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Juan Pablo Montoya's speeding penalty opens the door for Jimmie Johnson to win a third Brickyard 400

  Mark Martin, on the inside pole, and Juan Pablo Montoya, at the start of Sunday's Brickyard 400, on a perfect afternoon for racing (Photo: IMS)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Juan Pablo Montoya dominated the race but a NASCAR pit road speeding penalty on his last stop proved costly, and Jimmie Johnson held off teammate Mark Martin to win Sunday's Brickyard 400 – a one-two finish for Chevy team owner Rick Hendrick.
   Montoya vigorously insisted he had not been speeding on pit road. Cars have dashboard lights to tell the driver if he's going too fast.
   The penalty – Montoya having to return to pit road for a slow 'pass-through' – probably cost Montoya the race, which would have been his first tour win in more than two years. Montoya led 116 of the 160 laps.
   Johnson's win was his second straight Brickyard victory and his third overall.
   Until Montoya's mistake, the big story of the day was Kyle Busch, whose chances to make the championship chase took a big hit when he blew a right-front tire 145 miles into the 400-miler.
   "We were running decent, 15th or something, and had an awesome pit stop and got up to seventh," Busch said. "We were biding our time…and I got stuck behind David Gilliland and had to push the right-front a little. Right from that point I started losing the right-front – it was getting real tight.
   "I had been loose the whole run, so I didn't think I had been abusing it at all. But all of a sudden it started vibrating, and then in two laps it just blew out.
   "I don't know it's our car or the tire.
   "We're trying to fight for a spot in the chase, and this is obviously frustrating."
   "He was better than I was off four, and I was better than he was off two, but I couldn't get him," Martin said said of Johnson.
   "I just asked for a chance to be in the fray, and everybody gave me a chance. I just got beat by Superman. His cape doesn't get wrapped around his neck too often."
    For Martin the run moves him up to ninth in the Sprint Cup standings.
   "It stinks, but it is what it is. We've got lights, and I was on the lights every time. But they said I was speeding…it's pretty frustrating," Montoya said. "The car was stupid fast. I was just cruising."
  Johnson didn't get the lead until lap 137, passing Martin. But Johnson led the final 24 laps.
   "Unbelieveable…I just hope the fans liked this race," Johnson said. "Those last 15 or 20 laps I had to drive so hard to hold off my teammate.
  "Clean air was everything. And you only had two laps on new tires to make something happen.
   "I want to thank Goodyear for a great tire."
   Stewart, third, agreed: "I've got to give Goodyear a pat on the back."
  The key, Johnson said: "We were one of the few cars that could pass in traffic.
   "Mark is such a perfectionist…I think he's opened up the eyes of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports that we can all do things better.
   "Now that we're getting close to the chase, it's good to be winning races."


  For Juan Pablo Montoya, that last pit stop was the killer (Photo: IMS)



I believe that was the first

I believe that was the first time Montoya has had a pit road speed violation in his brief NASCAR career.

you might be right. i'll

you might be right. i'll check it out.....
and i really do wish nascar would release the speeding figures routinely....i hate secret stuff with calls like that....

I think Juan said he got a

I think Juan said he got a speeding penalty at Phoenix, Mike. He was discussing it over the radio with his crew chief after finding out he got flagged. NASCAR admitted their error there. I don't remember the circumstances as to when in the race it happened or why the error occurred.

Speeding penalties are a lot

Speeding penalties are a lot like debris cautions. There's a lot of room for conspiracy theories around each. TV is the answer to both. Occasionally, TV gets a shot of the debris. We need the same for the pit road speeds. Let's see the networks show the difference between their telemetry numbers and NASCAR's official timing numbers. From there, we can draw our own conclusion.

i agree 100 percent. let's

i agree 100 percent. let's put the lights and numbers out there, just like out on the highway -- we can see if a dude is speeding. why not? well, a conspiracy dude would say it's because nascar likes to have that edge to make the call itself. i say, if nascar wants to be considered a major league sport, let's see all the replays, just like in the nfl. otherwise i have the right to question the call.

Are pit road speed limits

Are pit road speed limits still necessary? I heard some arguments (perhaps on this site) that said the speed limits were enacted only after the "bunch up" rule was implemented. That is: when the caution comes out, pit road is automatically closed and the field bunches up behind the pace car. When the pit road opens, the dam is opened and cars flood pit road.
The question is probably mute though. I just can't see NASCAR loosening any rules in the foreseeable future.

i do think that the pit road

i do think that the pit road speed limit rule is one of the best safety rules NASCAR has put in the books. And i still think NASCAR isn't tough enough on drivers who run into crewmen -- how many times have we seen guys hit this season? that should be an automatic one-lap penalty.
what we were talking about earlier this season was nascar's 'closing' pit road at the yellow. that was instituted after scoring issues years ago. that rule i feel has long since become unnecessary. it does bunch up the field, yes -- but it also bunches up the field on pit road, which makes it more dangerous for crewmen. i say keep pit road open all the time, and if the leader is on the wrong side of the track when the yellow comes out, and somebody else beats him to pit road, well, that's just the roll of the dice.

I vehemently disagree with

I vehemently disagree with Mike on pit speed limits. They are not necessary and never were. They weren't before NASCAR had the rule closing pit road and they certainly aren't necessary on green flag stops. NASCAR may not loosen up its rules but it needs to be told it has to because this rule put the wrong winner into victory lane at Indianapolis.

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