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Montoya crashes heavily on debut

Juan Pablo Montoya's first NASCAR Nextel Cup race came to a dramatic end when he brought out the red flags by crashing heavily following contact on lap 252 at Homestead.

Prior to the incident, Montoya had showed a lot of promise as he moved forward from 29th on the grid to run as high as 13th.

He had slipped back to 21st when he backed his Ganassi Dodge into the Turn 1 wall in the closing stages - causing a brief but spectacular fuel fire and leaving the car significantly damaged. NASCAR officials subsequently red-flagged the race so that a proper clean-up could take place prior to a final 10-lap shoot-out for the title.

Montoya escaped from the wreckage without injury.

"I'm pretty good," he confirmed. "I think the #18 (JJ Yeley) just got my rear bumper and spun me around. It's one of those things, it happens in racing.

"It's a shame because the Texaco Havoline Dodge has been a great car today. Everybody worked so hard on this car and it was a fast race car.

"I screwed up once - I was trying to make up ground at the end and clipped the wall and it got really tight, but the guys fixed it. We wanted to make up some places and get up front."

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