When Montoya moved to NASCAR 'lazy-racing' he, like Tony Stewart' put on weight. Now back in IndyCar he has to get in shape or he will wilt.
Roger Penske is eagerly anticipating Juan Pablo Montoya's debut with Team Penske in the IndyCar season opener this month in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"Listen, we're excited. Juan has lost about 25 pounds, so he looks like a track star now," Penske said Sunday after Brad Keselowski gave Team Penske a weekend sweep at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Montoya began a serious fitness commitment well over a year ago, while he still raced for Chip Ganassi Racing in NASCAR. His weight loss was well on its way when he learned Ganassi was not bringing him back this year, and Montoya ultimately signed with Penske to return to open wheel racing.
He's continued his conditioning, which has caused tension between Montoya and his old boss. Ganassi admitted last month at Daytona to telling Montoya he wished he'd been that committed when he drove for him.
But Penske is buoyed by more than Montoya's weight loss and said recent tests has the organization excited to see him race.
"The one thing we know about Juan, he tells it like it is. He's done a great job," Penske said. "We had a real great test at Sebring, probably his best run. To me, he's made great progress. Obviously when we line up we'll find out. He's a racer."
Penske said Montoya's addition to the team has sparked "a lot of interest" in the organization, and Verizon recently signed on to sponsor Montoya's car for eight races.
"Sponsors have come to us now," Penske said. "We think it's going to be a great opportunity for the sport as we go forward. It's been an excellent move for us."
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