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End of the affair (cont.)

Posted: Monday April 2, 2007 1:21PM; Updated: Monday April 2, 2007 3:36PM
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And what's been obvious through Montoya's first seven weeks in NASCAR is that he seems to have kept his aggressive style.

In the Busch race in Mexico Montoya spun out Scott Pruett when it appeared he still had time to overtake him cleanly.


And on Sunday Raines said, "I thought I raced him (Montoya) clean for 10-15 laps. I got by him coming off of [Turn] 4 and cleared him, and he just dove under me entering [Turn] 1. We made contact and I backed into the wall."

Considering that what's not acceptable in Formula One is SOP in NASCAR, Montoya made have found a home that suits his style. But that doesn't mean every driver plays by those rules. Just look at the result of Sunday's race in Martinsville when Jeff Gordon said that that only way he was going to win was to wreck Jimmie Johnson, and Gordon refused that option.

NASCAR history is filled with drivers who have made their careers based on being tough competitors who give no slack to their rivals. It will take a little more time to see if Montoya's driving style is a type of a modern day intimidator or merely misplaced temper.

Key moment

The rain showers that brought out the red flag, and sabotaged Dale Earnhardt Jr., who seemed to be in control of the race until then. "If it wouldn't have rained, we would have been hard for the rest of the field to handle," said Earnhardt. But something got into his eye blown from the track dryers and he wasn't the same after.

Surprise moment

After a week of bashing the Car of Tomorrow, especially after some serious problems with exhaust pipes cropped up, the new car design has changed race strategy. In particular, race winner Johnson found out that a hard hit in the rear won't necessarily move another driver out of the way because of the new bumper design. That could be a good thing, as it means the short track bump and run belongs only to the Car of Yesterday. Johnson explained: "These bumpers really hit square and solid. There is no lift, there is just a straight shot in the butt."

Hot numbers

• This was Johnson's third win at Martinsville and third of the year. It was also his 26th career Nextel Cup Victory.

• Hendrick Motorsports has won both Car of Tomorrow races, and on Sunday, had three of the top four finishers.

• Chevrolet Impala SS cars took the top seven finishing spots, at NASCAR's shortest track at .526 miles.

• The margin of victory was 0.065 seconds.

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