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Monday, June 30, 2008

The "Great American Hope" report

Seems ex-Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya and (cough) F1 hopeful Kyle Busch had something of a dust up at Sunday’s race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Montoya, who said Busch hit him several times in the rain-shortened race, took an opportunity during a caution to spin the NASCAR points leader, and admitted to as much after the race.

All of which earned JPM a talking to from NASCAR officials, and saw him penalized two laps, relegating him to 32nd.

“He hit me under caution. He hit me under green and I retaliated,” Montoya said. “Did I go too far in retaliating? Yeah. I think they are giving me a penalty and it's okay for what I did.”

Busch, typically, seemed surprised anyone would take issue with his driving. Saying they barely touched on both occasions, he had no idea why Montoya spun him.

“I don't know what his beef is,” Busch said.

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Another (cough-cough) F1 hopeful, Danica Patrick, is facing criticism for blocking on short tracks, SI.com reports.

Indy 500 champion Scott Dixon called Patrick “a menace” after the recent race at Iowa Speedway, and fellow competitor Ed Carpenter recently called her the “new Scott Sharp,” a driver infamous for his blocking tactics.

When pressed prior to the Richmond race last weekend, Dixon had no regrets for his criticism.

“No,” Dixon said. “Why would I?”

For his part, Carpenter thought better of his comment.

“I thought about it later. I feel really bad about it,” he said. “I really threw Scott Sharp under the bus.”

Patrick, unsurprisingly, was surprised by the latest round of criticism.

"They're both bad (comments)," Patrick said. "Anybody will agree with that. So, again, I don't know where the comments came from. I really don't. That's really all I can say."

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Andretti Green Racing canned Bryan Herta and Christian Fittipaldi from it’s American Le Mans Series team, and will replace them with Franck Montagny on a permanent basis and (cough-cough-cough) F1 hopeful Marco Andretti at the Lime Rock race July 12.

No permanent teammate was named for Montagny, Autoweek.com surmises the Frenchman will be paired with several drivers over the remainder of the season.

F1 veteran Montagny was in the third place finishing Peugeot at Le Mans, and had been prepared to race in Champ Car before the merger, finishing second in the one-off Long Beach finale.

Andretti will also compete in the IndyCar Nashville race the evening of July 12.
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