Progression at Pocono: JPM Takes First Win Since His Return to Open-Wheel Racing
All along Juan Pablo Montoya has been saying “I’m a work in progress,” and last weekend at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, that progress was evident as JPM confidently returned to Victory Lane in an IndyCar.
After 5 top 10 finishes in his first 10 starts, Montoya took the checkered flag on Sunday and simultaneously erased any lingering doubts that his move back to open wheel was anything but the right one.
“To be honest, it’s more of a relief than just pure joy because it’s been a while and it’s been a long road,” said Montoya. "I never took winning for granted, but it came so easy when I was younger and it was just second nature.”
The 1999 CART champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner, who won from the pole, took the lead for good when Tony Kanaan was forced to pit for fuel with four laps left. Montoya took it from there to seal the victory in the fastest 500-mile race in IndyCar history. Courtesy of 158 consecutive laps of green flag racing (another stat for the record books as the longest stretch for a 500-mile race) Montoya maintained a blistering average speed of 202.402 mph to take the win and cast himself a contender in the championship hunt moving to fourth in the standings.
“This feels really good. This is why you race,” concluded Montoya.