When Ryan Newman and Juan Pablo Montoya tangled at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night, with Montoya apparently wrecking Newman intentionally, it wasn’t the first time the two fiery drivers have locked horns or had issues with each other.
When Newman was hit by Denny Hamlin at Talladega a few weeks ago, he ran into Montoya, damaging Montoya’s car much worse than his own. The wreck might not have been Newman’s fault, but it knocked Montoya out of a race that he was in contention to win.
What happened at Richmond depends on who sat behind which steering wheel. First there was Newman running into the back of Montoya, whose deck lid was smashed and who saw another race ruined by Newman – a race that he started from the pole.
The result was no surprise – later in the race, Montoya retaliated, spinning Newman and causing him to crash.
These two drivers might not have a long-running feud, but they have a recent history of run-ins with each other.
And as far as Newman is concerned, it looks like it might continue. He told his team he would take care of Montoya after the race.
He never got to Montoya – who quickly fled the garage area – but did spend a long time in the NASCAR hauler after the race.
As he left, he indicated the feud wasn’t over.
“I’m not really sure the direction it’s going to go, but I got a few answers [from NASCAR],” Newman said.
More retaliation? Boys, have at it?
Montoya didn’t talk to the media after the race and his only communication with Newman afterward was seeing Newman veer his car toward him as he was walking out of the garage.
“To retaliate the way he did just didn’t show much class,” Newman said.
Neither Newman nor Montoya are considered the easiest drivers to pass or race on the track. Both drivers had payback incidents with Joey Logano last year.
“Every time Montoya has damage, you see who did it, they usually end up getting wrecked,” driver Denny Hamlin said. “You usually know that's coming. You have to realize, Montoya, I like him, I think he's a hell of a driver, but you the can't wreck everyone every time you get in an accident.
“Accidents happen. Guys make mistakes. Why hold grudges?”
What may cause Newman to hold a grudge is that he never felt he made a mistake to cause the first incident at Richmond.
“He just drifted up in front of me [the first time] and that was it and crashed himself basically,” Newman said. “I don’t know if he didn’t know he wasn’t clear or what, but he crashed himself off of Turn 2.
“I don’t know if he thought it was me on purpose, but the message was delivered that it wasn’t intentional. Either way, he ruined our day at that point and then he finished our day off later in the race on purpose.”
Now it’s Newman’s turn to possibly retaliate. If and when it happens remains to be seen.