This weekend in Michigan, Montoya plans to go for the win
Up and down, right and left – it describes Juan Pablo Montoya’s driving wheelhouse, and his seven-year NASCAR career.
There were plenty of highs. The Colombian excited a robust NASCAR fan base, winning twice and making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2009. Of course, there were lows, including championship points finishes outside the top 20 in each of his last three years.
No matter the finish, however, he was never bland – a shoving match with Kevin Harvick at Watkins Glen remains a lasting image.
These days, Montoya competes in the IndyCar Series, and is currently seventh in points with a podium and three top fives.
But he’s back. Montoya will run the No. 12 Ford for Team Penske this weekend at Michigan International Speedway as part of a two-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. He’ll also race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.
His goal at Michigan? Simple. "Absolutely our goal is to win the race. Michigan is a huge race for Roger (Penske) and for the manufacturers. It would be an honor for me to be able to do that for them. We tested the No.12 SKF Ford several weeks ago at Nashville and it was really quick. I felt like I got up to speed in no time. That said, we realize that it’s going to be difficult. The Cup Series is always evolving so when you aren’t in the car every week you can get behind easily. But I have two teammates that are among the fastest drivers every race, so I know the speed will be there to contend.”
In 14 races at Michigan, Montoya scored three top-10 finishes.
There’s one factor that may play into Montoya’s hands – speed, something he encounters in abundance while driving in open wheel. Michigan’s Coors Light Pole winning speed has eclipsed the 200 mph mark in three of the last four qualifying sessions – including last August’s record breaking run of 203.949 mph by Joey Logano.
NASCAR Wire Service