St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Juan Pablo Montoya won an Indy car race on a road/street course for the first time in 16 years after holding off his Team Penske teammate and reigning IndyCar Series champion, Will Power, in the closing laps of Sunday’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Power started on the pole and led 75 of 110 laps, but during a late-race round of pit stops, Montoya took over the top position when he had a quicker stop than his teammate. Montoya ran in front for the final 27 laps around this 1.8- mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit in St. Petersburg, beating Power to the finish line by just 0.993 seconds.
It was the second victory for Montoya since returning to IndyCar full-time in 2014. He had competed in Formula One from 2001-06 and then ran a full schedule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 2007-13. The Colombian won at Pocono Raceway, a 2.5-mile triangular track, this past July. His last road/street course victory in IndyCar occurred in a CART-sanctioned race in Vancouver on Sept. 5, 1999.
Power moved to within a half-second of Montoya for the lead on lap 100, but on the following lap, he made slight contact with Montoya while battling him for position, causing Power to fall more than a second and a half behind. Power won last year’s IndyCar season-opener at St. Petersburg and then claimed two more victories during the season, en route to his first IndyCar championship.
Team Penske had all four of its drivers finish in the top-five. While Montoya and Power crossed the line 1-2, Helio Castroneves took the fourth spot, and Simon Pagenaud, in his first race for Roger Penske’s team, was fifth. Tony Kanaan from Chip Ganassi Racing finished third.
Race two of the IndyCar season takes place April 12 in the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park outside New Orleans.