place. Pruett leads followed by Hamlin & Boris Said. Meanwhile Montoya is moving up through the field.

By lap 70, Montoya is in second behind Pruett. During a caution caused by a David Gilliland spin, team owner Chip Ganassi says there are no team orders except they shouldn't wreck. The green comes out on lap 72. Montoya gets underneath Pruett at turn one and spins him out. Pruett funishes fifth. Montoya's car was faster so he was probably impatient and should have waited and he would have passed him anyway. Team co-owner Felix Sabates admitted as much. Montoya won easily after this as his tires were fresher and he easily held off Hamlin. It's a big win for Montoya but Scott Pruett was very upset with him. He made a mistake and plenty of people are mad at him right now. Judge for yourself. Watch this video clip of the spin and the last lap.

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