|A happy Juan Montoya|
|Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing|
Juan Montoya came back to IndyCar hoping to break back into the win column after many dry years in NASCAR. Sunday at Pocono, with the Colombian fans on their feet cheering, Juan Montoya drove a perfect race to win over his Penske teammate Helio Castroneves running the fastest 500-mile IndyCar race ever at over 202 mph.
Carlos Munoz was 3rd for Andretti Autosport.
Ryan Briscoe came home 4th for Ganassi Racing and Scott Dixon rounded out the top-5.
It was the 15th career IndyCar win for Juan Montoya, and his first since 2000. He becomes the first driver to win from pole in 2014.
Will Power and Tony Kanaan both had cars to win the race. Bad pit stop strategy ruined the chances for Kanaan, having to stop for fuel with a handful laps to go. Until then he appeared to have the fastest car but that fast car was guzzling the fuel fast. Too fast.
Power was penalized by IndyCar for making a double blocking move on his teammate Castroneves coming down the front straight going into the first turn. Castroneves made the pass, but regardless the officials did not like it. It was the 5th time officials have penalized Power this year.
|Montoya leads Kanaan and Munoz|
|Phil Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing|
With his 2nd place finish Helio Castroneves ties teammate Will Power for the points lead.
The average speed was 202.402 mph. It is the third Indy car race with an average speed of 200 mph or more and fastest 500-mile race in history. The previous fastest 500 mile race was at Auto Club Speedway in 2002 when Jimmy Vasser won at an average speed of 197.995 mph.
The race was on pace to be the fastest 500-mile race of all time running caution free past the 3/4 distance mark. Then Graham Rahal spun bringing out the race's only caution.
More to follow......
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): "First of all, I want to thank Verizon, IndyCar, PPG and everyone who supports this car and Team Penske. I want thank Roger for believing in me after how many years out of open-wheel, coming back and believing I could do it. Here we are. It's awesome that we could do it. I want to thank the fans for coming out. Verizon, IndyCar, PPG, Hawk Performance and everyone who believes in Team Penske and myself. It's huge. I was overly excited coming to the line, I can tell you that."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "I was heading that way. I was heading over and over and over. He is my teammate. Another penalty. Another drive-through and another good opportunity lost."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet): "It was a pretty good day. We made progress from Saturday in qualifying. The car was competitive in racing traffic. We were marching forward and fighting with the top-10 guys. Once we got into the top 10, it was looking pretty good. Then, unfortunately, in a typical example of racing, winning together and losing together, we had a bad pit stop. I have thrown a couple of races away this year, today it was the crew. We just have to keep digging and see what happens. For sure it is disappointing for everyone because it looked like we were going to have a good result, but, that is racing. We are headed in the right direction. So we just have to keep at it, keep building and see what happens next weekend in Iowa."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "Congrats to (Juan) Montoya. Are you kidding me? This guy is unbelievable. Coming back after 13 years and winning a race? He did a great job. As soon as they signed him, I knew he would be an asset, and a headache, for us. It's good (to have a) 1-2 finish - and we're second in the championship. It's unbelievable." (On block from Will Power) "That's one thing about our team, Team Penske, there are no team orders. We race hard and we push for it. Unfortunately I'm not the one to make the calls. But I think we were really pushing hard and obviously fighting for the championship. In the end, it's not my call."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It was a long race and I kind of knew it would be that way when we didn't qualify well. We really had some issues with the car all weekend. We ran with Scott (Dixon) most of the day and the car was better later in the race. Unfortunately, it was a tire sensor that came apart immediately when they put the car down off the jacks on the next-to-last stop (Lap 155). The car was vibrating some badly that the steering wheel almost flew out of my hands. So I had to pit again on the next lap and we got down a lap. I'm not pleased how our team's weekend went here. We have been so good this year and today just wasn't our day. Now we'll move onto Iowa and I like that track a lot. Plus I loved night racing. It should be a great show."
CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Unfortunately, this race ended like the last one. We had trouble with the car when we came down pit lane and had trouble getting it fixed. We just took the car back to the garage to look at it and were not able to figure it out in time to go back out. The guys will have to keep working on it and I will have to get ready for the next race. I hope we can do better next time."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): "I had a good start, but then the helmet pad blew out of the car right away and unfortunately I fell back. I couldn't see, I was trying to hold my head up and it took me a couple of laps to adjust. We fought back. I'm proud of the National Guard guys; we had good pit stops all day. They even did a great job getting the spare pad taped in the cockpit in a hurry. Unfortunately our luck struck again I'm not really sure what happened. The car just snapped. I think something broke and ended our day early. It was getting better. I feel confident that we're getting somewhere though."
MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda): "Everything was really good for me during the race. The car was fast, and we didn't struggle anywhere mechanically. We did have some radio issues we had to deal with, however. The car was strong, which allowed me to push out there and challenge other drivers. I'm very happy for the team, because we showed that we could be competitive the entire weekend. This is a strong points result for us, too. We're knocking on the door of the top 10 now, which is very exciting."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda): "That was a long race, and it was very difficult to pass. We started with a high downforce level, and it just wasn't working out there. We had a good chassis, but we couldn't pass anyone. It took us awhile to get the balance of the car right, but halfway through we made a bold change that worked. We repositioned ourselves, and the last yellow helped us gain back the ground we had lost. With the low level of downforce we had in the last stint, we were able to pass cars and be more aggressive. I'm very happy with how the team handled the challenges we were faced with today. Finishing sixth today is great considering we didn't start up front with the strongest race package. I'm happy with sixth today, and want to say congratulations to my teammate Mikhail (Aleshin). He drove a heck of a race today."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "Things are really looking up for NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing and I'm just glad we finally were able to get a finish that mirrored our efforts. We just keep looking better and better as the season progresses, and I think we have a lot to look forward to in the second half of this season. This track is awesome and it's been really fun to race on all weekend."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): "It was a pretty disappointing day for the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet and I feel really bad for the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew. The car was really good all weekend and then we developed a mechanical problem early in the race and then we just fought that all day. We're looking forward to heading to Iowa and doing some short-track racing on Saturday night."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): "It wasn't a great day for us maybe overall speed-wise, but we had made our way to the top five there at the end of the race and to get a top-five finish after where we started isn't that bad. The Target team worked hard today and you know anything can happen in these long 500-mile races. We kept the car in one piece and I was happy to bring it home for the guys. Hopefully this builds us some momentum for the next few races."
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): "There's two ways to look at today really. First, we had a very strong Target car and I think that shows a lot about what this team and I are capable of when we get the setup right. Secondly, it's obviously frustrating to dominate a race like that and not win. We just missed going the full 500-mile distance by a few laps and it's heartbreaking when those things happen, but that is racing, as they say, and we will focus on Iowa now and put it behind us."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Automatic Fire Sprinklers KV AFS Chevrolet): "It was a really long day out there and a pretty scary start when we thought we had the same mechanical issue as last weekend. I brought the Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. - KV AFS Racing car back into the pits, recycled everything and managed to get back out before the green flag and without losing a lap, which was a great job by the whole crew. From then on we just battled. Everyone is extremely strong, it's not like there are big differences between the cars anymore, but by starting the race so far back hampered us big time. We had a strong car, and managed to get some good points for the championship, but still have a long way to go."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda):"It's two-fold. We certainly weren't the quickest car out there, but we certainly had a top 10 in it. On that second stop, my dash was configured wrong and I had no speed - I had no idea how fast I was coming into pit lane and we got nailed for being over (the pit lane speed limit). That obviously put us on the back foot and we fought hard without any yellows to be on the lead lap, to eventually go a lap-down three quarters of the way through the race and a few laps later the yellow came. I guess everything that could have worked against us sort of did. The guys did a good job in the pits, and with that late yellow and some guys taking a risk, we made up a few spots. We never give up, that's a common theme on this team and it ended up gaining us a few spots. But with double points, it was a bad day to have a bad day."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): "The race for us was blown from the beginning and the pit lane penalty (for speeding). I'm not sure where they got me speeding, I'm sure I was on the limiter way before the cones so I'm not sure what happened there. We never really rebounded after the penalty making for a really frustrating 500 miles."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): "I'm happy with today's race. The car was good when I was on my own. This track, it's really hard to pass, to be behind the cars. I think third place is a great result for the championship, especially with the double points. I'm really happy with a podium. It was a long race, and I think that this time, I raced like a veteran. My Cinsay crew guys did such a great job, great pit stops, and I'm happy with another podium."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "It was a solid day considering how the weekend unfolded to begin with, especially after the misfortunes of yesterday and keeping the crew here late last night. It's nice to bounce back and get a top-10. Solid points, especially on a 500-miler. It's still 8th, we're not completely satisfied because we come to these races to win, but still being in the front half of the field is very good and particularly because it's a double points race."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda):"Not really the day we were looking for. With that broken suspension early on, you think to yourself 'why does this have to happen in a double-points race?' The DHL guys did a great job getting the car fixed, but unfortunately we lost too many laps to hope for a win today. We salvaged all the points we could, which is what you have to do in a situation like this. There are still a lot of points on the line this season and we're still in contention for the championship, so we really have to look at making every lap count and getting all the points possible in any given situation."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "This was a long race for me. We struggled for pace all day and weren't even able to make good enough fuel mileage to go for that kind of strategy. I tried my best to stay on the lead lap and get back with the pack on a caution but since it went green for so long, it was just a matter of time before the leaders caught me. I guess we just have to put this one behind us and look forward to the next two weekends in Iowa and Toronto."
||Juan Pablo Montoya
||Andretti HVM Racing|
||Chip Ganassi Racing Teams|
||Target Chip Ganassi Racing|
||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports|
||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports|
||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing|
||Target Chip Ganassi Racing|
||Ed Carpenter Racing|
||Dale Coyne Racing|
||KV Racing Technology|
||KV Racing Technology|
||Chip Ganassi Racing Teams|
||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
||Dale Coyne Racing|
||AJ Foyt Enterprises|
||Bryan Herta Autosport|
Winners average speed: 202.402
Time of Race: 02:28:13.1798
Margin of victory: 2.3403
Cautions: 1 for 6 laps
Lead changes: 16 among 5 drivers
Power 1 - 30
Montoya 31 - 32
Power 33 - 49
Kanaan 50 -58
Power 59 - 61
Montoya 62 - 64
Kanaan 65 - 87
Montoya 88 -94
Kanaan 95 - 117
Montoya 118 - 125
Kanaan 127 - 147
Power 148 - 166
Montoya 167 - 187
Newgarden 188 - 194
Kanaan 195 - 196
Montoya 197 - 200
Point Standings: Power 446, Castroneves 446, Pagenaud 402, Montoya 391, Hunter-Reay 388, Munoz 340, Andretti 325, Dixon 297, Briscoe 285, Bourdais 271.