IndyCar driver Juan Montoya wins 2017 ROC

Juan Montoya drives to victory
IndyCar driver Juan Montoya nips Tom Kristensen at the line

IndyCar driver and 2015 Indy 500 winner Juan Montoya gave the locals something to cheer about by winning the 2017 Race of Champions in Miami. Montoya is from Miami and he narrowly beat Tom Kristensen in the best out of three races in the finals. But to get to the finals both drivers had to defeat the best drivers in the world from Formula 1, NASCAR, World Rally, RallyCross, WEC and IndyCar. In the end IndyCar had something to cheer about as one of their drivers proved to be the best of the best.

ROC organizers paved a crossover course within the Miami Marlins baseball park and turned more than 20 drivers from Formula One, NASCAR, IndyCar WEC and World Rally loose in a variety of cars.

The American contingent included NASCAR champions Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch, Indianapolis 500 winners Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi and rallycross stars Scott Speed and Travis Pastrana, but none of them made it to the finals.

Other notable participants included F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa, and IndyCar stars Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"It's very difficult to jump in each car and try to get the most out of it," Hunter-Reay said. "Each one is different — left-foot or right-foot braking, sequential gearbox, paddle shift or H-pattern. Everything is always different, and you're always kind of naturally reacting to it.

"It's a unique situation, where everybody is out of their comfort zone, and it's fun to see everyone like that."

Today’s individual Race Of Champions pitted many of motor sport’s biggest names in identical cars on a brand new figure-of-eight track. On a hot and sunny day in Miami, the best-of-three Grand Final boiled down to a battle between two of the biggest stars of world motor sport. But in the end ROC debutant Montoya saw off ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen in two straight heats to become Champion of Champions in front of 15,000 race fans in Miami.

Kristensen was making a record-equalling 15th consecutive Race Of Champions appearance, matching the mark set by rally legend Stig Blomqvist. The Dane, a nine-time winner of the Le Mans 24 hours, has now reached the Grand Final no less than five times but he has never won the big prize. By contrast Montoya was making his ROC debut here in his home town Miami.

Juan Montoya and Tom Kristensen
Juan Montoya and Tom Kristensen

Montoya said: “First I want to thank all the fans who came out today. Fredrik Johnsson and everyone at the Race Of Champions have put together an amazing event, it’s unbelievable. Today I’m regretting not having done this before. It has been an amazing experience.

“It’s not our job, it’s a fun event. But when you go to the grid you want to warm the tyres and the brakes. You think about how to drop the clutch, what to do in the first corner. It’s unbelievable how focused you are. It’s like qualifying. I don’t know what gave me the edge. I don’t have pride, I just kept asking people what they were doing. That way I kept adding things to the database of what I needed to do. I spoke to David Coulthard just before the final to ask whether I had to change gears in the cars because I had no idea. It went well… must be beginner’s luck!"

Kristensen added: “I’m proud to have made it to the final and I enjoy it immensely to be here. I’ve been retired for two years but coming here of course you don’t forget what you live for. We are racing drivers and to be invited to the Race Of Champions brings the best out of us. If you’re too cautious you don’t win but if you are too brave you can get it wrong so easily. But the camaraderie is special. You try to do your best and in the end all the races are extremely close so you never know beforehand who will win. So well done to Juan Pablo. I’ve known him for many years and I always knew he would have an exceptional career."

"I adapt very quickly," Montoya said. "I don't have pride. I keep asking people, what are you doing, what are you doing? And I just keep trying to add things to the data base of what you need to do."

"I never did the race before, didn't want to fly 15 hours to some other place in the world. Now, you tell me I've got to fly 15 hours to go, I'll probably do it," he said. "It's been an amazing experience. It's really cool because it's not our job today. But it's unbelievable how focused you are, and the track is so little, it's like qualifying — whoop, whoop, whoop, you're done."

In the semi-finals, Montoya beat 11-time Formula 1 grand prix winner Felipe Massa 2-0 after the Brazilian earned a time penalty for contact with the wall in one of the heats. Kristensen won through over 2014 Champion of Champions and Formula 1 star David Coulthard by the same margin.

In the pick of the quarter-finals there was almost nothing to split Kristensen and 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button. But the Dane won the third and deciding heat by just 0.06 seconds to progress. Coulthard knocked out NASCAR champion Kyle Busch, putting paid to the hopes of an American winner for the Miami crowd.

Elsewhere in the last eight Montoya defeated action sports legend Travis Pastrana in two straight heats, ending the American’s unbeaten run. Massa won an all-Brazilian battle against triple Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Post-Race Press Conference Part 1 of 2 Post-Race Press Conference Part 2 of 2

How Montoya Won – races shown last to first as AR1 provided live updates throughout the event

Best 2 out of 3 races to win it all
Final Race 1: Juan Montoya defeated Tom Kristensen
Final Race 2: Juan Montoya defeated Tom Kristensen 2 straight races and is the 2017 Race of Champions winner

Best 2 out of 3 races advances
Semi-Final Matchup 1: Juan Montoya defeated Felipe Massa two straight races to advance to the finals
Semi-Final Matchup 2: Tom Kristensen defeated David Coulthard by 0.06 sec. two straight races to advance to the finals
So it will be IndyCar driver Juan Montoya vs. WEC driver Tom Kristensen in the finals

Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa

Best 2 out of 3 races advances
Quarter Final Matchup 1: Juan Montoya defeated Travis Pastrana two straight to advance to the semi-finals
Quarter Final Matchup 2: Felipe Massa defeated Helio Castroneves two straight to advance to the semi-finals
Quarter Final Matchup 3: Tom Kristensen defeated Jenson Button 2 races to 1 to advance to the semi-finals
Quarter Final Matchup 4: David Coulthard defeated Kyle Busch two straight races to advance to the semi-finals

Race 22: Kyle Busch defeated James Hinchcliffe
Race 23: David Coulthard defeated Tom Kristensen
Race 24: Jenson Button defeated Tony Kanaan as Kanaan hit the inside curve hard which threw his car into the outside barrier in the final corner
Race 25: Kurt Busch defeated Ryan Hunter-Reay
We now advance to the Quarter-Finals with the following drivers:

Advancing to the Quarter-Finals

Race 18: Jenson Button defeated Kyle Busch by 0.04 sec.
Race 19: David Coulthard defeated Ryan Hunter-Reay who had a transmission problem and spun out
Race 20: Tony Kanaan defeated James Hinchcliffe
Race 21: Tom Kristensen defeated Kurt Busch

David Coulthard
David Coulthard

Race 13: Juan Montoya defeated Petter Solberg
Race 14: Tom Kristensen defeated Ryan Hunter-Reay
Race 15: Jenson Button defeated James Hinchcliffe
Race 16: David Coulthard defeated Kurt Busch
Race 17: Kyle Busch defeated Tony Kanaan

Race 7 Felipe Massa defeated Juan Montoya
Race 8 Travis Pastrana defeated Helio Castroneves
Race 9 Pascal Wehrlein defeated Petter Solberg
Race 10 Helio Castroneves defeated Alexander Rossi
Race 11 in spectacular fashion Pascal Wehrlein hit Felipe Massa and flipped over. Wehrlein escaped uninjured but Massa was declared the winner.
Race 12 American Travis Pastrana defeated F1 driver Sebastian Vettel

Race 2 IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves defeated F1 driver Sebastian Vettel
Race 3 IndyCar driver Juan Montoya defeated F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein
Race 4 American Travis Pastrana defeated IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi by 0.05 Sec.
Race 5 Rally Driver Petter Solberg defeated F1 driver Felipe Massa in a rally car, which Solberg is very experienced with
Race 6 F1 driver Sebastian Vettel beat IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi by 0.2 sec.

01/21/17 In round 1 race 1 in the Slingshot car, American Alexander Rossi defeated American Scott Speed by 1.1 sec.

01/21/17 is live from Miami today where we will be bringing you updates from inside the Miami Marlins Baseball Stadium where America's best drivers will be going head-to-head against some of the very best drivers in world. Can the Americans show the foreign drivers how it's done or will the Americans get the lunch handed to them? Stay tuned right here as we bring you updates as well as some videos. The groupings are as follows:

Race Of Champions Draw (Saturday 21 January)

Group A
Sebastian VETTEL (Germany) four-time Formula 1 world champion
Travis PASTRANA (USA) action sports legend
Helio CASTRONEVES (Brazil) triple Indianapolis 500 winner
Either Scott SPEED (USA) double Global Rallycross Champion, or Alexander ROSSI (USA), 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner (to be decided by play-off)

Group B
Juan-Pablo MONTOYA (Colombia) double Indianapolis 500 winner
Petter SOLBERG (Norway) double FIA World Rallycross Champion
Felipe MASSA (Brazil) 11-time Formula 1 grand prix winner
Pascal WEHRLEIN (Germany) 2015 DTM champion and new Sauber Formula 1 driver

Group C

Jenson BUTTON (Great Britain) 2009 Formula 1 world champion
Kyle BUSCH (USA) 2015 NASCAR champion
Tony KANAAN (Brazil) 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner
James HINCHCLIFFE (Canada) 2016 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter

Group D
Tom KRISTENSEN (Denmark) nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner
Kurt BUSCH (USA) 2004 NASCAR champion
David COULTHARD (Great Britain) 13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner
Ryan HUNTER-REAY (USA) 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner

ROC Nations Cup Draw (Sunday 22 January)

Group A

Team USA NASCAR (Kurt Busch & Kyle Busch)
Team USA IndyCar (Ryan Hunter-Reay & Alexander Rossi)
Team USA Rally X (Travis Pastrana & Scott Speed)
Team ROC Factor Canada (James Hinchcliffe & Stefan Rzadzinski)

Group B
Team Great Britain (Jenson Button & David Coulthard)
Team Germany (Sebastian Vettel & Pascal Wehrlein)
Team Nordic (Tom Kristensen & Petter Solberg)

Group C
Team ROC Factor Latin America (Helio Castroneves & Gabriel Glusman)
Team Brazil (Tony Kanaan & Felipe Massa)
Team Colombia (Juan Pablo Montoya & Gabby Chaves)

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