Just days after Juan Pablo Montoya's harrowing wreck in the Daytona 500 – when his car suddenly swerved into a jet dryer and set off an explosion involving 200 gallons of jet fuel – the Colombian driver told reporters at Phoenix he felt fortunate to escape unharmed.
"I'm still a little sore, but not bad," Montoya said outside his hauler. "It's kind of interesting five days later when you look back at the impact – I'm pretty lucky, to be honest."
Montoya, typically unflappable, said he views incidents like the jet dryer explosions as "terrible" and a "freak accident" but tries not to think about the what-ifs.
"The way I've always looked at it is, 'Either you're going to be OK or you're not,'" he said. "I don't think anyone could hit anything harder than I did."
As for what caused the accident, Montoya confirmed it was a parts failure that triggered him turning abruptly into the back of the jet dryer.
If there are positives to be had in all this, it's once again that the much-maligned vehicle formerly known as the "Car of Tomorrow" did its job and allowed Montoya to walk away with nothing more than a bruised foot.
"The COT when it came out, people complained it wasn't this, it was that, and the view from the side, and the size and this," Montoya said. "I can guarantee in the other car, I wouldn't be OK. I am pretty happy we're in this car. It's pretty amazing what NASCAR does."
With the knowledge both he and the driver of the jet dryer escaped uninjured, Montoya was able to laugh and offer some perspective how in retrospect the accident ended up being a good team bonding experience for a group still trying to get familiar with one another.
"We're here in Phoenix and everyone was OK from that accident," he said. "It's very important the guy driving the jet dryer was OK, and the positives are we're here now."