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August 01, 2014 | By Verizon IndyCar Series
Juan Pablo Montoya is open to attempting the “double” in 2015 if team owner Roger Penske makes the request.
Montoya, competing in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in the No. 2 Hawk Performance Team Penske car, is 14 races into his first season back in Indy cars since 2000. He’s won from the pole at Pocono Raceway in early July and is fifth in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings entering the 90-lap race Aug. 3 on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Montoya also has driven a Penske Racing stock car at Michigan International Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this summer. He competed in NASCAR for seven seasons with Ganassi Racing before joining championship points front-runner Helio Castroneves and Will Power, who is 19 points back in second, at Team Penske for the 18-race Verizon IndyCar Series season.
“I think it would be cool. I don’t want to force (Penske) into anything,” said Montoya, who's in the first year of a two-year contract. “In (stock car) qualifying I’ve shown I can run well in those cars if they drive well. The hard thing is we did one day of testing Nashville, went to Michigan and struggled all weekend with the rear of the car. We were so loose. And we came off the truck in Indy the same way – sideways.”
Montoya, the 1999 CART champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner, finished fifth in the 98th Indy 500 on May 25. Kurt Busch, driving an Andretti Autosport-prepared car, attempted the double this year. He placed sixth in his first Indianapolis 500 and then completed 271 of 400 laps (blown engine) at Charlotte.
Busch was seeking to join Tony Stewart as the only drivers to complete the double in one day. John Andretti and Robby Gordon also have attempted it.
Montoya would be 39 years old for the 500 miles on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and 600 miles a few hours later at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway oval in Concord, N.C. He would not have the same constraints as Busch, who is a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver.
“Physically, I don’t think it wouldn’t be that hard,” he said. “If you went to do it properly it would be a lot of run. (Penske Racing) cars at a mile and a half run really well. If you could have a test day there or at another a mile-and-a-half (oval) to get the car close to what I want, it would be a fun experience. There are a lot of possibilities.”
Montoya's first car race outside of his native Colombia was in Barber Saab in 1993 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and he won the next year. He won the 1999 CART race at Mid-Ohio.
"I love this place. It’s a cool racetrack and is really nice for the fans," he said.