Juan Pablo Montoya has taken his first victory in his return to the Verizon IndyCar Series as the grid hit the tricky triangle of Pocono.
Indeed it was certainly the Colombian’s day in Pennsylvania as he started on pole and set the record for the fastest ever 500 mile race – his average speed of 202.402MPH was 5MPH faster than Jimmy Vasser at the Auto Club Speedway in 2002.
However, at the start the Team Penske man had to look out for his team mate Will Power who didn’t need to be asked twice to jump into the lead off the start.
That was the status quo for a while, but of course Montoya is nothing but doggedly determined and lap after lap, corner after corner, he took the fight to the Australian until a clash of wing on wheel saw Montoya’s wing lose an end plate but gain the position.
A testament to how hard that battle was, was the fact that that move was made after 160 laps after the only caution period of the entire race. Indeed the caution period was for the seemingly ever unlucky Graham Rahal who stopped out on track with mechanical issues.
“First of all, I want to thank Verizon, IndyCar, PPG and everyone who supports this car and Team Penske. I want thank Roger for believing in me after how many years out of open-wheel, coming back and believing I could do it. Here we are. It’s awesome that we could do it. I want to thank the fans for coming out.” Stated Montoya after his first US open wheel victory since Gateway International Raceway in 2000.
For Power, who was an able sparring partner, his race ended in not such a great fashion as he was penalised for blocking Helio Castroneves with only 25 laps to go. Power recovered to tenth but he certainly lost a great opportunity considering this race pays double points for being a 500 miler.
Castroneves certainly didn’t appear to be done any harm by being blocked as he finished second to take a joint lead in the points table with the above mentioned Power.
In third place was the silver lining on Andretti Autosport’s grey cloud – Carlos Munoz finished in third place to equal his best result this season and place him sixth in the points.
- In related news, Jack Hawksworth has been diagnosed with a myocardial contusion after a heavy crash in the practice for this race. The Bryan Herta Autosport driver was not allowed to compete in this race and will be inspected again before the next race at Iowa Speedway this weekend.