Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Inlgesagil looks at NASCAR

InglesAgil Looks at NASCAR

“What really paid off at the end was I was just running behind Kevin, saving the tires and trying to keep up with him. I did that for 10, 15 laps and I started pushing, I started making up ground on them and that's when everything fell into place.”
Juan Pablo Montoya might be a NASCAR rookie, but he is a road-course master. Not known for his patience, the Colombian driver showed plenty of it Sunday. He used his well-honed road-racing skill to save his tires, stretch his fuel to the limit, and win the Toyota/Save Mart 350 for his first NASCAR Nextel Cup victory.
Team owner Chip Ganassi, who lured Montoya back to America from Formula One, was as impressed as anyone by the win and the way Montoya did it.
'One of the nice things, working with him again, is he's matured in a way as a race driver that you could not write in a movie,' said Ganassi, for whom Montoya won the 1999 CART championship and the 2000 Indianapolis 500.

Juan Montoya wins at Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif.—Juan Pablo Montoya won Sunday’s Toyota Save/Mart 350 to become only the third foreign born driver to win in NASCAR’s top division.The other two drivers were Earl Ross of Canada, who won in 1974, and Italian born, Mario Andretti, winner of the 1967 Daytona 500.
Montoya’s last tank of fuel was supposed to run out one or two laps before the finish, but somehow he was able to nurse his No. 42 Dodge all the way around the 1.99-mile road course for his first Nextel Cup win in 17 starts."I knew it was going to be close," said Montoya. "I was saving as much as I could. I said, ‘if it is, it is.’"And it was.Montoya took the lead from Jamie McMurray on lap 104 of the 110-lap race and kept going until the checkered flag was given.
Richard Childress teams finished second, third, and fourth.Kevin Harvick took over the second spot, behind Montoya after Jamie McMurray ran out of fuel with two laps remaining."We knew we were close on fuel and Todd (Todd Berrier, crew chief on Harvick’s No. 29) came on the radio and said we’ve got 20 laps, just give me one," said Harvick. "I just tried to stay in front of the 5 and 99."We saved enough and that’s what we had to do."Harvick’s teammate Jeff Burton was third."We’ve worked the last year on improving our fuel mileage, and we had a good car, at least a top-10 car," said Burton. The second run we were tight, but the third time, the car ran really good."The third Childress car driven by Clint Bowyer was fourth. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Boris Said, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-10.Top-12 Chase Contenders: 1. J. Gordon-2538, 2. Hamlin-2267, 3. Johnson-2172, 4. Kenseth-2105, 5. J. Burton-2084, 6. Stewart-2058, 7. Edwards-2019, 8. Harvick-1964, 9. Bowyer-1934, 10. Kyle Busch-1905, 11. Truex-1863, 12. Earnhardt Jr.-1815WHO IS THE REAL WINNERAric Almirola won Saturday’s Busch Series race at the Milwaukee Mile and wasn't even around to see it.Joe Gibbs Racing officials decided to replace Almirola with Denny Hamlin on Lap 59 of the 250-lap race, and after Hamlin made up a lost lap because of the driver change, he charged to the front in the second half to take the checkered flag.But under NASCAR rules, Almirola is officially the winner because he started the race. NASCAR checked its records to find out whether that has ever happened in the 26 years of the Busch Series.The last time a scenario like this occurred was in the Winston Cup Series on Aug. 7, 1977, when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison and won at Talladega.Hamlin was in charge of the race after getting the lead on Lap 177. He pulled away from the field before Frank Kreyer spun to bring out a caution on Lap 221. Hamlin's team changed four tires, while Wimmer and two others changed two to get out front.Almirola won the pole for this race for the second straight year but wasn't supposed to start the race. Hamlin was flying from Infineon Raceway in California to race the No. 20 for sponsor Rockwell Automation, which is based in Milwaukee and wanted Hamlin in the car.But the helicopter carrying Hamlin from the airport in nearby Milwaukee couldn't land because a makeshift helipad was turned into a parking lot before the race. The helicopter circled the track before heading back to the airport.Hamlin was whisked to the track with a police escort, but by the time he finally arrived in the infield, the race had started. Hamlin ventured down to Steve Wallace's pit since Wallace wasn't feeling well, and his Rusty Wallace Inc. team was searching for a relief driver.But Wallace didn't come out of the car, and Hamlin returned to the Gibbs pit. On Lap 59, Almirola was ordered to pit lane, where he was replaced by Hamlin.Almirola retreated to his hauler and eventually ducked out of the garage without comment.EDWARDS HAS A WHOPPING BUSCH LEADThe top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Edwards-2686, 2. Reutimann-1910, 3. Ragan-1840, 4. Blaney-1833, 5. Harvick-1798, 6. Leffler-1768, 7. Ambrose-1756, 8. Hamilton Jr.-1753, 9. Smith-1744, 10. Leicht-1696SKINNER CONTINUES TO LEAD TRUCKSThe top-10 Craftsman Truck Series Leaders: 1. Skinner-1878, 2. Hornaday-1770, 3. T. Bodine-1673, 4. Kvapil-1585, 5. Crawford-1579, 6. Musgrave-1481, 7. Benson-1454, 8. Sprague-1335, 9. Fike-1332, 10. Crafton-1322FORD IS BEHIND THE LEARNING CURVE IN TESTINGLast week Jack Roush, co-owner of four Nextel Cup teams, said his teams have not performed well at tracks where the Car of Tomorrow was used, because of a lack of testing."The only thing that I lack in terms of making my program realize its fruition is just getting caught up on the testing lag that I got into when I accepted the bait and spooled down my testing for this year," said Roush. "I got blindsided by that."So that's been the short side of my program -- my vision regarding what NASCAR was going to do and what they were going to allow us in testing. I didn't assess that correctly. But as far as the driver talent is concerned, I wouldn't trade my lineup of drivers for anything I see out there."Meanwhile, Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 38 Robert Yates Ford, who was 33rd in points heading into the first road race of the season, says Ford teams have some "catching up to do.""I think the only way you can get out from behind that 8-ball is to test, test, test and run programs and don't go out there just to run laps," said Rudd. "Come to the race track in a test mode and be prepared to make a lot of geometry changes to your chassis and be creative and open-minded, but it means a lot of test time."We have been to Virginia International Raceway and we've spent a couple days and it went okay, but not exactly like we needed it to do. So we went back another day.His teammate, David Gilliland is 32nd in points.
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