Monday, September 21, 2009
Nice Guys DO Finish First: Martin Wins at Loudon, 5th Win of Season
by Ed Hinton
LOUDON, N.H. -- Mark Martin fought it out for this one, slugged and clawed and widened his points lead at the outset of the Chase for a championship he has never won. And at long, long last, there was controversy over how he won a race.
"Mark just screwed me out there," Juan Pablo Montoya said of the driver esteemed by his peers for more than two decades as NASCAR's cleanest, fairest driver.
Martin, of course, had a gentlemanly and credible explanation for the dogfight that ended Sunday's playoff-opening Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
But first, let's let Montoya let 'er rip. It's not every day - or year, or decade - you get to hear someone complain about Martin's tactics.
"He always does run very clean," Montoya said, "so I was kind of surprised when he did that. I know it's the Chase and everything, but he just …"
Montoya clearly had the strongest car all afternoon, and had led 105 of the 300 laps. So, on a double-file restart with only three laps left, and Martin and Montoya starting on the front row, Martin looked cooked.