McMurray, Montoya Test New Gen-6 Car At IMS
NASCAR teams always look for a competitive edge, and that's what brought Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 1-2 for a private test.
|Juan Montoya, who went from hero in open wheel cars to zero in NASCAR, tests at Indy|
Montoya and McMurray each will try to win at IMS for the second time in their respective careers when they take the green flag Sunday, July 28 at the 20th Running of the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com.
Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner, and McMurray, the 2010 Brickyard 400 winner, took full advantage of their opportunity to test the NASCAR Generation 6 car that made its debut at the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.
"It's the first time here with this car, and it seems like some of the setup stuff is quite a bit different from what we did with the car from the past couple years, so we're just trying to incorporate all the stuff we're doing this year into getting around this track," McMurray said July 1. "It's pretty unique."
Said Montoya: "We have the new car, the Generation 6 car, and it's very important to know what the car is going to do. With our private testing here, we can learn a lot of things for like Pocono, as well, which is kind of the same thing, a flat track. I think with the cars with the way they are right now and with the speed we have, it's a good opportunity to get some wins. We're getting comfortable and doing a couple changes."
Under cloudy skies with temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s, conditions for testing Monday were considerably different from the typical Brickyard Race Day featuring sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s. Drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing also tested.
"Being cool today, I don't know that we'll learn a whole lot, but it's really nice to have all the telemetry on the car and try to get a good baseline when you come back," McMurray said.
Montoya will have his seventh opportunity to become the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at IMS.
"I think it would be very special," Montoya said. "After winning the '500' here and to be able to do the double, I think, would be amazing. It's funny because when I was here in Formula One, I was very close (to winning at Indy) a couple times, and it never happened."
As he strives to win a NASCAR race at IMS, Montoya enjoys every opportunity to look back fondly on his Indianapolis 500 win 13 years ago as a rookie driver.
"The further away it is, the more fun it is," he said. "To look back on it, it's exciting and it's pretty cool."
2010 Daytona 500 winner McMurray, who finished second Sunday in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky, also enjoys recalling his Brickyard win at IMS, which he believes is one of the most important stops on the NASCAR circuit.
"When I look at this race, I compare it to the Daytona 500," McMurray said. "Indy is such a special place to be able to win at, and any time they introduce you they always include Daytona and the Brickyard in the introductions, so it's really special. To me this is one of the bucket list races you have to come to if you're a NASCAR fan."
The 20th running of the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 28 will be the climactic event of the second annual Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.
The weekend schedule also features the NASCAR Nationwide Series racing in the Indiana 250 Saturday, July 27 on the IMS oval, and GRAND-AM Road Racing conducting separate races for its Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge on Friday, July 26 on the 13-turn IMS Grand Prix road course.