News & Media

Notes: Aggressive Montoya gets nose jobs at Rolex

January 30, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Actor/racer Dempsey has full weekend; Allmendinger subject of prank

How aggressive was Juan Montoya during his final stint Sunday in the No. 02 Ganassi Racing BMW Riley, which Montoya kept in the overall lead in the Rolex 24 Grand-Am season opener at Daytona International Speedway?

So much so that his team went through three noses on Montoya's Daytona Prototype. The third nose on the car was plain white, sans the logo of sponsor Target, because the team didn't really expect to use it.

Jamie McMurray and Juan Montoya share a laugh after their podium finish. (Getty Images)

"Me? I'm never aggressive. I don't even know what you're talking about."


"Me?" Montoya said with mock incredulity, when asked if he was more aggressive than usual. "I'm never aggressive. I don't even know what you're talking about.

"No, over the night you have to be aggressive. There are some guys, when you get beside them ..."

One of those "guys" was the No. 76 Ford Lola of Krohn Racing, which frustrated Montoya by blocking his progress for more than 20 minutes Sunday morning.

"I spent 10 laps or 15 laps trying to pass that green car [76], and when I finally passed him, he lets the other car go [Montoya's teammate in the No. 01 car, Joey Hand]. So it was like, 'Oh, my God.' I was so hoping he was going to hold him and I'm going to open a bit of a gap."

Montoya considered moving the No. 76 out of the way, but by then, noses were at a premium.

"Tempting," he said. "But they came on the radio and said, 'Whatever you do, do not touch him.' When they say that, you [say], 'Yes, sir.' "

Montoya and teammates Jamie McMurray, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti finished second in Sunday's race behind their sister car, the No. 01 BMW Riley driven by Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal and Hand.

Full-time racing for Dempsey? Not exactly

Actor Patrick Dempsey was so elated about his team's podium finish in the Rolex 24's GT division that he joked about quitting his day job.

"I'm retired from Grey's Anatomy as of [Sunday], and I will be racing full time from here on in -- now there's a headline for you," Dempsey quipped.

In fact, Dempsey now has two day jobs. He flew from Daytona to Park City, Utah, on Friday for the screening of Flypaper, a film he produced and starred in, at the Sundance Film Festival. He flew back to Daytona on Saturday in time for the 3:30 p.m. start of the race.

"It's really tricky because you have to balance the two [racing and acting]," Dempsey said. "And this weekend, it was so obvious with having to get to the premiere that was successful, and the career, I had to balance them out.

"I hope I can successfully balance both out -- be competitive in both of those arenas and make time for both."

Allmendinger's team gets 'Shorty'

A.J. Allmendinger is 5 feet 6. His teammates in the Rolex 24 -- Justin Wilson and Michael McDowell -- are 6-4 and 6-3, respectively.

Consequently, building a seat for a Daytona Prototype is a compromise. With two tall drivers and one short one, Allmendinger's Michael Shank team opted for a larger seat in the No. 6 Ford Dallara, leaving Allmendinger to use a seat insert when it was his turn to drive.

An as-yet-unidentified prankster on Allmendinger's team couldn't resist the opportunity. The culprit found a "Little Tykes" sticker and placed it conspicuously on Allmendinger's seat insert.

Despite discomfort with the seat, Allmendinger closed out the Rolex 24 on Sunday afternoon in seventh position in the Daytona Prototype division.