Photo Credit: Boston Globe
Juan Pablo Montoya, 41, made his return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2014 for the first time since 2000, and he has driven for Team Penske in each of the three seasons since, placing 4th, 2nd, and 8th in the championship standings in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons, respectively.
With 25-year-old Josef Newgarden recently signing with Team Penske to drive Montoya’s #2 car from the past three seasons in the 2017 season, that left Montoya looking for a full-time ride for next season, possibly with Ed Carpenter Racing, AJ Foyt Enterprises, or Chip Ganassi Racing. It looks unlikely that he will get that full-time ride now, but he will have a ride in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, and with Team Penske no less.
Montoya agreed to an Indianapolis 500-only deal with Team Penske for 2017, so he will likely not have a full-time ride with another team. However, according to Montoya, this deal is still very satisfying to him, as despite not having a full-time ride, he will still have a great opportunity to become the 11th three-time winner of “the Greatest Spectacle in Racing”.
“It’s my best chance to win Indy again, to be honest. That is the one that counts and Penske gives me the best chance to win,” Montoya stated in an interview with Motorsport.com. “Also this will give me more time to work with Sebastian [son] in karting.”
Montoya won the 2000 Indianapolis 500 in his rookie season and then did not drive in the race again until 2014, when he finished in 5th place despite receiving a pit drive-through penalty in the middle of the race. He then won the race again in 2015, but finished in last (33rd) place this past season after an early crash.
This addition of Montoya to Team Penske for the Indianapolis 500 will give them five of the best drivers in the sport for the race. For this race, the team will be loaded from top to bottom with 2016 IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, 2014 IndyCar Series champion Will Power, rising star and 2016 Indianapolis 500 third place finisher Josef Newgarden, and now Juan Pablo Montoya driving Roger Penske’s cars.