NASCAR officials say Montoya move was legal

Updated: March 6, 2007, 8:26 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR officials said a review of Sunday's Busch Series race in Mexico City revealed that Juan Pablo Montoya did not merge into the field illegally under caution as several competitors insisted.

Boris Said, who finished third, said that Montoya did not merge at the end of the longest line of continuous cars as he is supposed to when he came out off pit road with 27 laps remaining.

Denny Hamlin, who finished second, questioned Busch Series director Joe Balash about the incident after the race.

"They looked at it and said the right call was made," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said on Tuesday.

Montoya came back onto the track 21st and restarted the race 19th. He then roared through the field, taking the lead with eight laps remaining when he spun out teammate Scott Pruett in the first turn.

He went on to become the first Hispanic driver to win a race in NASCAR's top three series.

David Newton is a senior NASCAR writer for ESPN.com.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter