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McMurray, Montoya To Team Up For Indy GRAND-AM Race

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, June 22 2012

Juan Pablo Montoya to race in GRAND-AM. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray will drive a Chip Ganassi-owned Daytona Prototype in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this summer.

The announcment was made Friday at the Sonoma, Calif. road course, site of this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race.

Montoya, a former Formula 1 driver, said the inaugural GRAND-AM race at the IMS infield road course, was just too attractive to pass up.

“We talked to Chip earlier this year and thought it would be cool when we heard the GRAND-AM cars were going to Indy, it would be fun to run there,” Montoya said. “We put all the deal together and Jamie and myself are going to be running that race on Friday, so we are pretty pumped about that.”

The Brickyard Grand Prix race in Indy is being paired with NASCAR events, including the Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup race. The GRAND-AM event is scheduled for July 27.

“It will be different getting to run the road course one direction then doing the oval track in the other direction,” McMurray said. “Chip called, and like Juan said asked if we wanted to do it, and it sounds like a lot of fun to get to do the Grand AM race. I’ve only got to run one of those cars at Daytona. So, we’re going to do the test July 9th.”

Ganassi, who co-owns the Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team which Montoya and McMurray driver for in NASCAR, also owns a GRAND-AM team. That team, which uses a BMW-powered Riley driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, has won the last two series championships and is current points leader.

Both McMurray and Montoya have driven GRAND-AM races in the past. Montoya twice was part of the winning teams at the Daytona 24-hour race.

“I really enjoy getting to race that car,” McMurray said. “The only part that I don’t like about those races are that there is discrepancy in speed in other cars. It’s a different challenge because you don’t know who is in the other car. Like when we do the 24 hour race, you get used to racing the slower cars and you kind of know where they are going to give and take. Then they put a different driver in it and it’s completely different. I don’t know that I don’t like that, that’s the challenges that I don’t like as much.

“As far as driving the car, it’s a lot of fun to get in one of those. I think it make s me appreciate when I watch other forms of racing more. We take for granted in NASCAR, cold tires. You leave the pits and these tires have the most grip as soon as you leave the pits. Those cars are a little bit of a challenge. When you watch an Indy Car race and stuff like that and you see the guys that struggle a little bit, it makes you appreciate it more.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, June 22 2012
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