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Montoya escapes Daytona inferno

Juan Montoya was lucky to escape unhurt after a mechanical failure sent his car into the back of a jet dryer, engulfing both vehicles and the track in a fierce fire.
Just when fans thought they'd seen it all this year at Daytona, the whole thing went up in flames at turn 3. [See video of Montoya's accident]

The race was under caution after David Stremme blew an engine on lap 157, and Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing's Juan Montoya was among those to pit under the yellow flag and then back in a second time to have the car checked out for a serious vibration. He was back on track and catching up with the field when the car suddenly snapped right on him and he lost control.

Montoya had been running along the bottom of the track to give plenty of room to the safety vehicles that were carrying out routine caution period clean-up activities at the top of the high banked speedway, but the sudden snap sent the #42 straight up the track and into the back of a jet dryer.

The collision was bad enough, but it ruptured the dryer's 200-gallon tank filled with jet fuel to power the jet engine used to burn off any surface water from the track resulting from rainfall. The fuel caught fire and engulfed the jet dryer in a huge fireball.

The fuel seeped out of the ruptured tank and ran down the banked track, catching fire as it went and leaving a literal wall of flame right across the track that took several minutes to bring under control. The race was red flagged as fire crews tackled the blaze, with real fears that the intensity of the heat could cause race-ending damage to the track surface if not extinguished quickly.

Montoya was not seriously injured by either the impact or the ensuing fire, but he was a bit singed by the experience.

"I'm okay. My foot hurt, but I'm okay. For as big of a hit that way; I'm pretty good to be honest," he said after getting checked out at the medical centre. "I was full on the brakes and when I hit, I hit driver's side and my foot slipped onto the clutch and it scratched the top of my foot."

The fire burned Montoya's race helmet before the force of the collision pushed the #42 clear. "I saw the flames. My helmet got a little burned and everything," he said. "I didn't think about the truck, I thought 'I'm actually hitting the jet and it's not going to be fun.' Before I got there I was thinking 'this thing is going to be on fire pretty bad' and it was."

The driver of the dryer truck, Duane Barnes, also escaped serious injury, although he was taken to the local Halifax Health Medical Center for treatment before being released shortly afterwards.

"He came with me [in the ambulance]. He was pretty scared, but he looked okay," said Montoya. "I am sure he is pretty shaken and is going to be sore."




Related Pictures

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Cars are stopped on the backstretch under red flag as track workers clean Turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway. [Picture Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Track workers clean Turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway after a mechanical failure to Juan Pablo Montoya`s car caused it to slideinto a track dryer [Pic credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits along with the rest of the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, won the Pole position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. It was Harvick`s sixth pole win of the 2014 season. He is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, poses with the pole award after qualifying fastest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

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Don - Unregistered

February 28, 2012 9:55 PM

Dear Walrus909. My suggestion to you sir is (a) don't watch (b)watch your processions in F1 (c) try not to comment on things you know nothing about.



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