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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]
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Crew chief Chad Knaus inspects the car of Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, after a crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Aric Almirola (R), driver of the #43 Charter Ford, inspects his car after crashing during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 12, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, walks through the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/NASCARA via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, lead a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, climbs from his car after being involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via 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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