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03.18.14

Team Penske's Newest Driver Makes Splash

IndyCar - Birmingham, AL

Juan Pablo Montoya’s goals for the two-day Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports were simple: learn, discern and apply.

The scheduled seven hours on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course were cut in half because of a chill and mist in the morning of day one, but Montoya and teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves made the most of their combined 154 laps. Especially the newest member of Team Penske.

Montoya, driving the Chevrolet-powered No. 2 Verizon Team Penske car, was .0678 of a second off the front-running Power’s best lap of 1 minute, 07.6492 seconds. Castroneves was third on the time chart at 1:07.7214.

“I’m trying to learn how to get more out of the car and we’re getting there,” said Montoya, the 1999 CART champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner who is returning to Indy car racing after stints in Formula one and stock cars. “It was good today, but there’s a couple of places that I need to do a little better job and be a little cleaner, but we’re getting there.”

Twenty-two drivers, including four who will make their first Verizon IndyCar Series start on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 30, participated. On-track activity March 18 is scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon and 2-5 p.m. (CDT). Live Timing & Scoring is available on www.indycar.com.

“I think it will be really good,” added Montoya, noting the more favorable weather forecast. “We’re going to try to get in some long runs and hopefully running in some traffic. I think that is going to be one of the key things (heading into St. Petersburg).”
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