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Remember when Montoya made magical memories in CART with Ganassi? (VIDEO)

Sep 16, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT

Federated Auto Parts 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

Juan Pablo Montoya‘s initial two-year foray into North American open-wheel racing was a stunning arrival.

The Colombian, loaned out to Target Chip Ganassi Racing from Frank Williams after winning the 1998 Formula 3000 championship, starred from the get-go. His rookie season in CART, he won seven races and the championship.

In 2000, with a completely different Lola-Toyota package after the team switched from the all-conquering Reynard-Honda, Montoya still was frequently the out-and-out fastest driver but often a victim of poor luck and unreliability. But he still had two magical 500-mile race wins, first a the Indianapolis 500 in May and again after a fantastic battle with Michael Andretti at Michigan, a race that featured the aero-assisting Handford Device that created a wealth of passing.

Here are some of the highlights of Montoya’s first two years in open wheel, with the news today he’s coming back to IndyCar in 2014 with Roger Penske.

1999: Target ad: Meet our new driver

1999: Target ad: Teammate Jimmy Vasser gives advice on a new car

1999: Montoya wins his first race at Long Beach

1999: A fantastic pole lap at Detroit, with great sound

1999: Another win at Mid-Ohio

1999: Target ad: Midseason, Montoya well on his way to the title

2000: Indianapolis Motor Speedway video looking at JPM’s rookie win at the 500

  1. Jeff - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    I wish JPM would have stayed in NASCAR.

    • cdawgredface - Sep 16, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      I was hoping he would take over the 78 car. The 42 has never been a very strong team and I think he’s always been held back by that. O well I look forward to seeing what he can do in elite equipment even if it is in IndyCar

  2. manik56 - Sep 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    I have been a huge Montoya fan ever since I started watching NASCAR in 2007. I have been a huge Scott Dixon fan in IndyCar since reunification in 2007. I am in for some conflicted race days in the future.

  3. purplesectornet - Sep 17, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    I remember walking by this dude at a Portland race in the late nineties…we made brief eye contact and I swear no one else walking down that path knew who he was…I was wearing Ferrari gear which is why he probably glanced my way…I think he will have that fire in his belly and my days as a sideline viewer of IndyCar are done…I will be watching with great interest!

  4. indycarseries500 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Love that Detroit qualifying lap…flashing some magnesium

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