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Juan Pablo Montoya returns to NASCAR for two races

Juan Pablo Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky

Juan Pablo Montoya, open-wheel star turned NASCAR driver who returned to the IndyCar Series this season will make a brief return to NASCAR making two starts for Team Penske. Montoya will race the No. 12 Ford Fusion at Michigan International Speedway on June 15 and will also enter the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27. NASCAR veteran Greg Erwin will work with Montoya as crew chief of the No. 12 Ford entry.

“Juan is a proven winner in multiple racing disciplines and he is one of the most versatile racecar drivers competing today,” said Roger Penske in an emailed statement. “Michigan and Indianapolis are two important races for Team Penske. We know Juan has the ability to race for wins in both of those events while still focusing on his full-time program in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

Montoya has three starts in the IndyCar Series in 2014, his best finish was a fourth at Long Beach. He won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. He competed in NASCAR from 2007-2013 where he has recorded two wins, 24 top-five finishes and nine pole awards. Montoya has two wins in 253 NASCAR starts both wins coming at the road courses of Watkins Glen and Sonoma. He has a career-best finish of sixth at MIS and a best finish of second at Indy. At the Brickyard Montoya led the most laps in the 2009 and 2010 only to come up short of the win. Montoya will join the Team Penske duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, both of whom have already visited Victory Lane in 2014.

“It has been a good start to the season with Team Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series and it will be fun to get back behind the wheel of the Cup car,” said Montoya. “It’s hard to believe, but Roger Penske has never won the Brickyard 400. I think that Brad, Joey and I will give Roger and Team Penske a great opportunity to check that off the list and we should be strong at Michigan as well.”

SKF will sponsor the Michigan entry; the team said the No. 12 car sponsor for the Brickyard 400 will be announced at a later date.