Perhaps the most disappointed man at Indianapolis on Sunday night was Juan Montoya, who gambled on changing his long-time crew chief Brian Pattie with Jim Pohlman during the two week interval between New Hampshire and Indianapolis in the hope that it would set him up for a third successive strong run at Indianapolis that would result in a win and an outside shot of getting into the Chase via the new wildcard system which reserves two slots for drivers in positions 11 through 20 with the most race wins.
"It sucks when you run good all day but I think Jim Pohlman and all the guys did a really good job all day," said Montoya. "We unloaded really bad and at the end we were a really competitive car ... We have to work really good with Jim and understand each other and if the wins come, good, if they don't they don't you know? Right now its all about looking at the future and long term I think its pretty good."
Sadly despite running near the front at times, Montoya never really featured in the race and instead the wildcard gambit has fallen into Paul Menard's lap: currently only three drivers in that range have a win - Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard and David Ragan - so Menard has a very real chance of making the cut that comes in the middle of September after the second Richmond race of the year.
However there are six races still so go before that: quite apart from the number of points still on offer in the meantime, that's another six first time winners of the year that could be thrown up along the way. And the way the season's shaping up, it wouldn't even be all that surprising any more if it did just that.
Full results and positions