St. Petersburg, Fla – Juan Pablo Montoya was told last summer that Team Penske was going to be getting younger for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. They told the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion that they were going after Josef Newgarden as his replacement for next year. With the other three drivers locked in to contracts, Montoya would be the odd man out.
But, Penske did offer Montoya a ride in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. At the time, the Colombian told the team that he was appreciative of the offer, but he didn’t want to hang his helmet up yet full-time without first seeing what else was out there.
When Montoya, 41, didn’t find anything, he decided to take Penske up on his offer.
Originally, it was revealed that Montoya would pilot a fifth Penske car for the Indy 500 in May, but Roger Penske told reporters today that they’ve added the IndyCar Grand Prix road course race earlier in the month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well.
That’s good news for the car count for that race too, as he’s in addition to the 21 full-time entries as well.
Montoya, has 15 career IndyCar victories over his career and was a tiebreaker away in 2015 away from his second championship. Unfortunately, its been all down hill since that race at Sonoma in 2015. Last year, he struggled and finished last in the Indy 500. He certainly didn’t want to go out that way and feels like the Indy 500 is more important to him right now than an IndyCar championship.
So, Penske is giving him two shots at Indy in May with no other motivation other than to win.