Montoya on the pace on testing return ahead of May IndyCar outings

Juan Pablo Montoya was on the pace as he returned to an IndyCar cockpit in testing at Barber on Tuesday, getting within a tenth of a second of the fastest time

Montoya on the pace on testing return ahead of May IndyCar outings

The ex-Formula 1 driver lost his full-time drive with Penske for this year, initially signing a one-race deal with the team for the Indianapolis 500.

That arrangement was subsequently extended to include the Indianapolis road course race before the 500, so Montoya joined 21 other drivers in action yesterday.

He finished the day with the fourth-fastest time, just 0.0888s slower than team-mate Will Power at the top of the order.

"I feel like I [last] drove the car yesterday," Montoya said at the end of the test, after six months out of action since the 2016 finale.

"It's kind of fun. I've been out of the car since September, but I feel fine.

"I have a new crew, new guys, new engineer. It's working really well.

"There's a lot of focus on the Indy 500 and that's understandable, but the [road course] grand prix has come a long way in a short time.

"More people need to discover it because all of the races have been very competitive with passing and lead changes.

"It's always great to race at Indy, and I'll be excited to get in the car again for the Month of May."

Power led the way with a 1m07.7518s, set in the closing moments of the day during a final hour that became action packed due to the use of push-to-pass being permitted.

Ganassi's Max Chilton was 0.0073s back in second place, breaking up what would otherwise have been a Penske-Chevrolet top three lockout.

"It just shows how tight it is between Honda and Chevy now," said Power in reference to Chilton's Honda-powered effort.

"We went through a bunch of stuff [during the test] and we got some good answers here."

Chilton joked that Power had "spoiled the fun" with his last-gasp lap, adding that Ganassi had turned things around after a difficult start to the day.

"We actually were struggling a lot with the car all day, that's why we took a long, long lunch break to sort of change the car," he added.

"Then we definitely made steps forward, did a few fine-tunes.

"It's amazing, you make a few changes and you jump yourself up the board."

Montoya's Penske replacement Josef Newgarden was third, just ahead of the Colombian, while Andretti Autosport filled three of the next four spots with Marco Andretti (fifth), morning pacesetter Takuma Sato (sixth) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (eighth).

Chilton's Ganassi team-mate Scott Dixon was among those cars in seventh, with Graham Rahal and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud completing the top 10.

COMBINED TEST TIMES:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                 Time        Gap
 1.  Will Power          Penske Dallara-Chevy     1m07.7518s
 2.  Max Chilton         Ganassi Dallara-Honda    1m07.7591s  +0.0073s
 3.  Josef Newgarden     Penske Dallara-Chevy     1m07.8402s  +0.0084s
 4.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Penske Dallara-Chevy     1m07.8406s  +0.0088s
 5.  Marco Andretti      Andretti Dallara-Honda   1m07.9664s  +0.2146s
 6.  Takuma Sato         Andretti Dallara-Honda   1m07.9835s  +0.2317s
 7.  Scott Dixon         Ganassi Dallara-Honda    1m08.0255s  +0.2737s
 8.  Ryan Hunter-Reat    Andretti Dallara-Honda   1m08.0935s  +0.3417s
 9.  Graham Rahal        Rahal Dallara-Honda      1m08.1172s  +0.3654s
10.  Simon Pagenaud      Penske Dallara-Chevy     1m08.1876s  +0.4358s
11.  Tony Kanaan         Ganassi Dallara-Honda    1m08.2163s  +0.4645s
12.  Helio Castroneves   Penske Dallara-Chevy     1m08.2235s  +0.4717s
13.  Sebastien Bourdais  Coyne Dallara-Honda      1m08.2308s  +0.4790s
14.  Ed Jones            Coyne Dallara-Honda      1m08.2488s  +0.4970s
15.  Alexander Rossi     Andretti Dallara-Honda   1m08.3353s  +0.5835s
16.  Mikhail Aleshin     Schmidt Dallara-Honda    1m08.4181s  +0.6663s
17.  Spencer Pigot       Carpenter Dallara-Chevy  1m08.4217s  +0.6699s
18.  James Hinchcliffe   Schmidt Dallara-Honda    1m08.4951s  +0.7433s
19.  Conor Daly          Foyt Dallara-Chevy       1m08.6138s  +0.8620s
20.  JR Hildebrand       Carpenter Dallara-Chevy  1m08.6952s  +0.9434s
21.  Carlos Munoz        Foyt Dallara-Chevy       1m08.7088s  +0.9570s
22.  Charlie Kimball     Ganassi Dallara-Honda    1m08.8144s  +1.0626s
shares
comments
IndyCar opener felt 'fabricated' - Scott Dixon
Previous article

IndyCar opener felt 'fabricated' - Scott Dixon

Next article

IndyCar unveils more images of 2018 Dallara

IndyCar unveils more images of 2018 Dallara
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021