Thursday, May 12, 2011

On Juan Pablo

While most of us have been focused on the Kevin Harvick-Kyle Busch controversy at Darlington last week, let's take a look at one more accident. That was the Juan Pablo Montoya-Jimmie Johnson wreck.
It's true Montoya is too aggressive at times, and there's no doubt he needs to be on good behavior. He's never been afraid to use his bumper in a bulldozer-like fashion to clear a path in front of him.
It's true that Montoya did bump and spin Johnson during Saturday night's race after Johnson had passed Montoya.
But when taking a look at the video, this wreck might not have been all on Montoya. As Johnson completed his pass and started to pull up in front of Montoya, the two cars behind Montoya went noticeably slower. What this tells us is that Montoya was slowing down to try and avoid a wreck.
Given Montoya's history, it's easy to assume this was all on him. Even the announcers just assumed that it was all Montoya's fault without really studying the video. Does he deserve part of the blame here? Probably. Was he trying to avoid an accident this time? Definitely.
Johnson, the five-time defending champion, is a great driver. But he's not perfect. Had he waited just a second or two to complete the pass, this accident probably would have been avoided.
So let's give Juan Pablo a little room on this one.

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