Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Montoya! Wake everybody up for this Talladega 500


Juan Pablo Montoya, whose reputation for hard-driving didn't set well with the F1 crowd, could be quite the crowd-pleaser in NASCAR (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Okay, boys, now we've really got something to work with. If Juan Pablo Montoya on the pole at Talladega won't have the sports world standing at attention for Sunday's Talladega 500/Aarons 499, then nothing will.
   It might be nice to see Montoya – this volatile, feisty, hard-driving Colombian ex-Formula One racer – as something like the second-coming of Dale Earnhardt Sr.
   Yes, JPM could be quite the intimidator himself, if ever given the right equipment.
   Now maybe he has it.
   In fact, with Richard Childress horsepower, under the eye of veteran engine man Richie Gilmore, Montoya might well be the man to beat here.
   Well, not that it's easy to pick a favorite at Talladega Superspeedway, where Earnhardt himself made history by charging from 18th with five laps to go to win the 2000 race here.
    But then it's hard to forget that 360 Montoya did on the frontstretch here his first run a few years back.
   The guy can drive a race car.
   But he's been wasting away in less than staunch equipment the last few years.
   Now he may be back in the game….just when NASCAR really needs a good shot in the arm.
   Last spring here, remember, Montoya nearly won, missing by a nose to Kyle Busch.
   And this has been a Chevy track lately….though Ford's Jack Roush came close to changing that last year, until an overly exuberant Carl Edwards bump-drafted teammate Greg Biffle a little too hard late in the day, taking both out, in a controversial crash. Biffle will be up front too for the 2 p.m. EDT start.
    Showing that Montoya's pole-winning run Saturday (188.171 mph) was no fluke, teammate Martin Truex Jr. qualified third. Truex, who won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500, is in the last year of a contract, and he is looking at his options for 2010, and could be headed to another Chevy team, the one owned by Tony Stewart, depending on how current car owner Chip Ganassi plays things out.
    And another Childress man, Clint Bowyer, will be on the inside row fifth…right next to Regan Smith, who crossed the finish line here first last fall in a dramatic pass by Stewart – only to have a controversial NASCAR call take away that apparent victory.
   And then there's Mark Martin, the Phoenix winner, up there amongst them too, even though Talladega is not his favorite track.
   Looking for yet another wild card – keep an eye on Sam Hornish Jr., the hard-luck Indy-car star still trying to make a go of it in NASCAR.


Juan Pablo Montoya has a game face that might even make Dale Earnhardt Sr. flinch (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com