Montoya Brings Home a Third-Place Finish at Unpredictable Talladega
Results from Talladega Superspeedway
1. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevrolet
2. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet
3. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 TUMS Chevrolet
Talladega, Ala. - Juan Pablo Montoya and the TUMS team survived three green-white-checkered restarts at Talladega Superspeedway to bring home the team’s second third-place finish of the season. This marks the fourth top-10 finish for the No. 42 team and moves Montoya up four positions to 20th in the point standings.
Friday morning teams prepared for the second superspeedway race of the 2010 season. The TUMS team unloaded the same chassis they finished 10th with at the season-opener at Daytona. Montoya’s only time behind the wheel of the No. 42 TUMS Chevrolet before the race Sunday afternoon would be in the first practice session. The team focused on the handling of the race car and drafting. Comfortable with the results, Montoya would sit out the final practice session and eliminate any chance of the car getting damaged.
Severe weather moved through the Talladega area on Saturday cancelling Cup qualifying. The field would line up according to the point standings, placing Montoya 24th in the field. When the green flag waved under sunny skies Sunday, strategy fell into place. Montoya and teammate Jamie McMurray would immediately move to the back of the field and spend over 100 laps riding it out away from any melee up front. On lap 109, Montoya radioed in, “It’s time to go to the front” and he did just that. By lap 114 the TUMS Chevrolet broke into the top-10 where Montoya stayed for the remaining laps of the race and even went on to lead multiple laps.
In dramatic Talladega fashion, the Aaron’s 499 would be determined by a green-white-checkered finish. Teammates Montoya and McMurray lined up first and second on the third and final green-white-checkered restart of the day. Montoya would get a boost from Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 at the very end but it wasn’t enough to secure the win at Talladega. McMurray would be credited with second and Montoya third giving Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates their first two car top-five finish.
“The race was cool”, Montoya commented. “You know, every restart it was a little bit different, you’re in a different position, and you’re always hoping that you had somebody good that you could push or that somebody would push you. I thought we had a chance at winning the race when I had Hamlin behind, but for some reason it just wasn’t enough of a push to the front.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to Richmond International Raceway next for some short track racing under the lights. The Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400 will air Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 pm (EST) on FOX and radio stations affiliated with MRN.
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