Sunday's Dickies 500 Sprint Cup race featured long green-flag runs and record lows for cautions (five) and caution laps (26), but that didn't mean it lacked drama.
Just ask the fans in the backstretch grandstands, who got a close-up view of the lap 263 wreck that ended the race for David Gilliland and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Montoya, running tenth at the time, had been harrying the lapped car of Gilliland through the first and second corners, and after Montoya's Dodge passed Gilliland's Ford off turn two, Gilliland appeared to swerve down into Montoya, sending him hard into the wall.
Montoya's car was damaged beyond repair, and a promising run was ruined. Gilliland could have continued, but NASCAR first penalised him five laps for aggressive driving and then decided to park him. Montoya finished 43rd and Gilliland 42nd in a race that had seen no attrition to that point.
“I was running high the lap before, and he went inside of me,” Montoya said. “He ran straight to the wall, and I tried to get away. He put me into the wall. So I went into (turn) one and I punted him just a little bit to say, 'Hey, you're running like 50 laps behind.'
“I hit him a little bit. If I had wanted to wreck him, I would have wrecked him. He came out of (turn two) and just wrecked us. It's very disappointing. … It's just frustrating to have that happen.”
Gilliland didn't dispute the events preceding the crash but said he didn't intend to wreck Montoya.
“I got up in front of him (on the previous lap) - my spotter said I was clear - and I kind of slid up in front of him and he jacked my rear wheels off the ground going down the back straightaway, and then got into me again going into turn one and two and jacked me up way up the track.
“I was trying to let him go and got a good run off the corner and just kind of misjudged it coming down across him. I was going to let him go, so I feel real bad for those guys. I guess they were running on the lead lap, and now our team is parked, so I feel real bad for my team.”
by Reid Spencer/Sporting News