[Source: INDYCAR press release with supplements from team releases]
LONG POND, Pa. (Sunday, July 6, 2014) – Juan Pablo Montoya earned his first Indy car victory in nearly 14 years by prevailing in the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco at Pocono Raceway.
The race was the fastest 500-mile Indy car race in history as Montoya’s average speed of 202.402 mph surpassed the previous 500-mile record set by Jimmy Vasser (197.995 mph) at Auto Club Speedway in 2002.
The win marked Montoya’s first Indy car victory since Sept. 17, 2000 at Gateway International Raceway.
Montoya, who a day earlier became the eighth different Verizon P1 Award winner this season, became the eighth different race winner through 11 rounds of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. He’s the first to win from the pole this season.
“That’s great for Juan; what a great race he ran,” said team owner Roger Penske, who welcomed Montoya as the third driver at Team Penske this season after a 13-year absence in which he competed in Formula One and the NASCAR Cup Series.
Montoya, driving the No. 2 PPG Team Penske car, led teammate Helio Castroneves across the finish line of the 2.5-mile tri-oval by 2.3403 seconds. Rookie Carlos Munoz finished third for the third time this season and Ryan Briscoe finished a season-high fourth. Scott Dixon, the winner last year at Pocono Raceway, placed fifth.
“I want to thank Roger for believing in me after so many years out of an Indy car,” said Montoya, who claimed his third Indy car 500-mile race victory.
Only two other drivers in Indy car history since 1909 have gone more than 10 years between wins – John Paul Jr., who went more than 15 years between winning at Michigan and Texas Motor Speedway from 1983-98 and Babe Stapp did not win for nearly 12 years between Charlotte and Milwaukee from 1927-39.
The middle round of the Triple Crown series, which also includes the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale at Auto Club Speedway, carried double points. Castroneves was able to tie teammate Will Power, who led 69 laps but incurred a drive-through penalty on Lap 176 for blocking Castroneves, in the championship standings.
“Congrats to Montoya. Are you kidding me? This guy is unbelievable,” Castroneves said. “Coming back after all those years and winning a race? As soon as they signed him I knew he would be an asset, and a headache, for us. It’s good (to have a) 1-2 finish – and we’re tied in the championship. It’s unbelievable.”
Both Castroneves and Power are seeking their first series championship. Power, who had to pit for fuel on Lap 189, finished 10th.
Montoya inherited the lead on Lap 197 when Tony Kanaan, who led a field-high 78 laps, also had to pit for fuel. Kanaan, driving the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, led laps for the second race this season and for the 100th race in his Indy car career.
Kanaan led for the second time in 2014. He led one lap at the Indianapolis 500. It is his 100th race led in his Indy car career.
POCONO INDYCAR 500 FUELED BY SUNOCO POST-RACE NOTES:
• This is Juan Pablo Montoya’s first win of 2014 and the 12th of his career. His last win in Indy car came at Gateway on Sept. 17, 2000.
• It is the third 500 mile win of Montoya’s career. He also won the Indianapolis 500 and Michigan 500 in 2000.
• It is Team Penske’s eighth Indy car race win at Pocono Raceway. Other Team Penske race wins were: Mark Donohue (1971), Tom Sneva (1977), Bobby Unser (1980), Rick Mears (1982, 1985 and 1987) and Danny Sullivan (1989).
• Montoya is the first driver to win a race from a pole position in 2014.
• Montoya went 13 years, 9 months, 20 days between Indy car wins. Only two other drivers in Indy car history since 1909 have gone more than 10 years between wins. Babe Stapp won at the Charlotte board track on Sept. 19, 1927. He did not win for almost 12 full years before he won on Aug. 27, 1939 at Milwaukee. John Paul Jr. has gone the most years between wins. Paul won his first race in the Michigan 500 on July 17, 1983. More than 15 years later, on Sept. 20, 1998, he won his only other Indy car race at Texas Motor Speedway.
• Helio Castroneves finished second. It is his fifth podium finish of the season and allowed him to tie Will Power atop the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings.
• Carlos Munoz finished third. It is his third third-place finish of 2014.
• Ryan Briscoe finished fourth. It is his best finish of 2014. His previous best finish was sixth at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
• Scott Dixon finished fifth. It is his fifth top-five finish of the season.
• The average speed was 202.402 mph. It is the third Indy car race with an average speed of 200 mph or more and fastest 500-mile race in history. The previous fastest 500 mile race was at Auto Club Speedway in 2002 when Jimmy Vasser won at an average speed of 197.995 mph.
NEXT PAGE: Quotes from much of the field following the 2014 Pocono IndyCar 500