Redemption: Oakley’s Juan Pablo Montoya Smokes the Field at NASCAR-Watkins Glen; Risi Competizione and Franchitti Dominate at Mid-Ohio
He let a few slip away. But this past weekend: Redemption.
“It’s about time,” said Oakley’s Juan Pablo Montoya, who dominated NASCAR’s Watkins Glen event this past weekend. “We’ve lost a lot of them, gave away a lot of them. It gets frustrating, everybody fighting. There’s so many things I have to learn. I still make a lot of mistakes. It’s experience. We’ve just got to learn from it.”
And learn from “it” he did. Montoya had the rest of the field in his dust for 74 of 90 laps on the road course in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Rival Marcos Ambrose made several charges at the O Team Racer, but Juan Pablo boldly fended him off. Even better, he darted to the line nearly five seconds before Kurt Busch for his second career victory. The Columbian speed demon’s last win came at Infineon Raceway near Sonoma in 2007.
Scoping out the big picture, Montoya made a charge for the Sprint NASCAR Cup last year – finishing eighth overall in points. This year started off gloomy, but the win certainly sets his team in momentum for success in the future. After all, winning does a lot for team chemistry and morale.
“I think this will really bring the team together, Montoya said. “It’s a great thing for the future."
*Teleport to the Sports Car Course at Mid-Ohio and Oakley flat out dominated…in more ways than one. In IZOD IndyCar action, Oakley’s Dario Franchitti posted his 25th open-wheel racing victory, moving into a tie with Gordon Johncock for 12th on the all-time list.
Will Power, the overall IndyCar Championship Leader, attacked over the final 15 laps, but after a Lap 70 restart, Dario pulled away to win by a narrow 0.5234. His victory placed him within 41 points of Power – and pushed him forward with “Mr. Mo Mentum” in his corner.
“Quite a lot of things running through my head right now, getting to that quarter century, doing it here at Mid-Ohio, a place I found almost every way to lose a race,” Franchitti said, who started second and recorded his second victory of the season. “Twelve years ago it was my first pole here. It’s very satisfying.”
*On the same course, but a completely different event, Oakley sponsored American Le Mans Series racing team, Risi Competizione, recorded its first ever victory at Mid-Ohio.
The smoking hot No. 62 Risi Ferrari F430 GTC of Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni held off charges by Corvettes and blazed past both BMW’s after Melo’s second pit stop.
After switching to the reserve pump, Melo was able to begin the fight back to the front of the field, picking off cars one by one until he make the stunning move on the two BMWs with just 45 minutes left to run. An epic battle with Oliver Gavin’s Corvette ensued, reminiscent of the one enjoyed by so many at Le Mans this year, until the second of the full course caution periods occurred 50 minutes before the end of the race. Melo knew that the battle could be won or lost in the pits, and elected at the last minute to take just left side Michelin tires instead of a full set and gaining valuable seconds which allowed him to exit the pits before Gavin. He went on to take the checkered just 0.582 seconds ahead of the Corvette, recording his 17th ALMS career win and Bruni’s third.
“It was pretty hard to hold the position because at the last stop we just changed the left side tires so it was getting difficult to find grip in the left hand corners,” Melo said. “We had a very consistent car and I could keep very good lap times, although I had some slow traffic on the last two laps and that brought the Corvette very close. I tried to stay calm and not make any mistakes.”
Utter domination by Oakley’s Motorsports Teams and Athletes this past weekend. Congratulations to the O Team for displaying its might across multiple events!