Blown Right Front Tire Ends a Strong Run for Montoya at Martinsville

MINNEAPOLIS - March 30, 2010
Results from Martinsville Speedway
1.    Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota
2.    Joey Logano, No. 20 Toyota
3.     Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet
30.  Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet
36.  Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet
Montoya’s run to the front was cut short at Martinsville Monday afternoon as the No. 42 Target Chevrolet was just about to break into the top-10 when a blown right front tire would change the course of the race. Montoya was forced back to the garage for repairs and returned to the track 100 laps down to finish out the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 in 36th.
Juan Pablo Montoya’s statistics heading into Martinsville Speedway were impressive as only three other active drivers had better finishing averages than Montoya - Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. The Target team looked to continue that success and was off to a strong start with top-10 runs in the practice sessions. Unfortunately rain moved through the area Friday afternoon cancelling qualifying and forcing the Target team to line-up by owner points in the 22nd position.
Rain fell again Sunday afternoon, postponing the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 until Monday. As the green flag waved, Montoya immediately radioed in that the Target Chevrolet was lacking in forward bite. Over the course of the next 100 laps the crew worked on every pit stop to improve the handling and the successful changes catapulted Montoya into the 11th position on lap 115. That run to the front would abruptly end just 10 laps later as a blown right front tire would cause significant damage to the front suspension. The 42 Target Chevrolet was brought back to the garage for major repairs and Montoya would return 100 laps later to finish out the day in the 36th position.
“It’s unfortunate that we can’t catch a break,” Montoya remarked. “The Target car was strong and we had just got the car handling right when the right front tire let go. I can’t believe the bad luck that is following us these days but I know we can rebound.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will enjoy an off-weekend to celebrate the Easter holiday this week. Racing will resume Saturday night, April 10 at Phoenix International Raceway. The Subway Fresh Fit 600 will air on FOX and radio stations affiliated with MRN at 7:30 pm (ET).
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