Former Formula One and NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya drove to his first victory in IndyCar racing in over 14 years Sunday at Pocono Raceway. The win marked the 38-year old racing veteran’s first major victory since he won a road course race at Watkins Glen in NASCAR in 2010.
Montoya’s weekend got off to a good start after the Team Penske driver scored pole position, just ahead of Carlos Munoz and Will Power. He cemented his victory when Tony Kanaan was forced to pit for fuel on lap 196, giving Montoya a clear chance at winning.
Despite the race going without a yellow flag for 158 consecutive laps, the longest stretch for a 500-mile race in IndyCar history, it wasn’t without its mishaps. Montoya made contact with fellow Team Penske driver Will Power when trying to make a pass on the outside late in the race. The small shunt damaged Montoya’s front wing, but didn’t put a stop to his race.
“You have to [try it],” said Montoya. “Either you’re going to do it or you’re [not]. That was the winning move, and I had to do it.”
Montoya was joined in the winner’s circle by fellow Team Chevy driver Helio Castroneves and Carlos Munoz. Castroneves race was almost put to an end when he was blocked by Power while attempting to make a move for third place. Power quickly went on the inside knowing Castroneves was coming up behind him and was given a blocking penalty, costing the series point’s leader his shot winning.
The penalty given to Power may end up being a pivotal moment in the season, as him and Castroneves are now tied for the lead. Montoya meanwhile delighted in the double points handed out for 500-mile superspeedway races and jumped to fourth place.
The next race of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar series will be the fourth oval race of the season, the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, July 12.