Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya got into a bit of an on-track dustup at Richmond last weekend, and while it didn't degenerate into a fight after the race (Newman went to the NASCAR hauler, Montoya got while the gettin' was good in a golf cart), clearly some hard feelings still exist. At Darlington, both spent almost their entire media sessions discussing the issue.
"The situation that I was in, ultimately the way it all worked out, it cost us a lot for what we didn't do," Newman said. "That's the toughest part of that whole situation there at Richmond. You know, just getting caught up in a racing situation that in turn turns into something else because of somebody's temper is not acceptable in my eyes."
The conventional wisdom seems to be that it's Montoya who's the hothead and Newman who's just Taking Care of Business, but Montoya has a slightly different take. At Friday's media session, Montoya initially declined to talk about Newman, but didn't require much prodding to open up:
"I'll tell you the truth, with Newman it's been since my first Cup race," Montoya said. "In my first Cup race the guy that wrecked me was him and after that I've been wrecked a couple times more by him. Really never wanted to have a problem with him and it's just a pain in the ass when you are trying to race smart and the give and take, you let everybody by and then you expect people to do the same. It's just unnecessary."
That's lots'o chivalrous talking-around. Get to the point, gentlemen! Is this over or not?
"I don't think once you have an issue it's over in what we do," Newman said. "Even when you think you're over it with somebody else, it can reflare really quick. I'm not sure if that was something of what happened at Richmond. But either way, I'm still not happy about it, let's put it that way."
And you wouldn't like Newman when he's not happy. Or Montoya, for that matter. Now, if only NASCAR were running at a track where cars bang against one another and the wall with some regularity ...