Juan Pablo Montoya takes a breather
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) -As the rain poured down on Bristol Motor Speedway, a restless Juan Pablo Montoya searched the Internet for something to do. He was out of new movies and wasn't interested in the Formula One season opener.
So he went shopping.
Montoya hit just about every store in downtown Johnson City, stocking up on supplies to bring home to Colombia for a 10-day break during NASCAR's off weekend. He picked up lawn equipment at Home Depot, and parts to trick out his Polaris at Sears.
He grabbed a new stack of DVD's at Target, bath wash at Babies 'R' Us and convinced the sales clerk to sell him the "Cars" themed TV set on display at Toys 'R' Us.
Six hours later, he was spent as he settled into a booth at Burger King for a double whopper and fries as race fans throughout the restaurant snapped his photo from their camera phones.
"I'm tired. Really tired," Montoya said. "It's been a busy opening month to the season and I'm really, really ready for a break."
That's the sentiment throughout NASCAR right now. A tweak to the schedule this season moved the first bye weekend back three weeks, giving drivers their first real chance at any significant time off this week.
Add in a two-day test in Phoenix, bad weather in California that forced the Sprint Cup Series to hold over an extra day and the numerous sponsor commitments that fill the early part of a drivers' season, and everybody is tired.
But Montoya also had a whirlwind trip through Colombia last week in which he and wife, Connie, hosted NASCAR chairman Brian France and other dignitaries as they showed off their Formula Smiles Foundation in Cartagena.