Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

September 18, 2013

de la Bastide: Montoya's move to IndyCar is good news

NASCAR Chase lost in sports shuffle.


Kokomo Tribune

---- — The Izod IndyCar Series received a boost this week with the announce-ment that Juan Pablo Montoya will be competing fulI-time with the series in 2014.

What made the announcement particularly interesting is that Montoya will be driving for Roger Penske, joining Will Power and Helio Castroneves on the Captain’s team.

Montoya raced in the former CART series for Chip Ganassi, winning the championship in 1999 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. After racing in Formula One from 2001 through 2006, where he scored seven wins, Montoya teamed up with Ganassi to race in NASCAR.

Montoya’s venture into stock car racing was an up-and-down affair. He won twice on road courses, but has been unable to score a victory on an oval track. Had luck smiled on him, he would have won a Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Racing for Penske in 2014 will mean that Montoya will be right in the middle of heated competition between his new and previous team owners.

Power and Castroneves have been in at times heated competition with Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti for the 2013 championship.

When you throw into the mix the Andretti Autosport team, which includes Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe, it could be an interesting 2014 season.

Hinchcliffe is a free agent at the end of the season and the rumor is that Ganassi is trying to sign the Canadian-born driver.

Now what the IndyCar Series has to hope is that popular driver Tony Kanaan, who won this year’s Indianapolis 500 for KV Racing, will find a ride for 2014.

IN OTHER RACING NEWS

• It couldn’t have been a worse week for NASCAR. All last week the Sprint Cup series was in the news over teams manipulating the finish of the Richmond race to get drivers into the Chase for the Championship.

Then the opening race at Chicagoland Speedway suffered a long rain delay with the race ending past midnight on the East Coast.

The attention of the sports world this past weekend was centered on college football, the second week of the NFL season, and the race for playoff spots in Major League Baseball.

• The United States Speed Association sprint cars will return to Anderson Speedway this Saturday for a 50-lap event. The UAW Sprint Car Challenge will be making its third appearance at the track and will return on Oct. 5.

California driver Tony Hunt is the current points leader. Anderson-area drivers Aaron Pierce, Brian Gerster and Bobby East will all be competing.

Ken de la Bastide may be reached at ken.delabastide@kokomotribune.com or 765-454-8580.