Skip to content

Montoya turns first laps in Team Penske IndyCar

Nov 25, 2013, 3:35 PM EDT

MontoyaPenske

Juan Pablo Montoya is officially back home.

After a seven-year stretch in NASCAR, the former Indianapolis 500 winner began his new life as an IndyCar Series driver with Team Penske today at Sebring International Raceway in a test session.

Following his morning laps in a Team Penske Chevrolet, Montoya confessed that his first run was “really, really weird” as he tried to acclimate himself to everything, from the placement of the steering wheel to the acceleration and braking of the open-wheel machine.

“When you get to gas, it has a ton of torque, that it’s fun,” Montoya explained to reporters at Sebring. “Braking is hard. For what I’ve been running the last few years, the first few laps, it’s like OK. The initial bite is not bad. You get on brakes and there’s a bit of lag while the brakes get hot. So it takes a while to get used to that, but you get used to it.

“We’re miles away from where I think I need to be, but second and third run, it was going through the gears, through the motions. It’s just so different. It’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Easing him back into the open-wheel mindset after seven years of driving stock cars was the top priority for the test today according to Penske Racing president Tim Cindric.

“We need to let him do whatever he wants to do and find out where he’s comfortable and what’s he’s not comfortable, try to get him comfortable and some confidence at the end of the day,” Cindric said.

But while there will be a learning curve for Montoya, he was nonetheless thrilled about his new opportunity.

“I still don’t believe it that I’m here, to be honest with you,” he said. “You look at it. I look at the car and everything – my name on the car. It’s really exciting.

“It’s nice because there’s been excitement of everybody that I’m coming back to open wheel. It is [exciting] for me as well. But let’s stop with the talk and actually get to drive the car. It’s fun.”

On hand for Montoya’s session are Will Power and Helio Castroneves, his new teammates. According to IndyCar.com, Power actually shook down the car this morning in a 10-lap run before handing it over to Montoya, who then logged 20 laps.

Per Team Penske, he quickly closed to within a few tenths off of Power, which didn’t surprise the Australian pilot.

“You don’t win races in Formula One and poles in Formula One and races in the CART Series on your first try if you’re slow,” said Power. “I actually expected to learn from him.

“He’s already brought some good ideas to the team even before he got in the car – just from what I see from the data, he has a very similar style to me, the way he brakes and everything. That should be good as far as our setups.”

It’s just Day One, but it would appear that Montoya is having a positive effect on the Penske camp so far.

Photo Credit: John Hendrick/INDYCAR

Latest Posts
  1. Hamilton recovers in FP2 to edge out Alonso and Rosberg

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:32 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Mercedes returns to the top of the timesheets, but Ferrari and Alonso are in close company.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Alonso looks to double up in Shanghai

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:45 AM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Can Mercedes fight back and resume normal service?

  3. Alonso fastest in first practice for Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT

    Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain arrives for a news conference ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit Reuters

    Spanish driver ends Mercedes streak of first place finishes, but teammate Kimi Raikkonen fails to post a time.

  4. NASCAR AMERICA: Can Gene Haas succeed with an American-based F1 team?

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the expectations for Gene Haas as he looks to start a F1 team. The pair question whether an F1 team can be run successfully out of the United States.

  5. NASCAR AMERICA: Kyle Petty — Some of this year’s top rookies mark changing of the guard in NASCAR

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT

    nascar america

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the emergence of some of this year’s top rookies on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America. Petty says it is time for a changing of the guard, as many of today’s most successful drivers are nearing the end of their careers.

  6. Alabama Gang rides again with Justin Allison at Talladega

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT

    The original Alabama Gang. Justin Allison is now the latest member of the gang, turning his first laps at legendary Talladega Superspeedway during an ARCA test there Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy JustinAllisonRacing.com) The original Alabama Gang. Justin Allison is now the latest member of the gang, turning his first laps at legendary Talladega Superspeedway during an ARCA test there Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy JustinAllisonRacing.com)

    The latest generation of NASCAR’s fabled Alabama Gang rode again in its debut Tuesday and Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway. Justin Allison, grandson of Donnie Allison and grandnephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, both original members of the Alabama Gang, took part in a two-day test of ARCA drivers at NASCAR’s largest oval track.

  7. Ford Racing has some fun to celebrate Mustang’s 50th anniversary (video)

    Apr 17, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT

    (Photo and video courtesy of Ford Racing) (Photo and video courtesy of Ford Racing)

    Whether you like it or not, you can’t say the Ford Mustang doesn’t have staying power. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, the Mustang has become one of the premier muscle car brands ever made by Detroit.

  8. NASCAR has shown outstanding parity through first eight races of 2014

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Kevin Harvick is the only two-time winner thus far in the first eight races of the 2014 Sprint Cup season. AP

    NASCAR chairman Brian France’s unwavering stance to bring parity to the sport during his 10-year tenure is finally paying dividends.

  9. VIDEO: Chinese GP Paddock Pass

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Alonso

    News and notes from the ground in China from NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

  10. BREAKING NEWS: Swan Racing’s future in NASCAR in question

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

    Swan Getty Images

    Just eight races into the Sprint Cup season, the future of the two-car Swan Racing team is looking rather murky, with the potential of everything from reorganization to scaling back involvement, if not outright shutting down.

  11. MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    F1 heads to China with change in the wind, only making the predictions harder for our experts.

  12. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET — Gene Haas, Kyle Larson, Scan All 43

    Apr 17, 2014, 2:06 PM EDT

    140417-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Thursday on NASCAR AMERICA, the team will cover a lot of ground, including talking with NASCAR team owner Gene Haas about his foray into Formula One. Rick Allen and Kyle Petty man the anchor desk from our Charlotte studio. Remember to tune in at at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra for your online or mobile device.

  13. Long Beach weekend atmosphere thrills Roger Daltrey, as he promotes Teen Cancer America

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

    All photos: Honda/LAT All photos: Honda/LAT

    The Who founder and lead singer paid a visit to Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, and soaked it all in while also raising awareness for Teen Cancer America.

  14. Young go-kart racer shows what true racing and determination is all about

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

    Screen-Shot-2014-04-17-at-2.25

    The Internet is like coming to a strange five-way intersection that you’ve never seen before. No matter which way you decide to go, you’re bound to find something new and different. So as we were looking for something else, we stumbled upon this video of 7-year-old go-kart racer Ryan Rifredi in a race from December…

  15. Button has faith in Haas Formula and second US GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    2009 world champion believes that if anyone can make an American F1 team work, it’s Gene Haas.

  16. Vettel focusing on damage limitation in China

    Apr 17, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    Defending world champion banking on a top five finish in China.

  17. Rosberg and Hamilton set to talk about Bahrain battle

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Hamilton of Britain is congratulated by Rosberg of Germany on the podium after he won the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir Reuters

    Rosberg felt that Hamilton overstepped the mark with one of his moves in Bahrain.

  18. Alonso: We’re ready to fight back in China

    Apr 17, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    After Stefano Domenicali’s departure, there’s a change in the wind at Ferrari.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

The new faces of NASCAR

Featured video

Paddock Pass: Inside the Chinese GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (16648)
  2. K. Harvick (5698)
  3. M. McDowell (2911)
  4. C. Edwards (1513)
  5. A. Seuss (1324)