INDIANAPOLIS — Juan Pablo Montoya is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – one night only for Team Penske.
Montoya is entered in the Brickyard 400 for the purpose of winning at Indy in NASCAR and giving team owner Roger Penske one of the few trophies missing from his collection.
Montoya is not looking for a good points day Sunday and doesn’t care about a top-10 finish. It’s checkered flag or bust.
“With the position I’m in here, it’s do or die,” Montoya said Friday. “I don’t care about finishing fifth or sixth or seventh.”
Montoya left NASCAR after last season, when his contract was not renewed by Chip Ganassi. He jumped to IndyCar to drive for Ganassi rival Penske, who has given Montoya the chance to return to the Brickyard to get a win that got away.
Although he won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000, Montoya went 0 of 7 at Indy during his NASCAR days. But he was close at least twice, and many believe Montoya coughed those wins away.
He led 116 laps in 2009 until a speeding penalty on his final pit stop cost him the win, and he was out front the next year with 20 laps left until an ill-timed caution ruined his day. Montoya went to pit road and got four tires while everyone else took two. Stuck deep in traffic with little time to make up the ground, he crashed and finished 32nd.
“Yeah, once or twice, and I probably coulda, shoulda and would have won the 500 this year as well,” he said. “But coulda, woulda and should have doesn’t count. At least I had a chance and I still think I’ve got a good chance this year.”
NASCAR CHAIRMAN Brian France said nothing drastic will be done to next year’s schedule, despite drivers ready for big changes.
Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson wanted an off week before the final 10 races.
Ryan Newman, the 2013 Brickyard 400 winner, said NASCAR should hold Wednesday night races in the fall to showcase the sport and move away from a clogged NFL weekend.
France had said there would be “robust discussion” about the schedule, then downplayed his remarks.
“There’s not going to be a dramatic change, but there may be some things that are a little different – that’s not unusual,” he said. “You come back to moving dates around … we don’t do a lot of it, but we do a little of it from time to time and this will be one of those moments.”
MARCOS AMBROSE declined to discuss a report that he’s considering returning to Australia to run the V8 Supercar Series for Roger Penske.
LEWIS HAMILTON posted the fastest time in the first and second practices for the Hungarian Grand Prix with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg second.
AZERBAIJAN IS set to host a Formula One race in 2016 in the capital city of Baku.