It is clear that this deal with Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya is personal. Perhaps it began at Homestead in 2006 when Newman gave Montoya a shove that ended in a fiery crash. Recall that was Montoya’s introduction into the wild world of NASCAR. I cannot seem to recall why Newman wrecked Montoya, but I have no reason to believe it was intentional.
At Martinsville in 2007, they had an apparent exchanging of paint, and then words. After the race, Newman said, “I just wanted to ask him a question. I wanted to know if he turned down on me on the straightaway and he said he didn’t.”
Montoya also inadvertently hit one of Newman’s tire carriers that day.
At Richmond a month later, the two clashed again, but it is difficult to clearly fault either driver. It appeared as if Montoya came down on Newman, triggering the wreck, but it is all a perception thing. Here is the clip, judge for yourself. But, like I said, it appeared as if Newman had position.
Montoya and Newman raced hard over the next few years, but no major incidents transpired. That was until last Saturday night at Richmond.
Now, my take is that Montoya overreacted, but then again, he has his perception of the previous incidents, and did what he felt was necessary. Of course, Newman has his perception of how it went down.
Anyway, the two clearly remain on opposite ends of the spectrum as far as who was at fault during last week’s dustup.
“It just adds up. It get’s to a point where too much is too much, and I felt it had to stop. I could have done it a lot more aggressively and completely knock him out of the race, but that wasn’t really the plan. I just felt he could have given me an inch and nothing would have happened. But over and over, I’ve been wrecked by him a couple of times…And, I didn’t feel I was being treated fair. I did what I had to do, I guess.”
“It was a personal thing, and it will get handled personally…The respect went out the window. I’m not real sure why. I know for a fact that his spotter admitted fault for not calling me out there on the outside of him off of Turn 2. Why he would go and crash me afterwards is disrespectful…I’m still not happy about it, let’s put it that way.”
If Newman is correct and Montoya knew that the first wreck was due to the blunder of his spotter, than him wrecking Newman was unquestionably personal. Perhaps it was subconsciously a payback for a previous encounter.
Both drivers planned to meet with NASCAR prior to Friday afternoon practice. Following the meeting, it was apparent that the pow-wow did not turn out as NASCAR had hoped.
“NASCAR did meet with Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya today before the first Sprint Cup Series practice,” Kerry Tharp said. “The drivers were given their final warning and are fully aware that we will be watching this very closely. The meeting didn’t go as well as we had hoped it would, and we’re not completely through with this issue.”
Asked if Newman threw a punch, Montoya replied, “I’m not going to tell you (expletive). Let’s leave it at that. What happened in the trailer was between me, Ryan Newman, and NASCAR. That’s it.”
Newman said regarding the altercation, “That’s just speculation. It was a private meeting. That’s why we had it in the hauler.”
One source from Foxsports stated that Montoya claimed that ‘Newman hits like a girl’. Really? Most guys with an ounce of an ego say that when we get our face popped.