At the Grand Prix of Houston, it was confirmed
that reigning Indy 500 and 2004 IndyCar
Series champ Tony Kanaan has signed with
Chip Ganassi Racing. But CGR’s follow-up
that weekend was more of a surprise…
Montoya’s two-season, 40-race CART
career with Chip Ganassi Racing brought
him the championship in his rookie season.
The Colombian is one of only eight drivers
to win the “500” at the first attempt. Can
he keep his 100% hit rate on his return?
Montoya started 94 grands prix for Williams
(2001-’04) and McLaren (’05 and a truncated
’06). He was third in points in ’02 and ’03.
CART (1999-2000) INDYCAR (2000 INDY 500) FORMULA 1 (2001-’06)
WINS - 10
OTHER PODIUMS - 3
WINS - 7
(Williams 4; McLaren 3)
PODIUMS - 23
LAPS LED -
167 of 200
Roger Penske famously plays his cards
close to his chest, but keeping schtum while
hiring Juan Pablo Montoya, one of the
most popular and fastest Indy car racers
of the past 30 years – and persuading
him to quit NASCAR racing – was a huge
coup even by The Captain’s standards.
Speaking to RACER’s Robin Miller,
Penske said: “Juan Pablo is highly
motivated to come back and show that
he’s as good as he was when he left. What
an opportunity, what an asset!
Penske pulls off a coup by bringing spectacular former
champ and Indy 500 winner back to open-wheel racing
JUAN FOR THE SHOW
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HIT RATE HIT RATE DOMINATION
“When Chip [Ganassi] decided not to
keep him on the NASCAR team, I told
[Penske team president] Tim Cindric, ‘It’s
your call; if he’s ready to go, I’m ready to
go.’ And the interest in him from a
sponsorship standpoint has been terrific.”
Penske confirmed to RACER ’s Marshall
Pruett that sponsorship had not been
finalized before the deal came together.
Said Penske: “This thing has come
together so fast, we haven’t had a chance
to put everything in place up front as
we’d normally try to do. But there’s a lot
of opportunities there with Juan, and if
we didn’t think there were sponsors there
to support this, we wouldn’t have taken
this chance. But no risk, no reward.”
Team Penske’s incumbent IndyCar
stars Helio Castroneves and Will Power
both welcomed the return of Montoya.
Power said, “I first got to really talk to
Juan at GM driving days up in Detroit.
Good guy, asked a lot of smart questions
won by juan
ways JPM regularly
showed in Indy
cars and F1 rarely
surfaced in NASCAR.