The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 29, 2013

Late caution, tough loss

RICHMOND, Va. — It’s been a season of bad breaks for Juan Pablo Montoya, so it was only fitting when things again didn’t go his way.

Montoya was sailing toward his first victory since 2010, on an oval no less, when an ill-timed caution ruined everything. He had led 67 laps Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and needed to complete just four more when Brian Vickers hit the wall.

Montoya screamed into his radio, pounded his fist against the steering wheel, then quickly collected himself to consider the big picture: He’d come into Richmond ranked 27th in the Sprint Cup standings with absolutely nothing to show for the improvement Chip Ganassi Racing has made this season.

“I know we want to win, but we need the points,” Montoya radioed crew chief Chris Heroy as they debated strategy.

It was decided that Montoya would pit from the lead, take four new tires and try to win in a frantic two-lap overtime sprint to the finish. But he restarted sixth in the outside lane that was clogged by cars on old tires. Kevin Harvick restarted seventh, behind Montoya but in the inside lane, and he darted his way around the traffic to the win.

Montoya settled for fourth, his best finish since he was fifth at Martinsville in 2011.

“We got that caution at the end and it was a no-brainer to take tires,” Montoya said. “I think what hurt us is we restarted on the outside and when you restart on the outside and people got really bad tires, everything packs up. And when you’re on the outside, where are you going to jump? When you are on the inside, you can just jump to the guys.”

Disappointed? Sure. But Montoya was able to see the silver lining, even in those frantic final seconds when Harvick snatched his victory.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Pyrenees help leader Nibali, winner Rogers in Stage 16

    BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — The Pyrenees on Tuesday lived up to their reputation for causing ups and downs at the Tour de France: A French rider climbed in the standings, an American went down, and an Australian rebounding from an ordeal ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Mountain stage rough on Yankee rider

    BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — The Tour de France entered the Pyrenees on Tuesday for the first of three mountain stages that may well determine the final podium of this year’s race....

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong prefers not talking about a national title

    DALLAS — Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game....

    July 23, 2014

  • TCU’s Fields investigated for alleged assault

    FORT WORTH, Texas — TCU suspended defensive end Devonte Fields on Tuesday pending the results of a police investigation into whether he punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun while shouting, “I should blast ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Sun Belt boss expresses faith in the ‘Power-5’

    NEW ORLEANS — The Sun Belt Conference’s 11 institutions are prepared to pay more to remain part of major college football, commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday....

    July 23, 2014

  • Crunch time for Ryder Cup

    HOYLAKE, England — The end of the British Open means the Ryder Cup is getting closer, and there are a couple of regulars still not in the team. That starts with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods....

    July 23, 2014

  • Sam excited about next phase of career

    ST. LOUIS — Now it starts to get intense for Michael Sam and the rest of the St. Louis Rams rookies....

    July 23, 2014

  • Rory McIlroy appears poised to be golf’s next big thing

    HOYLAKE, England — Golf has been looking for the next big star the last five years, and Rory McIlroy is the most obvious candidate....

    July 23, 2014

  • Yankees acquire Headley from Padres

    NEW YORK — Trying to boost one of the weakest lineups in the American League, the New York Yankees acquired third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres on Tuesday for rookie infielder Yangervis Solarte and minor league pitcher ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Rays get to Wainright, win sixth straight

    ST. LOUIS — Jake Odorizzi allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings and Yunel Escobar highlighted a five-run fifth inning with a two-run double to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night....

    July 23, 2014