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MARCH 5, 2007

A good weekend for ex-F1 men

Juan-Pablo Montoya won his first NASCAR race in the Busch Series event at the weekend in Mexico City. This is the second level NASCAR series but a win is nonetheless a major achievement for a rookie driver. However in the finest traditions of the Colombian's career it was done in controversial fashion after he took out his team mate Scott Pruett. Pruett described the move as "lowdown, nasty, dirty driving" but Montoya shrugged off the criticism, saying that he had thought that Pruett had seen him as he made his move for the lead. The result of the contact was that Pruett spun.

Elsewhere, former Jaguar test driver James Courtney put himself on the map in Australian V8 Supercar racing with a strong weekend in the season-opening event in Adelaide. Courtney joined the Stone Brothers Racing team last year as the replacement for double champion Marcus Ambrose, who moved to America to race NASCAR, but did not shine in his first season. In Adelaide, however, he served notice that he will be a major player this year with pole position for the Clipsal 500, a second place in the first race and an impressive comeback from 10th to third in the main event. He also set fastest lap in both events.

Ambrose, by the way, moved into the NASCAR Busch Series this year and had his best result to date in Mexico, finishing eighth.