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From my (Jake Query) IMS Radio perch atop the Northeast Vista, I’ve seen ya. I’ve seen ya pulling names from a hat and the driver’s name you  pull end up being your favorite for the next 500 miles.

So, for the 33 days leading up to the race, I figured I’d let ya know more about the PEOPLE in the cockpit or the people you may end up rooting for when you pull a name out of a hat. A couple things you might want to know about these drivers is…

  • Who shares YOUR passion?
  • Who likes YOUR favorite musician?
  • Whose story strikes a chord that connects beyond the strip of paper you pulled from the hat?

Strap in. Ride along for 33 days of “Get to know”.

Juan Pablo Montoya – Arrow McLaren SP – Car #6

All You Need To Know About Juan Pablo Montoya.

Perhaps by now, the story is legend. It’s hard to determine, to be honest, where the truth ends, but easy to see where the  legend began.

 

What is known is this: A short while before he came to the Indy 500, Juan Montoya was visiting the Ganassi Racing shop & had a break in the schedule. During the down time, he made his first ever visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

A slow, cold and icy day- as legend has it- Montoya was the lone visitor on the tour bus when he took his first lap around the track. Upon the completion of the lap, Montoya asked for an additional lap. Slow day. No other customers. He got an additional lap, and asked to be driven along the inside line. As the legend has it, the driver- who had noticed the intent of Montoya’s observation, asked the passenger what brought him to Indianapolis.

 

“I’m Juan Montoya”,  story says he said. “I’m going to win the Indianapolis 500.”

 

It’s hard to know how much of the story is legend, but, make no mistake: shortly thereafter, the legend was born.

 

A CART driver only after Chip Ganassi and Frank Williams made a driver swap that sent Alex Zanardi to Formula One and brought Montoya, who was testing for Williams, to the U.S., Montoya dominated his rookie CART campaign to win the series title.

 

In 2000, Ganassi brought the then 24 year old Colombian to the Indianapolis 500. He led 167 laps in becoming the first rookie winner in 33 years.

 

Juan Pablo Montoya Roldan was born September 20, 1975 in Bogota, Colombia. His father, Pablo, an architect who also worked as a flower exporter, is a car enthusiast. Young Juan shared his Dad’s love of cars and began karting at a young age. He raced in various series and disciplines before landing the European seat that eventually sent him to the United States.

 

His record in racing- at Indianapolis as well as in Formula One, NASCAR and IndyCar- is as diverse and decorated as anyone, anywhere, of his era. He added a 2nd Indy 500 win in 2015, and logged pair of runner-ups in the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix on the IMS Road Course.

 

It’s afforded a life of luxury for Montoya, his wife Connie, and their 3 children. When Juan is not coaching his son Sebastian’s racing career, he may be biking or windsurfing near his Miami home. An avid watch collector, he also spends time with the “Formula Smiles Foundation”, a charity he started with Connie that benefits disadvantaged Colombian children.

 

In 6 Indy 500s, Montoya has an average finish of 9.1.  In 2016, he became one of just 2 drivers (Johnny Rutherford is the other) to finish last a year after finishing 1st.

 

It was his only Indianapolis 500 finish outside of the Top 10.

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