Former Indy 500 champs fall by wayside

DEAN MCNULTY

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

DAYTONA, FLA. -- At the start of yesterday's 50th running of the Daytona 500, there were three former Indianapolis 500 winners on the grid with 2000 champ Juan Pablo Montoya starting 10th in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge.

It was pretty much downhill from there for Montoya until near the end of the race when pit stop strategy put him a position to challenge, but an incident with Clint Bowyer left him back in 32nd at the finish.

FRANCHITTI DOWN LAP EARLY

Sam Hornish Jr., the 2006 Indy winner, kept his No. 77 Penske South Racing Dodge in the hunt for most of the day, until he too was involved in an incident with defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and he would finish 19th.

Dario Franchitti, the 2007 Indy champ, started his No. 40 Ganassi Racing Dodge from the next to last row and pretty much just ran laps, going down a lap early and finishing 33rd.

There had been much debate leading up to the Daytona 500 whether so many open wheel drivers coming to NASCAR would be good for the sport.

But yesterday's winning team owner Roger Penske said that speed and not background, must be criteria in any for of racing.

"Juan set the table for everybody last year," he said. "That showed a lot of people in the garage that open wheel guys are good drivers too."

On his driver Hornish, Penske said that with him being so young (28) he's not affected by what people may think of him do he some to NASCAR with a good attitude.

"He doesn't know what he doesn't know," Penske said.


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