Montoya set for 2-race return to NASCAR
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Juan Pablo Montoya will make a two-race return to NASCAR this season, driving for Team Penske in the Brickyard 400 and at Michigan International Speedway.
Montoya spent the last eight years in NASCAR before making his return this season to open-wheel racing. Montoya will drive the No. 12 Ford Fusion on June 15 at Michigan and the July 27 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya is set to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400.
Montoya has two wins, 24 top-five finishes and nine pole awards in his Cup career. He has one top-10 finish in three IndyCar races this year.
Ryan Blaney will drive the same car for the NASCAR races in Kansas and Talladega. SKF will sponsor all the races but Indianapolis.
“Juan is a proven winner in multiple racing disciplines and he is one of the most versatile racecar drivers competing today,” team owner Roger Penske said Wednesday. “Michigan and Indianapolis are two important races for Team Penske. We know Juan has the ability to race for wins in both of those events while still focusing on his full-time program in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”
Montoya will join the Team Penske duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, both of whom have already visited Victory Lane in 2014.
“It has been a good start to the season with Team Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series and it will be fun to get back behind the wheel of the Cup car,” Montoya said. “It’s hard to believe, but Roger Penske has never won the Brickyard 400. I think that Brad, Joey and I will give Roger and Team Penske a great opportunity to check that off the list and we should be strong at Michigan as well.”
Before this season, Montoya last drove in IndyCar in 2000, the year he won the Indianapolis 500 driving for Chip Ganassi.
Montoya won seven races in CART and the Indy 500 in his two seasons competing in open wheel with Ganassi. Their run together also included the 1999 CART championship. He then moved to Formula One, where he spent six seasons before abruptly quitting to return to the United States to compete in NASCAR. He reunited with Ganassi, but the results never came.
His last win in NASCAR was in 2010, a year after he made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and finished a career-best eighth in the standings.
Montoya was in serious contention to win at least two Brickyard 400s, but both chances slipped away in the waning laps.
Montoya led 116 laps in 2009 until a speeding penalty on his final pit stop cost him the win. He was also leading in 2010 with 20 laps to go before a late caution sent him to pit road, where he got four tires while everyone else took two. Stuck deep in traffic with little time to make up the ground, Montoya crashed and finished 32nd.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)