Juan Pablo Montoya has played the scary-looking incident from last Monday niight's Daytona 500 over in his head all week and understand just how lucky he is that things ended up the way they did.
Montoya's fiery crash with a jet dryer working on the track in turn three was the result of a parts failure on his Target Chevrolet as he was trying to catch up to the field under caution.
“There was a vibration; an issue or the gear box broke," Montoya explained Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. "It started to feel weird because then I shifted and it depends on the rpm; it was like on or off. And I said (to the crew on the radio) look, I think there’s something wrong. We looked at everything and everything was fine. And I went out again and we had a problem with the car and that was it, you know. We move on.”
Montoya suffered what he calls minor injuries to his feet in the accident but other than that he's no worse for wear.
“I’m feeling okay," he said. "My feet are still a little sore, but not bad. It’s kind of interesting a week later, or five days later, and you’re looking back on that. And there’s actually a shot that shows the impact, and I’m pretty lucky to be honest.”
As Montoya's car sped down the backstretch and then went out of control heading for the jet dryer he saus all he could do is brace himself for what he knew was going to be a big hit.
“It sucks because the car spun and I’m going oh, driver’s side, that’s going to suck," Montoya said. "That’s the only thing. You don’t think oh my God I’m going to kill myself. Nah. You go oh, that’s going to hurt. It wasn’t too bad.”
The spectacular crash became a worldwide sensation and was quickly known around the world thanks to television, social media and You Tube. Montoya says he's heard from other drivers in various forms of motorsports who all have praised the safety initiatives in NASCAR.
“I think overall, people were kind of amazed that I walked out of that one," he said. "Honestly, everybody was being pretty amazed. Everyone has been really supportive and everything. The bright side is you can joke about it.”
Montoya's wife Connie may not yet be ready to joke about it but he says she was obviously relived to see him walk away from the crash so quickly.
She saw me get out of the car and it’s like, it’s all good," he said. "You know what I mean. As long as you get out, it’s all good, no?”
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