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Montoya 'lucky to have survived'

Crashing into the back of a jet dryer on track is not the sort of thing any race driver wants on his CV. But right now, Juan Pablo Montoya will settle for just being alive.
Juan Pablo Montoya's exit from the unprecedented Monday night running of the Daytona 500 made all the headlines the following day; so much so that fans would be forgiven for struggling to recall who actually went on to win the race. (Matt Kenseth, for the record.)

But Montoya's spectacular and deeply frightening crash into the back of a jet dryer, igniting the 200-gallon tank of jet fuel that it carried, was inevitably the dominant image of the night. It happened when a trailing or 'truck' arm - a piece of rear suspension - broke underneath the car, snapping the #42 to the right and sending it sliding up the banking into the jet dryer. There had been nothing Montoya could have done.

"It sucks because the car spun and I'm going 'Oh, driver's side, that's going to suck,'" he recalled. "That's the only thing. You don't think 'Oh my God I'm going to kill myself!' Nah. You go oh, that's going to hurt. It wasn't too bad.

“I think overall, people were kind of amazed that I walked out of that one," he confessed to reporters at Phoenix. "Honestly, everybody was being pretty amazed. Everyone has been really supportive and everything. The bright side is you can joke about it.

"The way I've always looked at it is, 'Either you're going to be okay or you're not,'" he added. "I don't think anyone could hit anything harder than I did ... I'm pretty lucky, to be honest."

Montoya had just been coming out of pit lane for the second time under that caution, having the car checked over because it wasn't feeling right.

"There was a vibration," he explained. "It started to feel weird because then I shifted and it depends on the RPM; it was like on or off. And I said [over the team radio] 'Look, I think there's something wrong.' We looked at everything and everything was fine. And I went out again and we had a problem with the car and that was it, you know."

“Yeah, it was the truck arm that failed," confirmed Montoya's crew chief, Chris Heroy. "In my opinion I think it was close to failing and it hadn't failed yet because the guys went underneath the car and they checked everything and they moved and pulled everything and everything was in place. It was just the loading of the car. It was just too high.”

"It wasn't the start of the season that we wanted," Montoya admitted, before going on to praise the quality of design and construction of the current Car of Tomorrow stock car. "People complained about it and it wasn't this and it wasn't that and the view and the size and the this. I'll guarantee you if we would have been in the older cars I wouldn't have been okay. So I'm pretty happy we are in these cars. It's pretty amazing what NASCAR does.”




Related Pictures

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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]
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. [Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford tangle during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles` Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on April 12, 2014 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, crashes early in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, pits his car damaged by a jet dryer early in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, loses control of his car during the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, is hit by Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, as he pulls into his pit box during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton ready for racing at Daytona International Speedway on 14 January 2014. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton in action at Daytona International Speedway on 14 January 2014. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
An Air Titan 2.0 track dryer runs on track prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Farmland Ford, and Brian Scott, driver of the #33 Whitetail Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 23, 2014 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, hits the wall during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, were also involved in the incident. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The #11 FedEx Freight Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)
Daytona 500 Honorary Starter, actor Gary Sinise, waves the green flag to start the Daytona 500 as Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 DOW Chevrolet, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, sits facing backwards in his pit box after an incident on pit road during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Air Titan track driers run during a rain delay in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Three-wide racing with Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota; Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet; and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota; leading the pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

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JOHN - Unregistered

March 03, 2012 4:42 PM

I will agree Montoya was lucky. That was the most extraordinary scene (fireball) I have seen for a long time. Reminded me of F1 in the early days.



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