Tag Archives: Brickyard 400

Juan Pablo Montoya Returns to the Brickyard

This week NASCAR and Juan Pablo Montoya return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 21st running of the Brickyard 400. Montoya will be driving the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Ford for Penske Racing.

The historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a 2.5 mile relatively flat rectangular track. There are 9 degrees of banking in each of the four turns and 0 degrees in the straights. Sometimes it is referred to as an oval track, but it is really more like a rectangle since there is a small amount of straight away between turns 1 & 2 and turns 3 & 4.  The race is 160 laps, or 400 miles.

Indianapolis, more than any other speedway, races like it is a road course. Passing is difficult and usually comes from a driver setting up the pass via hitting his marks in the corner. The crew chief also has a part in running the race backwards, pitting for tires and fuel at the last time before the end of the race. The team that performs perfectly during the race, has great track position, and makes that last pit stop at the right time will win this race.

The driver ratings for Indianapolis feature the usual suspects. No surprise here. Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with a great rating of 109.8 followed by Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon at 104.1 and102.0, respectively. Next on the list is Juan Pablo Montoya at 96.7.

All four of these drivers would be a good pick for your Fantasy NASCAR racing but Juan Pablo Montoya is racing in an additional Penske Racing car. He is not racing for points this year. He is simply racing for a win.

Juan Pablo Montoya leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Indianapolis with a 6.429. This is very important at Indianapolis where track position is king.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are both going for their fifth Brickyard 400 win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 2009 Montoya was leading the race when he was caught speeding on pit road during the last pit stop. He essentially gave away a sure win. In 2010 he lost the lead on pit road due to pit strategy, over drove the car to get it back and crashed with 15 laps to go in a car that was sure to win.

I don’t know if Indianapolis owes me a win, but I probably deserve to have one by this point. I’ve run really well there in my Cup career, but I just wasn’t able to close the deal.” Montoya added, “Maybe I was just waiting to win for Roger Penske. If I could be the driver to win for him it would just be another ‘thank you’ to him for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to race for him. The Team Penske Fords have been very fast this year. It’s been awesome to watch Brad and Joey this year.

With the way the Penske cars of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have been running, Montoya will have one of the better cars he has had in a long time. With his road racing ability at a speedway that races like one, Montoya has the confidence going here unlike at any other racetrack.

Montoya said, “Absolutely. First off, I’m always confident that I can win. But it’s obvious that the Team Penske cars are the class of the field right now. I have one race under my belt with crew chief Greg Erwin and the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental team, so we are a little familiar with each other. We had good speed in that first race at Michigan and I think we should be even better after taking what we learned there and applying it to the car we are bringing this weekend. It’s exciting to be back in the Cup Series for another weekend. Hopefully we can cap it off with a win.

If you cannot get to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at The Brickyard, it will be shown on ESPN at 1 PM ET Sunday July 27th. 2014.

John Wayne Walding served in the United States Army for 12 years. He was involved in a fire fight during a mission in Afghanistan. As a decorated veteran and NASCAR fan he is being honored by Crown Royal during this race.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 288548 Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Indianapolis
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 109.8
Tony Stewart……………………….. 104.1
Jeff Gordon………………………… 102.0
Juan Pablo Montoya………………. 96.7
Kyle Busch…………………………… 96.5
Kasey Kahne………………………… 96.4
Matt Kenseth………………………… 95.8
Greg Biffle……………………………. 94.6
Kevin Harvick………………………… 90.2
Denny Hamlin……………………….. 88.3
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (nine total) among active drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.