Montoya earns $2.4 million for Indy 500 win
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Juan Pablo Montoya was all smiles at the victory banquet Monday night where he celebrated his second Indy 500 win in three tries.
Also, tribute was paid to team owner Roger Penske for winning a 16th race at Indy.
“You don’t understand,” the Colombian driver said. “When you run for Team Penske, you’re part of something bigger. When we win, we all win together.”
Montoya earned $2,449,055 for his win. His earnings were part of a $13,397,315 overall purse. The check amounts were announced at the annual victory dinner Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Runner-up Will Power earned $792,555, and Charlie Kimball, who finished third, earned $564,055.
Scott Dixon, who finished fourth after starting on the pole, earned $615,805.
Montoya’s victory comes 15 years after his Indy 500 win in 2000. He left IndyCar for Formula One and later struggled in NASCAR for seven years before making a return to IndyCar in 2014.
Montoya, who also won the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to start the season, leads the IndyCar series standings.
Before picking up his earnings, the 39-year old sat through a roasting by fellow drovers — mostly over his age.
Tony Kanaan, who is 40, joked about watching Montoya race while growing up.
“Juan, growing up watching you when I was a little kid in Brazil was awesome,” he said.
Townsend Bell, who finished 14th on Sunday, said he had a “Juan Pablo Montoya” lunch box as a child. Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, both in their 20s, recalled watching video of him and looking up to him when they spent time around racetracks.
Kimball, while being honest, pointed out that he was a freshman in high school and didn’t have a driver’s license when Montoya won his first Indianapolis 500 in 2000.
Montoya also received kudos for the way he won the race.
He had to work his way from the back of the field twice and led just nine laps before he became one of 11 drivers to help Penske get 16 Indianapolis 500 wins.
Team Penske has been dominant all season. Power won the pole and finished first in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
But teammate Helio Castroneves went airborne in a wreck early on in Indianapolis 500 practice — a crash that sparked concerns about the safety of the new oval aero kits.
There were no issues with the safety of the aero kits on Sunday and Montoya found a way to get the job done.
He slipped ahead of Power with three laps to go and held off his teammate for his second Indianapolis 500 win — a move that paid off for the 39-year old driver.
Montoya held off Power by 0.1046 of a second — the fourth-closest finish in race history.
And while many drivers poked fun at Montoya, Power, who is also second behind his teammate in the series standings, took a different approach.
“I’m definitely not going to rag on Juan,” Power joked. “The last time we all laughed at him at a dinner, he went out and won at St. Petersburg. I’m just going to say what a great driver he is.”
Power wants to slip by Montoya the next time.
“But I did watch him when I was in the junior categories,” he added.
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