With closest points challenger Will Power being involved in a late-race wreck in Saturday’s MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway, Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth to extend his points lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Montoya came into Saturday’s race with a 27-point lead over Power. But with the latter’s wreck with Takuma Sato, Montoya now leads Power, who remains in second, by 46 points.
Scott Dixon remains in third, but closes the gap to just a 49-point spread between himself and Montoya. And race-winner Graham Rahal goes from 91 points behind Montoya to 73 points in arrears.
But Montoya also was not happy with the way Saturday’s race played out at the Fontana, Calif., track, particularly the tight pack racing at speeds well over 200 mph.
“Honestly, I felt it was a little too stupid,” Montoya said. “I talked to IndyCar yesterday and we shouldn’t be racing like this.”
Two late-race wrecks – the first involving Will Power and Takuma Sato, and the second involving Montoya, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe – didn’t have to happen, Montoya said.
“This is full pack racing and sooner or later, somebody’s going to get hurt,” he said. “We don’t need to be doing this.”
Even though Hunter-Reay’s car bounced off Montoya’s car in the final wreck of the race, the latter’s didn’t suffer any damage and he was able to motor on to his fourth-place showing.
“We have a hell of a show and everything,” Montoya said. “But we did what we had to do.
“We had a hell of a car. When there was one crash (Power/Sato) and another crash (Hunter-Reay/Briscoe), my only goal was to finish ahead of (Scott) Dixon and we did that. It’s good.“
As for Graham Rahal, who was essentially the beneficiary of the final wreck, as he won the race under caution, Montoya had no quibble.
“He drove a hell of a race,” Montoya said of Rahal. “He deserves the win.”