McMurray and Montoya: Bad Luck Or a New NASCAR Rivalry?
A lot of news has been made over the fact that last week at Las Vegas Motorspeedway, Jamie McMurray got into his teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, taking both cars, as well as pole sitter Kurt Busch, into the wall and causing all three cars to finish outside the top 30 that day. After the crash, McMurray took the blame for the incident. Montoya, however, did not like what had transpired. He proceeded to call out his teammate, saying that "he's just trying to prove to everyone that he can drive a race car. I don't know, but he's not doing himself any favors."
That is only what was said to the announcer. What was said over his radio was most likely much worse. JPM's wife also decided to get in on the action, commenting that "the Mcdonald's clown must have been driving the car." Ouch.
Since the incident, a lot of people in the media have made a large point of these comments, and many feel that this can only bring down both drivers. It was also made public that EGR has "handled the situation," which tells me that we should expect no retaliation.
But remember that last year, at the spring Bristol race, almost the exact same situation came up, just with a role reversal: Montoya had the faster car, and in order to pass McMurray, he bumped him out of the way. Just like last week, both cars were in the top ten, and the person that was wrecked was not too happy. Coincidence?
Now that these guys are teammates, I doubt that much will come from it this year. When you are driving a race car, you must have a short memory. But off the track, the same can not be said. Regardless of what EGR or the Media says, there is a strong chance that the "friendship" between McMurray and Montoya no longer exists.
Which leads me to think: what will happen next year? McMurray is driving on a one-year deal, and with the Daytona 500 victory, if he can keep his car running in the top 15-20 for the rest of the season, there will be offers for him elsewhere. If he left, would there still be bad blood? Last year, he said that had he not signed with EGR, "Montoya would have been given hell in the chase from me." Should he leave, will those feelings carry over?
NASCAR needs a rivalry to attract fans. They have worked in the past, and would still work today. It's not definite that this will become a big rivalry, but should McMurray leave EGR, watch out.
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