Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why the controversy with Juan Montoya’s speeding penalty in the Brickyard 400?

Goodyear rebounds, but the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was boring.
It’s the third biggest race weekend on the 2009 NASCAR schedule from the Truck Series and the Nationwide Series which were running at the tight .685 mile ORP while the main event for Cup Series is racing across town at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

The weekend started out with a bang at the tight .685 mile racetrack known as O’Reilly Raceway Park (formerly the Indianapolis Raceway Park) with first, a nail bitter of a Truck Series race where after 199 laps, it come down to the top four drivers fighting for the victory between the leader Ron Hornaday Jr., 2nd place Mike Skinner, 3rd Aric Almirola, and 4th place Dennis Setzer which lead to Ron Hornaday Jr. barely holding off Mike Skinner to pick up his fourth consecutive victory, in winning at ORP, Hornaday became to first driver to win four-in-a-row, of course next week he will go for five at Nashville.

Second in the Nationwide Series race, we saw one good battle earlier on between the upcoming talent of Trevor Bayne and Steven Wallace, however a bad call by NASCAR (yes I don’t always agree with NASCAR) and in this case, the #99 and the #66 should have gotten their positions back after the pace car darted out on the racetrack for the caution in from to the leader Trevor Bayne that hit the brakes and got ran over by second place Steven Wallace, but the race would come down to the Kyle Busch vs. Carl Edwards show with Edwards winning at ORP.

However when it came to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the third biggest race of the season, the Brickyard 400, let’s put it this way, the headline on Monday read “Goodyear rebounds, but Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was boring” and “Jimmie Johnson holds off polesitter Mark Martin to win third Brickyard 400” but that isn’t were the story ended.

During what was a boring Brickyard 400 that was dominated mainly by Juan Montoya that lead 116 of 160 laps, under green flag conditions, Montoya was making his final pit stop with 35-36 laps to go, Montoya, who had a good lead over second place (I believe Mark Martin) when was coming down pit road to make his final stop and after his pit stop, he was caught speeding and was given a drive thru penalty, that’s what it is for everybody.

So where’s the controversy, some believe NASCAR screwed Montoya when they gave him a speeding penalty, so did NASCAR get the call right?

That question is harder to answer then anyone thinks, first NASCAR uses a computer to track each car’s speed on pit road in segments, on Sunday, there were eight segments and the speed limit was 55mph, NASCAR gives teams a 5mph buffer that teams use to the fullest and according to NASCAR (and the computer) they said Montoya was doing 59 mph in six segments and 60.06mph in the second segment (zone 2) and 60.11mph in the 4th segment (zone 4).

Of course Montoya replied with: "If they do this to me, I'm going to kill them," Montoya said on his radio. "There's no way. I was on the green [dash light]. "Thank you, NASCAR, for scrwing my day. We had it in the bag and they screwed us because I was not speeding. I swear on my children and my wife." (Source of quotes: ESPN)

So he was speeding and that’s it right?

Nope, some people believe that NASCAR made the wrong call, screwing Montoya out of what looked to be a victory, and the way one fan sees it, there is really no evidence to prove otherwise (that he was not guilty), the computer says he was speeding and that’s that.

I will say that while I am not questing the Montoya speeding call, I will admit I have questioned one or two speeding calls in NASCAR history, one being a few months ago in a Nationwide Series race that saw several drivers caught for speeding, but I didn’t hear anything like that on Sunday.

Basically in NASCAR’s eyes, Montoya was speeding, in turn they gave him a drive thru penalty which took him out of the lead and might have cost him (Montoya) the victory. BTW, it would have been cool to see Montoya win the Brickyard 400 on Sunday.

So what now? There is only one way to fix this, show the fans and everybody each car’s speed on pit road, every TV broadcast (FOX, TNT, ESPN/ABC) show the speeds on the racetrack, so why not show the speeds on pit road, then at least fans can see the speeds.

Of course this was brought up a while back, maybe a year or two and NASCAR said no and restricted the TV broadcast from showing the speed, however in this day in age and given NASCAR’s state in some of their fans eyes, it would be a good move for them to show the speeds of each car on pit road.

Even more, if the driver is speeding, the speed would go red to indicate to the everyone they are speeding, I know some many not like this, but the technology and the outcry is already there and if you can get the speed to be exact, then I think it’s worth it.

Did NASCAR screw Montoya on Sunday? Should the TV broadcasts be allowed to show the speed of the cars on pit road? And was the 2009 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard boring?