Glen offers Montoya chance to bash critics

Aug 7, 2007 7:28 AM

The last time the Nextel Cup visited a road course, Juan Pablo Montoya shook the world.

Some say he shocked the world and others said he simply got lucky with his fuel mileage. Whatever the case may be, Montoya showed everyone that he just may be the best pure driver in the world.

Some of the drivers that come to mind that had similar success in several types of racing are A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti. What separates Montoya and Andretti from all the others is simply winning in every series including Formula One, the world most popular form of auto racing.

Two weeks ago Montoya found himself being the only driver to ever compete in the Formula One USGP, Indianapolis 500, and Brickyard 400. He not only started the Brickyard, but almost won with a strong second place result.

Montoya’s success, despite critics saying he would have little in NASCAR, has caught on around the world. He has done more for NASCAR internationally than anyone in motorsports history, including Andretti. He is a true international superstar and, in some way, people resent that fame.

David Beckham came to America with all his international soccer fame and his appeal has been ridiculed. Judgment passed in the American media before he ever did anything. Montoya was met with much more open arms by the American media than Beckham, but with almost as much skepticism.

After Montoya won at Sonoma in late June, Robby Gordon had the nerve to show just what a true rube he is by saying Montoya "only won because he got lucky". It was as if he took all creditability away from Montoya winning because he thinks he’s a great driver himself.

You can see the respect from the top drivers like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart towards Montoya on the circuit. They know what Montoya has accomplished and respect it. He is no ordinary rookie, who sometimes gets pushed around by the veterans. Montoya has been given plenty of free passes from veteran drivers just because of his credentials. During the Sonoma race, it looked like Montoya had spun out four cars including the whole Penske team.

How all of the bumps and bruises Montoya gave everyone at Sonoma plays out this week in Watkins Glen will be interesting to see. On the tight turns of the course, it is very easy to give an "excuse me bump" that appears to just be part of racing. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Montoya take few lumps.

However, Montoya is still the third choice to win at 6/1 behind Stewart (4/1 and Jeff Gordon (5/1). Those odds show he is well respected by the bookmakers despite the possibility of getting paid back by a few. I would expect him to survive this week and do well again. Look for him to hit the corners faster and harder than anyone. For his sake, hopefully he hasn’t used up all of his luck on the roads.





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