Montoya To Return To Sprint Cup For Team Penske
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Juan Pablo Montoya’s NASCAR days are, it seems, far from over.
Team Penske announced Wednesday, that Montoya, who left NASCAR following the 2013 season and is now driving full time for the Penske IndyCar program, will drive one of its cars in two Sprint Cup races in 2014.
And no, those races will not be on road courses.
Montoya will drive the No. 12 SKF Penske Ford at Michigan International Speedway on June 15. He will also compete for for Penske in the No. 12 car in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27.
His crew chief will be NASCAR veteran Greg Erwin. The 13 car will join the full-time Penske Cup entries of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
“Juan is a proven winner in multiple racing disciplines and he is one of the most versatile racecar drivers competing today,” said team owner Roger Penske. “Michigan and Indianapolis are two important races for Team Penske. We know Juan has the ability to race for wins in both of those events while still focusing on his full-time program in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”
He owns career-best finishes of sixth at MIS and a top result of second at IMS.
Montoya appeared to be heading to victory at the Brickyard in 2009 but a late – and controversial – pit-road speeding penalty cost him his shot. The following year, he came back to win the pole at Indy.
Montoya won the 2000 Indianapolis 500 for Ganassi. That was Montoya’s lone IndyCar Series start until he was hired by Penske to drive for him this season.
The Colombian driver also won multiple races in Formula One, including the prestigious Grand Prix of Monaco, and was part of the Chip Ganassi Racing team that won the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
A former full-time NASCAR competitor from 2007-2013, Montoya recorded two victories, 24 top-five finishes and nine pole awards in his Cup Series career while driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.
“It has been a good start to the season with Team Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series and it will be fun to get back behind the wheel of the Cup car,” said Montoya. “It’s hard to believe, but Roger Penske has never won the Brickyard 400. I think that Brad, Joey and I will give Roger and Team Penske a great opportunity to check that off the list and we should be strong at Michigan as well.”
Since joining Team Penske in 2012, an SKF-sponsored entry has made three NASCAR Cup Series starts. SKF earned its first NASCAR victory with Team Penske and Keselowski in the Nationwide Series last season. In addition to the race at MIS with Montoya, the No. 12 SKF Ford will also compete at Kansas on May 10 and at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19 with Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney.
“Our partnership with Team Penske continues to grow year after year, and adding another dynamic driver like Juan Pablo Montoya to the SKF Racing team is exciting for both our employees and customers worldwide,” said Poul Jeppesen, President and CEO, SKF USA Inc. “Like Team Penske, SKF is committed to the sport of auto racing and the Detroit area, and we look forward to cheering Montoya to Victory Lane at Michigan in June.”No Comment