October 15, 2006


...Unfortunately, in this context, "it" refers to his habit of making people run into him. It happened quite a few times in F1, usually after he had passed someone and 'suddenly' braked for a turn, making the other driver go all harpoon into JPM's engine compartment.

This time around, though, it was a rookie mistake. Juan Pablo Montoya was actually LEADING the ARCA/Remax race early on, and looked like he had a good enough handle on what was happening around him that he was a serious threat to win... when the second-place car started to come up on the outside.

If you have any experience in watching NASCAR-style racing, you know that the teams use spotters to inform the driver of what's going on around them... even on a one-mile oval, there's probably too much that a driver can't see for it to be done otherwise. F1, on the other hand, doesn't use spotters... fewer cars spread out over a much longer track.

And that's where the rookie mistake occurred. The second place car had it's front tires even with JPM's bumper coming out of a turn when Montoya's spotter called "Outside, outside."

Now, in NASCAR-speak, that means "There's a car to your outside, don't go there." In Montoya's head, though, it meant "You're clear to the outside." So, since he was coming off a turn, he let his car drift up the track towards the outside wall.

I can only assume this is a Spotter's worst nightmare. There must be spotters out there that have tossed and turned and lost sleep, dreaming they're yelling "You've got people to your right" and the driver responding "I'm going right", neverending...

The #2 guy did everything he could... he drifted as far up towards the outside as the track allowed, but JPM kept coming. Then ran into the other guy, who slammed on his brakes ASAP. JPM's car took a right turn directly into the wall, doing damage to the right front, but the worst damage actually was to the right-rear, as that part took two hits: bouncing off the car, then pivoting into the wall.

He dove for the pits, his front right tire rubbing hard against something in the car, to the point that even after they pulled the tire off, it was still smoking like a fiend. Nice big flatspot, too.

It took something like 35 laps before Montoya was back on track. At which point, I turned off the race and went to clean my bathroom.

Which tells you where I put the ARCA/ReMax series if JPM isn't a contender for the win.

For what it's worth, JPM took full blame for the accident, saying in effect "I didn't understand the spotter."

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:52 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 I watched the ARCA race from Talladega and the thing I enjoyed the most was Montoya's post race interview. Let me preface this by saying, I've never been a Montoya fan during his F-1 days. I had the same feeling about him that I have about Alonso, I just get tired of the whiney "it wasn't my fault"... "sombody else did it" crap. But here at Talladega, Montoya was all smiles... big smiles, and he laughed and said he was having a great time out there... and I felt really happy for him. Looks like he's in a better place than he was at McLaren. He's like the Montoya I remember from the CART days.

Posted by: madmike at October 16, 2006 04:17 AM (P1mII)

2 Absolutely right, Madmike! I mentioned that in the post I made for that race, too (at http://wonderduck.mu.nu/archives/199726.php ).

Unfortunately, the pre-race interview for this one was kinda pointless, as the interviewer held the microphone to the front of his helmet, instead of underneath it. It came out very much like a Kimi Raikkonen interview: "mmmmmmm m mmmmm mm m mmmmmm mmmmm mm mmm mmmmmm mmmm mm m."

I wonder if he ever thought he'd be racing in a place like Iowa? Monaco, Italy, France... Iowa.

Posted by: Wonderduck at October 16, 2006 04:38 AM (+rGmJ)

3 Wow... I completely missed that post! It was really great to see him like that. It gives you just a glimpse of how much pressure the average F-1 driver is under within their own team. Last time I saw someone so obviously enjoying themself in a race car was Mika Hakkinen in the last few races of his career. He looked soooo happy! It was a Mika we hadn't seen before and it completely changed my opinion of him.

Posted by: madmike at October 16, 2006 07:39 AM (P1mII)

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