Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Juan Pablo Montoya makes one-race Sprint Cup return

INDIANAPOLIS — Juan Pablo Montoya is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for one night only, an encore of sorts, in a guest-starring role for Team Penske.

He is entered in Sprint Cup's Brickyard 400 for the explicit purpose of winning at Indy in NASCAR and giving team owner Roger Penske one of the few trophies missing from his collection.

Montoya is not looking for a good points day Sunday and doesn't care about a top-10 finish. It's checkered flag or bust.

"With the position I'm in here, it's do or die," Montoya said Friday. "I don't care about finishing fifth or sixth or seventh."

Montoya left NASCAR at the end of last season when his contract was not renewed by Chip Ganassi. He jumped to IndyCar to drive for Ganassi rival Penske, who has given Montoya the opportunity to return to the Brickyard to get the win that got away.

Although he won the Indianapolis 500 in 2000, Montoya went 0-for-7 at Indy during his NASCAR days. But he was oh-so-close at least twice, and many believe Montoya coughed those wins away.

Penske sent him to Michigan in June as a warmup for Sunday. He finished 18th but used the opportunity to work with his pit crew for the first time and get accustomed to Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

What Montoya learned — and struggled with Friday — is that he doesn't prefer the setup Logano and Keselowski use and needs track time to get the car to his liking.

"It seems like the race pace is pretty good, and I think I've been pretty good here, and I know what I want out of the car," he said. "So that makes it a lot easier so we know what we need to work on to be a little better."

Formula One: Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in the first and second practices for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg second at Budapest. Hamilton's best lap of 1 minute, 24.482 seconds was 0.238 seconds faster than Rosberg's in the second session. The Mercedes drivers, who have won nine of the 10 races this season, were the only ones finishing below 1:25 and were over a second faster than in the first practice.

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