Juan Pablo Montoya demonstrated his road course prowess again yesterday, stretching his final fuel load to the limit and grabbing his first NASCAR Nextel Cup win at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Montoya, who qualified a disappointing 32d in the 43-car field, was the first driver to win on the Northern California road circuit starting farther back than 13th.
The Colombian driver, who jumped from Formula One to NASCAR late last season, got his first Cup win in his 17th start and gave team owner Chip Ganassi his first win in NASCAR's top series since Jamie McMurray won in October 2002.
Montoya, whose only other NASCAR victory came earlier this year in a Busch Series race on the road course in Mexico City, passed McMurray, who now drives for Roush Fenway Racing, eight laps from the end and stayed out front of the 110-lap event on the 1.99-mile, 12-turn course.
Montoya led for a moment two laps earlier, driving his Dodge past McMurray's Ford in the slow hairpin near the end of the circuit, but he got too wide and McMurray was able to squeeze back by.
The pass that counted came in Turn 2, with Montoya easily getting under McMurray's car.
"I saw he was always hugging that corner and I thought, 'This is it.' I knew I could pass him there," Montoya said.
Donnie Wingo, his crew chief, said it was mostly Montoya's ability to conserve fuel that won the race. Wingo figured Montoya would run out about a lap short of the finish.
"Today, we had to play a little bit of catch-up, so we had to take a gamble there at the end," Wingo said. "He did a great job on saving fuel, everybody did a good job on the stops and the motor shop did a great job. Without the fuel mileage we'd have never made it."
McMurray ran out of gas at the start of Lap 109 and wound up finishing 37th.
Kevin Harvick inherited second place and finished there, followed by his Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer.
Series points leader Jeff Gordon overcame a 41st-place start to finish just behind Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart in seventh.
IRL -- IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti survived a slippery short oval and a furious late charge from teammate Marco Andretti to win the inaugural Iowa Corn Indy 250 in Newton, Iowa.
Franchitti, whose other victory in 2007 came at the Indy 500, won by 681-thousandths of a second. The win helped Franchitti open a 51-point lead over Tony Kanaan in the points race. Scott Sharp was third, followed by Buddy Rice and Darren Manning. Eight of the top 10 drivers in the current points standings, including Kanaan and Sam Hornish, were either involved in crashes or had mechanical trouble through the first 100 laps.
Andretti seems to have snapped out of his sophomore slump. It was his best finish of the season, and it came after five races in which he didn't crack the top 10.
Champ Car -- Paul Tracy pushed his way to the front and held off rookie Robert Doornbos on the final lap to win his third Grand Prix of Cleveland, ending Sebastien Bourdais's three-race winning streak.
Tracy was involved in two accidents early in the race but worked his way through the field and took the checkered flag, finishing .513 seconds ahead of Doornbos and another rookie, Neel Jani. The victory ended a 23-race winless streak for Tracy, whose last win came at Cleveland in 2005.