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Notes: Montoya Triangulates In On Pocono IndyCar Mission

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, July 2 2014

Juan Pablo Montoya is headed back to Pocono. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Juan Pablo Montoya is a veteran of racing at the three-cornered Pocono Raceway. Just not in an Indy car, which is precisely what he will be driving at the 2.5-mile Pennsylvania track.

Montoya’s experience at Pocono has been restricted to stock cars – 3,400-pound, low downforce Chip Ganassi Racing Sprint Cup cars to be precise.

This week, Montoya was asked about racing his Team Penske open-wheel cars at the “tricky triangle”.

“Obviously there is a huge difference in the miles per hour,” Montoya said. “It couldn’t be any more different between an open-wheel car and a stock car. In a Cup car it’s the only oval where you have to downshift. I will be wide open all the way around in the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet IndyCar. All three corners being different still presents a challenge, especially Turn 3. It’s very flat. Turn 1 is banked and very tight so you ask more out of the front end. But the speed is the biggest difference. There is really no comparison.”

Larry Dixon returns: Three-time NHRA champion Larry Dixon will return to the cockpit this weekend at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

Bob Vandergriff Racing announced Dixon will drive the Total Equipment/Casedhole Top Fuel dragster in Norwalk.

“It’ll be great to see the Total Equipment And Service car and Larry Dixon back on the track,” said Bob Vandergriff Jr. “It’s always a big help to have a second team out there and after the way that team ran in their last outing, we expect them to come out and compete for a win.”

Dixon has competed in 108 final rounds in his career. He took the seat of the second BVR Top Fuel Dragster at the NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston earlier this year.

“I’m really excited to get back in the Total Equipment/Casedhole car. Crew Chief Mike Guger had the car running great in Houston, I want to keep that momentum going,” said Dixon. “I’ve had a few good Sundays in Norwalk over the years and maybe some of that mojo will carry over. I appreciate the opportunity that Bob and C&J Energy gave me to drive their car. Hopefully with us running 8 of the next 12 events, we’ll get Bob a solid spot in the Top Ten and the Mello Yello Countdown To The Championship.”

Top Fuel qualifying for the 2014 NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals gets underway Friday evening at 5:30 p.m.

IndyCar race-winner penalized: INDYCAR announced that the car of rookie Carlos Huertas was found to be illegal after Race 1 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

Huertas’ Dale Coyne Racing was a fined for a pair of technical violations.

The entrant was found to have violated Rule 14.6.4.18 (rear wing height) and Rule 14.7.2 (fuel cell capacity) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. The team was fined a total of $10,000; $5,000 for each infraction. INDYCAR officials determined that the infractions did not impact the finishing order of the race or final position of the offending team.

The members may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

Electrifying development: Dragon Racing announced Mike Conway will drive in the inaugural all-electric FIA Formula E Championship.

Conway is an experienced street racer and multi-race winner in the IndyCar Series, and in 2014 is also driving with Toyota for its LMP1 WEC program. Conway’s previous experience includes three seasons in GP2, and as a Formula 1 test driver for Honda Racing F1 Team.

Jay Penske, Owner of Dragon Racing said: “I have always been impressed by his talents, smarts, and performance in the IndyCar Series, and we feel that the combination of his experience, tenacity, and driving skills will be a force this year in the FIA Formula E Championship.”

“It is with great pleasure and excitement that I will be at the wheel of the Dragon Racing entry in the inaugural season of the FIA Formula E Championship,” said Mike Conway. “I have been very interested in Formula E since it was announced and I am proud to be involved with both Jay and Dragon Racing, in what I believe is breaking new ground in motorsports. I am very confident we can achieve great results during this first season.”

Also, Andretti Formula E will see two familiar drivers in their fully-electric race cars for the upcoming FIA Formula E Championship test on July 3-4 at UK’s Donington Park.

Former Formula 1 and full time Andretti Rallycross driver Scott Speed and two-time IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran will both have the opportunity to test Andretti’s Spark-Renault SRT-01E on the 2.498-mile (4.020-km) circuit.

Speed, who in 2006 became the first American in Formula 1 since Michael Andretti in 1993, will complete the two-day test alongside Andretti Formula E’s first confirmed driver Franck Montagny.

“I’m excited to get into a single-seater again,” said Speed. “I expect it to be a very steep learning curve seeing as I haven’t driven anything with downforce in seven years. The Andretti organization has been an amazing company to drive for, and I’m happy to grow my role as one of its drivers while helping out with the Formula E test.”

Joining Montagny and Speed will be racing icon Gil de Ferran who will lend his expertise in completing some laps for the team, giving the Formula E Ambassador an opportunity to gain in-seat experience on the new sustainable racing championship.

Media award nominees named: NASCAR will announce the fourth recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

The recipient of the award, which is named after inaugural winners and NASCAR broadcasting legends Ken Squier and Barney Hall, will be honored during NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities on Jan. 30, 2015 and featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.

The nominees are:

– Norma “Dusty” Brandel, the first woman to report from inside the NASCAR garage

– Russ Catlin, one of the best-known early racing writers and historians, served as editor of Speed Age Magazine

– Shav Glick, covered motorsports for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years, bringing NASCAR coverage to the West Coast

– Tom Higgins, the first NASCAR beat reporter to cover every race in a season, he covered motorsports for The Charlotte Observer for 34 years

– Bob Jenkins, served as the lead NASCAR lap-by-lap anchor at ESPN from 1982-2000.

– Bob Moore, spent more than 20 years as a NASCAR beat writer including stints with the Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Charlotte Observer

– Benny Phillips, spent 48 years covering NASCAR for the High Point (N.C.) Enterprise, 27 years for Stock Car Racing and 12 years on TBS

– T. Taylor Warren, best known for his three-wide photo of the 1959 Daytona 500 finish, he covered every Daytona 500 until his death in 2008.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, July 2 2014
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