Montoya, NASCAR, or the Pace Car Driver: Who’s At Fault For The Brickyard 400 “Montoya Debacle”?

A year ago, there was a great debacle in one of NASCAR’s biggest races. Who was at fault for the debacle is still being debated even today.

The case then was that there were 4 parties which may have been at fault. There was Goodyear, which failed to bring a race-able tire to the track. There were the teams, who failed to properly prepare their cars for the situation, even in practice when they watched it all unfold. There was the track surface, which ground the tires into a mere powder.

And then…

…there was NASCAR, who handled the situation about as poorly as the president when speaking to a crowd without a teleprompter.

This year, we again have a debacle on our hands. This year, however, Goodyear, the track surface, and the teams are all off the hook. But NASCAR still isn’t.

This year’s debacle will probably go down as the “Montoya Debacle”(you heard it here first), and it involves 3 potentially guilty parties.

The first of those is NASCAR, which is in the familiar position of being ridiculed by conspiracy theorists who claim that NASCAR fixed the race. For all you theorists out there, back off of them. They can’t help it if Johnson benefits every time somebody speeds on pit road. They can’t help it if Johnson benefits from mystery cautions that only come out when he needs them. They can’t help it if… oops, I’ve said too much.

Then there’s Montoya. Now, forgive me for saying this, Montoya fans. But it isn’t that far-fetched to believe that the guy actually sped on pit road. I mean, he’s done it before, and it’s not like he’s a NASCAR god or something. He’s human. People make mistakes. If Montoya made one, then so be it. He isn’t the first one, and he won’t be the last.

Then there’s the lowly pace car driver. I wouldn’t even consider the pace car driver if it hadn’t been for the “Bayne Debacle” just down the road the night before. From this point forward, pace car drivers everywhere will be unfairly profiled, and every time somebody wrecks under caution, or speeds on pit road, it will always be the pace car driver’s fault. Sigh.

Okay, the real reason I suspect the pace car driver is this: Montoya claims that he had green lights all the way down pit road. Those lights were set by Montoya during the pace laps. How? Because the pace car is supposed to run at pit road speed under the warm-up laps so that drivers can set up their lights for pit road. If the pace car driver edged over that speed, which is plausible because he is human, and people make mistakes, Montoya may not have gotten a proper reading when he set his lights, and set them at a speed higher than the pit road speed limit.

Who do you believe is at fault? Vote using the poll below, or over at the right-hand side of the website. Feel free to leave comments, but please keep them clean and on-topic. And while you’re here, subscribe to our RSS Feed!

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Tags: Juan Pablo Montoya Montoya Debacle NASCAR Pace Car Driver

  • Marc

    Who’s at fault, easy answer, Montoya and out-dated technology i.e. using a techometer to set speeds.

    Science doesn’t lie, often, “green lights” and techometers do.

  • Ural

    Nascar… Montoyas log sais he did not speed.. unless calibration failed within 24 hours.

    Yeah.. JJ is my favorite driver.. but this is too much.

  • Marc

    Ural … really? Then show me. Link to the article or quote.

  • gseualordgq

    the last thing nascar needed was a boring race after last years tire deal , ticket sales were way down , who is going to pay to see someone lead all the laps ie jeff burton at new hampshire leading 300 laps a few years ago.nascar always had those late race yellows to tighten up the finish…. indy in any race car is about leading ,being in clean air … any way if juan wins that race you have to talk about him with the likes of mario and aj , guys who drive the wheels off their cars….
    boring tracks chicago, michigan, new hampshire

  • Marc

    Who’s going to pay?

    I’d say 180,000 give or take a few paid last week. Yes the crowd was down about 50k but to attribute it all to the racing and not the economy is nonsensical.

    Of course we could got back to “the good old days” like some whine about. Then you could see Petty win by 7 laps and many races with only 2-3 cars on the lead lap after the crossed flags.