|2015 Indy 500 champ Juan Pablo Montoya|
credit: IndyCar Media/Dana Garrett
He may not be a NASCAR star anymore, but many NASCAR fans were watching the 2015 Indianapolis 500 when Juan Pablo Montoya took the checkered flag for the second time in his career. Here are the updated Fast Facts on this multi-faceted international driver.
- Juan Pablo Montoya Roldan (Montoya is his paternal family name, Roldan is his maternal family name) was born Sept. 20, 1975 in Bogota, Columbia. He got started in racing thanks to his father Pablo, who was an architect and a racing fan.
- From karting Montoya moved on to Columbian Formula Renault in 1992, the Swift GTI Championship in 1993, and spent 1994 in three series – Sudam 125 Karting (won the championship), USA Barber Saab (finished third in points) and Mexico’s Formula N (won the championship). From 1995 to 1998 he ran in various series around the globe, including Formula 3000, and became a test driver for the Williams Formula 1 team.
- As part of a driver swap with Chip Ganassi Racing, Montoya moved to CART in 1999, in place of Alex Zanardi, who won two championships with Ganassi before returning to F1. Montoya won the CART title and Rookie of the Year award in 1999; the following year, the Ganassi team “crossed the line” over to the Indy Racing League’s Indianapolis 500, where Montoya dominated, leading 167 of 200 laps and winning the race and the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award.
- Montoya moved on to F1 in 2001, racing there until 2006 and claiming seven wins and 13 poles for both Williams and McLaren. In July 2006, he announced his intentions to move to NASCAR; that year, he made his stock car debut in the ARCA Racing Series race at Talladega in October, qualifying second, leading nine laps and finishing third. He also raced in the Busch (now Xfinity) Series and NEXTEL (now Sprint) Cup Series at the end of the season.
- 2007 began with Montoya in victory lane in his first Rolex 24 at Daytona; later in the year, Montoya earned his first Nationwide (now Xfinity) and Cup Series wins, both on road courses (Nationwide – Mexico City and Cup – Sonoma); for his efforts, he was named the Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series. He has a top finish of eighth in Sprint Cup points (2009) and also won the 2010 Cup Series race at Watkins Glen.
- In Sept. 2013, it was announced that Montoya would return to the IndyCar Series with Team Penske in 2014. Montoya did return to NASCAR competition for two races – Indianapolis and Michigan – with Team Penske, but was victorious in the IndyCar Series, winning at Pocono in July – his first win in the series since the 2000 Indy 500. He began the 2015 season with a win at St. Petersburg before drinking the milk in victory lane at Indianapolis.
- Montoya and his wife Connie have three children: son Sebastian and daughters Paulina and Manuela.
- Find out more about Juan Pablo Montoya at www.jpmontoya.com.