By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Much like the popular girl who walked the halls of every high school in America, NASCAR seems to love drama. Much like the girl in high school, they make very little effort to stop the chaos that they start.
On Sunday Juan Montoya led 116 laps out of the 160 that were ran in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. It looked as though barring a huge mistake, Montoya would easily coast to his second career victory… Then the unfathomable happened. Montoya was clocked going too fast down pit road. Why would a car so dominate and so fast even chance speeding down pit road during green flag stops? Nothing about it makes any sense.
Juan Montoya who came into the race not wanting wins, but just consistent finishes was very displeased on the radio after the penalty.
“Thanks for screwing my day NASCAR, I hope Mike Helton is listening to this because we got robbed,” Montoya said.
The penalty sent Montoya back to the 12th position, and he was never able to fight his way back to the front finishing 11th. Conspiracy theorists immediately lashed out at NASCAR, saying the conclusion we were heading toward was “too boring”. Not to mention how coincidental that Montoya was wiped out of the equation, while the battle for the win came down to two superstars of the sport (Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson)
Montoya’s crew chief Brian Pattie held his composure following the disappointment, even finding a silver lining by saying, “The car was fast, I’m proud of my guys and proud of the guys at the shop. We made one error, but I guarantee the 48 and the 5 knew we were here. So we’ll go to Pocono, and we still have to make the Chase.”
Even in keeping his cool nobody can ignore that the penalty was a very controversial call.
Lately it seems NASCAR and controversy go hand-in-hand. There are always the suspicious “debris cautions” that spice the race up, or the “judgement call” yellow line passes, but would NASCAR deliberately sabotage a driver who is heading to victory? I honestly think they wouldn’t and all NASCAR has to do to shut the nay-sayers up is let the race telecast display the cars speed heading down pit road. This is an easy fix to a suddenly huge problem, but NASCAR has shot down this idea in the past…
Are they maybe hiding something? Or is it quite simply that any publicity is good publicity, especially in this weak economy? One thing is for sure, NASCAR is the ultimate drama queen.