NASCAR: Coble's Racing Notes
Juan Pablo Montoya has raced stock cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’s also been in Formula One cars and Indy cars.
On Friday he will add sports cars to the list.
Montoya will partner with Jamie McMurray in a BMW-powered Riley prototype Friday for the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix for the GRAND-AM Road Racing series.
The famed speedway added a three-hour sports car race and a 250-mile Nationwide Series race to a schedule that already includes Sunday’s Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard.
For Montoya “Super Weekend” will allow him to build on a 2000 Indianapolis 500 victory. And with six career starts there in Formula One, he has more time on the 2.534-mile road course that utilizes portion of the famed oval and the infield than any other.
“It’s going to be cool,” Montoya said. “This is kind of crazy that pretty much everything with four wheels, I’ve been here at Indy. It’s pretty exciting.”
Montoya and McMurray are teammates in the NASCAR department at Chip Ganassi Racing. A similar BMW Riley for GRAND-AM regulars Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas also will come from Ganassi.
McMurray has a Brickyard 400 win. The Indianapolis road course, however, doesn’t resemble the 2.5-mile oval, especially since race traffic goes clockwise.
McMurray got a feel for the road course during a test session a month ago.
“I’ve never went around Turn 1 wide open before, and the first time, even though you’re going backward, it’s kind of mind-boggling to run flat out,” McMurray said. “My neck got tired in three laps because we’re not used to turning right. I told (Montoya) to hang on get prepared because your body’s going to go through something it hasn’t went through in a long time.”
Montoya and McMurray aren’t the only ones with a background at Indianapolis. Pruett has competed there in NASCAR and IndyCars, too.
“For me personally, it’s huge,” Pruett said. “Especially coming from a position where I didn’t really believe I would be going back to Indianapolis and racing, and, you know, racing there for a number of years on the IndyCar side and then just an incredible race in 2000 on the NASCAR side.
“Now to go back with the Rolex Sports Car Series is truly, for me, a dream come true. To get back to Indianapolis and just the center of it all and what it represents, and there’s nothing like going and being a part of an historic first-time race like that, and the magnitude that it brings.”
Danica Patrick to skip Brickyard 400
Danica Patrick added the Oct. 21 Hollywood Casino 400 to her selected Sprint Cup Series schedule with Stewart-Haas Racing, which means she won’t be at the Royal Crown 400 July 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With her move from the IndyCar Racing Series, most expected Indianapolis to be on her schedule. The team, however, apparently believed she’d be better served going to a track she doesn’t know well instead of returning to a speedway where she’s already made seven career starts at the Indianapolis 500.
Indy’s loss, however, will be Kansas’ gain.
“I’m excited to hear the news today that Kansas Speedway’s Hollywood Casino 400 will be one of Danica Patrick’s 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup races this year,” said Kansas Speedway president Patrick Warren. “Danica has had success at Kansas Speedway and I look forward to seeing her compete in both the Kansas Lottery 300 and the Hollywood Casino 400 on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 on the newly re-configured Kansas Speedway.”
Patrick actually has six career starts at Kansas, including a pole position in 2005. She also has seven career starts at Indy with six top-10 finishes, including a third-place effort in 2009 to make her the highest-finishing woman in race history.