McMurray text-messages apology to Montoya

March, 2, 2010
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Let's put the Jamie McMurray-Juan Pablo Montoya conflict into context.

Or simply text.

McMurray texted his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammate to say he was sorry. Montoya replied with a text acceptance.

Feud over.

Not that there really was a Hatfield-McCoy type of feud. More like a family spat with some history.

Yes, Montoya was furious when his teammate wrecked him in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He should have been. The incident took away a potential top-10 finish and left him tied for 26th in points, 127 behind 12th place.

It also may have dredged up memories from last year's spring race at Bristol, where an incident between the two left McMurray, then at Roush Fenway Racing, wondering if they ever would talk again.

But after Montoya cooled down Sunday, all apparently was forgiven. At least that's the impression he gave McMurray, who says "all is good'' and that the whole incident was overblown. That also is the impression he left a group of media attending his celebrity golf event in Bogota, Colombia.

Here's the account Colombia journalist Diego Mejia gave:

    "He sent me a text message saying, 'Hey I'm sorry, I'm sure you're mad at me, you want me to call you and talk through [this] thing?''' said Montoya, who flew from Vegas to his native country. "And I said, 'Don't worry, it happened, yes I was real mad, but let's move forward.'

    "It's frustrating because your teammate is the guy you've got to race the smartest. You have to give each other a lot of respect because you don't want to end up in a bad situation like last Sunday. He was running well and so was I. We were running in the top 10 and were competitive and we both threw a top-five finish out the window.''

That was a much calmer Montoya than the one who got out of his car and said, "He run straight into my a--. He nearly ran me into the fence in 2 as well. I don't know. He's not doing himself any favors.''

Montoya also went on to say after the race that McMurray "is just trying to prove to people he can drive a race car, and I guess he isn't doing too many favors on his team.''

Harsh, but understandable in the heat of the moment. It's no different than a kid cursing parents after being punished for something they felt they didn't deserve and the next day giving them a hug.

McMurray knew he screwed up as soon as the incident happened. The Daytona 500 champion immediately began apologizing over his radio.

He understands teammates need to get along, although it doesn't have to be that way. Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman seemingly always were at odds at Penske Racing. It finally came to a head at Martinsville in 2004, when Wallace retaliated for an incident that took him out of win contention with a smack following the checkered flag.

As far as we know, no text apologies ever were exchanged.

Darrell Waltrip and Neil Bonnett weren't exactly buddies when they raced for Junior Johnson in the mid-1980s. Of course, back then teams didn't share information like they do today, so maybe it's more essential for teammates to get along.

But at least for now the McMurray-Montoya conflict is over -- unless it happens again. Then the family spat could turn into a feud.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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