Home » NASCAR - Sprint Cup Series

Woody: NASCAR Traffic Police Got Their Man

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 31 2009
Noted traffic offender Juan Pablo Montoya.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Noted traffic offender Juan Pablo Montoya. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer

I suppose by now everybody has heard about Juan Pablo Montoya getting ticketed for speeding down pit road at Indy last Sunday while eating a McDonald’s breakfast burrito and talking on his cell phone.

NASCAR crossing guard John Darby said he repeatedly blew his whistle in an attempt to get “El Speedo” to slow down but apparently Montoya had his stereo cranked up so high with an old Def Leopard roof-thumper that he “couldn’t hear it thunder.”

Montoya was clocked doing 60.11 in a 55 zone.

He was pulled over and asked The Invariable Speeder’s Question: “Hey Fireball, where ‘ya think you’re at, Indianapolis?”

Officer Brian France, who ran Montoya’s tags and wrote the ticket, said he would have given the reckless racer a 5 mph mulligan, but drew the line at that extra .11.

For those who don’t understand NASCAR’s pit road speeding rules (i.e., everybody this side of Uganda), the strip is broken down into “Zones.”

There’s Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, School Zone and Twilight Zone.

NASCAR, using a complex device known as an “alarm clock” can tell precisely how fast a driver is going as he passes through each of the zones.

Darby said Montoya “was already pushing it” when he exited the School Zone and entered the Twilight Zone.

That’s when the alarm clock went off and Trooper France turned on the blue lights.

While Montoya fumbled in the glove compartment searching for his registration and proof of insurance, his car co-signer Felix Sabates sputtered on the sidelines shouting, “You’re in big trouble when you get home, Mister!”

Actually Felix told reporters there was a perfectly good explanation why his driver was speeding: a bee flew through the window and distracted him.

Just kidding; what Felix really said was that they’d spent $200,000 on a brand-new car that for some reason didn’t have a workable speedometer.

Instead of a speedometer they rely on something called “RPMs.” We’ve seen how well that works. Why not just have an old gypsy fortune teller ride along in the passenger seat and try to divine the speed?

It’s amazing that in this day of automotive advancements and technology, NASCAR’s rocket scientists can’t invent something as simple as a dashboard device that shows a driver how fast he’s going.

My car has one. Your car has one. How come NASCAR’s cars can’t have one?

Here’s how it works: You’re driving down the road – say, a road posted with a 55 mph speed limit sign – and see a Smokey hiding up ahead in the bushes eating doughnuts. You immediately glance down at the “speedometer.”

If its shows that you’re doing “56,” you tap the “brakes” until the “needle” drops down to “55.”

I know it sounds complicated, but you eventually get the hang of it.

However, NASCAR’s notoriously slow to change – most of its cars still are equipped with 8-track tape decks. So for the foreseeable future it will continue to divide its pit roads into School Zones, with some guy holding a ray gun hiding in the bushes at the end.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 31 2009


  • johnny says:

    Hello. Thank you for this great info! Keep up the good job!

  • Doobie says:

    How come NASCAR’s cars can’t have one? (speedometer)

    When NASCAR penalizes for speeding, no speedometer means no proof.
    (And they like it that way.)

  • Jerry says:

    Wow, Larry you’ve got quite sarcastic since the Tennessean fired you’re ass.

    • Jim Pedley says:

      FYI. Larry took a voluntary buyout from the Tennessean. Me, I got my ass fired. BTW, in newspapering these days, we take getting fired as a badge of honor.

  • Nick says:

    Nice. Beautifully entertaining sarcasm.
    Maybe Officer Brian France was “profiling” Mr. Montoya because, well, “he didn’t look like he was from around these parts”.

  • mark henderson says:

    isnt there an extra ticket for driving with earphones too?