Montoya returns to IndyCar with Penske

Juan Pablo Montoya has won a lot of big races -- the Indianapolis 500, the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and...

Juan Pablo Montoya has won a lot of big races -- the Indianapolis 500, the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona -- as well as a championship in the old CART series and a couple of Sprint Cup races. (Getty Images/AFP)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:31 AM ET

The revelation on Monday that Juan Pablo Montoya was returning to open-wheel racing — specifically the IZOD IndyCar Series as a third driver on the Penske Racing team — was to say the least a surprise.

After all Montoya had not only spurned an offer from IndyCar’s Andretti Autosport earlier, but had confided to friends that he wasn’t interested in going back to the singles seaters.

He had even made a trip out to Denver — the headquarters for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Furniture Row team — and was said to be in serious discussions with that team to replace Kurt Busch in the No. 78 Chevrolet next season.

Montoya’s split with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing was a personal affront to the 37-year-old Colombian, who complained over the past two seasons that his mid-pack performances were the result of bad cars, and not his driving.

He felt if he were in a Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing car his fortunes would immediately improve.


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