Alonso & Montoya to Face Off Once Again at This Year’s Indy 500

It’s a race back in time for Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya

The 35-year-old Spanish Formula One racer and the 41-year-old Colombian IndyCar Series driver will roll back the years and battle together once again at the Indy 500 on May 28.

Fernando Alonso & Juan Pablo Montoya

Alonso is missing the Monaco Grand Prix to drive at the Brickyard, which will see him race against a number of familiar faces — including Montoya, who also made his Formula One debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.

Despite spells with Williams and McLaren, Montoya never replicated Alonso’s title-winning success in F1 and had to make do with seven grand prix victories.

Montoya came into F1 having won the Indy 500 and CART championship in 2000 and has won the prestigious oval race more recently, in 2015. Alonso holds the Colombian in high regard from their days together in F1.

“I take Juan Pablo as one of the best drivers in the world, one of the most talented drivers I ever competed against,” Alonso said. “So to come here and drive together in the super speedway will be a massive thing for me.

“Hopefully I can learn as much as I can… I’m watching a lot of his onboard cameras because I think he’s one of the best out there. So really looking forward to talk to him and have some dinners with him at Indy because any tips would be welcome for him.”

Montoya says the chance to race Alonso, the 2005 and 2006 world champion, again was something he would not have expected at this stage of the Spaniard’s career.

“If you would have told me I was going to win a race ever against Alonso, it would be an endurance race or something, not in Indy to be honest,” Montoya said. “I think it’s great. I think having Fernando is going to be a really good day for motorsports, not only for IndyCar, but I think the attention overall for seeing Fernando and myself and everybody running Indy is going to be really big.”

Montoya says Alonso will have a steep learning curve if he wants to get to grips with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in time for the race.

“The biggest challenge is going to be first he has never done a race that is that long, and the traffic. He is going to have to learn and understand the traffic. I think if he is patient enough through the week and builds to it, I think he will be fine.

“He is a really good driver. He has really good teammates. People have run at Indy before and run well. There is no reason why he shouldn’t run well.”

Montoya Wins IndyCar Series Race at Pocono Raceway

Juan Pablo Montoya is back at the top of the podium in the IndyCar Series.

The 38-year-old Colombian racing driver won the IndyCar race Sunday at Pocono Raceway, the highlight of a triumphant return to open-wheel racing after seven years in NASCAR.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Montoya won for the first time in the CART/IndyCar Series since 2000 and had his first major victory since he won a road-course race at Watkins Glen in NASCAR in 2010.

Helio Castroneves was second to make it a 1-2 finish Sunday for Team Penske. With double points awarded in the 500-mile races, Castroneves moved into a tie for the points lead with Team Penske teammate Will Power.

Carlos Munoz, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon completed the top five.

Montoya, who won from the pole, took the lead for good when Tony Kanaanwas forced to pit for fuel with four laps left. Montoya took it from there and continued to stamp himself a player in the championship hunt. He moved to fourth in the standings.

“As soon as we signed him, I knew he would be an asset for us, and a headache,” Castroneves said.

Montoya, the 1999 CART champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500, winner took the checkered flag to the sight of hundreds of Colombian fans waving the flag and cheering him on.

It was just the kind of scene he pictured when he decided to head home to open wheel. Montoya wanted a competitive ride again after lackluster results driving for Chip Ganassi in NASCAR. He knew his open-wheel return would have a learning curve: Montoya last ran in CART in 2000, then left Formula One midway through the 2006 season for NASCAR.

After only two top 10s in his first seven starts, Montoya reeled off a third, second and seventh in his past three. Now, he has the win needed to erase any lingering doubts that has move back to open wheel was the right one.