Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Grand Prix of Houston Post Race

JUNE 28, 2014


HOUSTON (June 28, 2014) – Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet, saw a fantastic chance at his first win since returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series slip through his fingers on the final restart of Race One of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston double header.

Lined up in second place, Montoya was ready to make his move in his Chevrolet IndyCar V6 twin turbo powered car with time running short in the event. But before he could make a challenge for the lead in the first corner, the caution flew for the final time because of a spin behind him.  The race ended under caution as time expired.

With his fourth top-five finish of the year, Montoya moves up two positions in the point standings to fifth.

The event was scheduled to run a total of 90 laps but due to heavy rains that delayed the start, IndyCar officials elected to make this a timed race that would last one hour and fifty minutes.

Montoya’s Team Penske teammates Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, and Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet maintained their 1-2 lead in the series standings despite a challenging day for both on track.  Power started in 18th position and was looking to overcome the deficit and treacherous conditions.  However, he was involved in an incident late in the race that he could not overcome and finished 14th.

Castroneves started on the outside front row and raced inside the top-five for most of the event.  The team decided to pit for tires on the final stop and he could not overcome the lost track position as many others decided to stay out and the team would finish ninth.

Other Chevrolet IndyCar V6 finishers were:
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet, finished 4th
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Chevrolet, finished 9th
Ryan Briscoe, No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, finished 12th
Tony Kanaan, No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, finished 13th
Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finished 14th
Sebastian Saavedra, No. 17 Automatic Fire Sprinklers KV AFS Chevrolet, finished 15th
Mike Conway, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, finished 17th
Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Levemir Flex Touch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, finished 18th
Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, finished 19th

Qualifying for Race No. 2 of the second doubleheader of the season is set for 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 29, 2014.

The 90-lap/153-mile race on the 10-turn/1.683-mile temporary circuit is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. ET with live coverage on NBCSN. The action will be carried live on IMS Radio Network XM 209/Sirius 213 as well as

COULD YOU HAVE WON THAT RACE? “Yes, I had a good jump (on the restart) there. It is one of those deals; it’s racing. That’s what happens.  I had a shot once at passing. It was really close. I thought he wasn’t going to make it on gas, but congratulations to Carlos (Huertas). I think my Verizon Chevy was unbelievable today. This race, especially when it rains, is all about keeping it off the wall and running smart all day, and we did that. I liked passing Tony (Kanaan), I really enjoyed that. I’m starting to get there, and I’m pretty happy.”

“Yeah, we were running pretty good, like seventh or something; and then we came in and put on black tires and that really hurt us. We suffered there a little bit, but in a way it forced us to do something different and it paid off. I was amazed with this timed race. There were like 35 minutes to go and I am counting 30 laps, you can’t make it. At this pace, you can’t make it. Why are they not stopping? I was kind of surprised nobody pitted. And I’m like oh, thank you.”

“No, I just told him congratulations. He’s a good kid; you know what I mean? And he did a good job today. He did what he had to do to win.”

“I’ll be honest with you. Our Verizon Chevy was really good today and I thought we had a chance to win, but at the end the tires went off. But I do tease him a lot. He had the suit all open and I’m like, you’ve got to look good (laughs).”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  NO. 11 TEAM MISTIC E-CIGS – KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH: ON HIS RACE:  “A very solid day for the KVSH Racing Mistic machine and the whole group. We did everything right and everything we had to do. We just got hurt by the yellows. The first yellow, when we switch to slick tires, a lot of things didn’t quite work out, but we seemed to come out of it strong, P2 behind Hinchcliffe. Unfortunately, another yellow came out and that really did it because we were good to go on fuel with one more stop and some of the other guys behind us stopped on an earlier yellow. But since it was a timed race, every time there was a yellow the race got shorter and shorter and they were not using as much fuel. So, a few of them stayed in front of us, but we salvaged a fourth which was a very solid result. Of course I am disappointed in a way because I think we could have finished higher, but I am pretty happy for the Mistic crew.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PENNZOIL ULTRA PREMIUM TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH: “Obviously we were looking for a better day today after qualifying on the front row with the Pennzoil Chevrolet. With Brazil winning their World Cup match on penalty kicks I was really feeling good about the day. The rain, I think, through all of us for a bit of a loop. It was very wet to start and there were some corners that never dried. We just weren’t prepared for that. But we know we have a fast car in dry conditions. Hopefully we will qualify well again tomorrow and have a better ending.
“Well, you’ve got to be professional. I have a team to defend and a lot of good sponsors. So, I can’t do what I really want to do. What a shame. It was a great run by the Target Chip Ganassi boys. We fought all the way; all day long. And to be taken out like that I think it’s stupid. But he was having a good day, too and then ruined his day. I guess I wanted to believe the best. I wanted to believe he didn’t do it on purpose. Of course he came and apologized. But that still doesn’t take the frustration out of me.”

“Yeah, he has to man, come on. He’s a humble guy. It’s just a shame. What am I going to say? Am I mad at him? Yes. Can I turn back in time? No. So, we’ve got to turn the page and move on to tomorrow.”

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 14TH: “Hard day today if we could have hung in there a little longer we could have been in good shape. I made a mistake there and I feel bad for the Verizon Chevy boys after I went into the wall. That’s racing. We’ll try it again tomorrow and go for better result.”

NO. 17 AUTOMATIC FIRE SPRINKLERS, INC. – KV AFS RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED: 15TH: ON HIS RACE: “It was a crazy race. I am very sad because the result does not show what an amazing car we had. We were very strong in the wet, making a lot of passes when the conditions were at there worst. With a great strategy and fantastic  pit stops by the Automatic Fire Sprinklers – KV AFS Racing crew we were able to get up front. Unfortunately at the end I got taken out by Ryan Briscoe while looking to have a top-five or better finish. I’m disappointed, we came from so far back in the field and worked so hard that we deserve a lot better. We have a good car and just need to re-group for tomorrow. Big congratulations on the Colombian 1, 2, 3 finish today and of course in the World Cup with Colombia winning their game, which is huge for my country…I wish I could be there!”

MIKE CONWAY, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, FINISHED 17TH:  ON HIS RACE: “The track was drying and we decided to pit (on lap 26) and put on the red Firestones slicks.  I wanted to make some time but I locked up the tires in turn 3. It was still a little wet on the outside.  And I got the car into the tire barrier.  The right front wing was wrecked and the car stalled.  The impact bent the steering column a bit and it twisted my left thumb pretty well too.  It is hurting but nothing serious.  It will be sore tomorrow.  I just feel badly for the ECR/Fuzzy’s team because the way the race finished up.  We could have been in the mix at the end. We need to get ready for Sunday’s race now.”

An Interview With:


THE MODERATOR:  We’ll get started with today’s post‑race press conference.  We’re please to be joined by Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya who finished second in today’s race.  We are very pleased to have three Colombians on the podium so they will be accepting questions in both Spanish and English.  Juan, a second‑place finish here.  This is Juan’s best finish since returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series.  His previous best finish this season was third at Texas.  So, Juan, the state of Texas has been very good to you.  How excited are you to get another podium finish here?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  It’s exciting.  Our Verizon Chevy was very good.  Yesterday was a difficult practice.  We really struggled in the morning.  I had a lot of braking issues, and we fixed them.  In the afternoon I felt like we made good gains.  Qualifying was good, and I was kind of mad we put black tires on the dump truck.  I was going on the radio going what are we doing, what are we thinking?  Everybody was passing us, so that wasn’t the best.  But it is what it is.
I was kind of amazed nobody took that caution.  When it’s a timed race, you look at it, I mean, why?  Why wouldn’t you?  You know what I mean?  You could make it to the end, and I passed Tony ‑‑ I really felt I was going to be racing with Tony for the win, and I passed Tony when I needed to pass him, and with Huertas, a couple of times I could have passed him, but I just don’t risk the car.  It’s pointless, and then we’re here and he won the race.

Q.  Juan, did you think that you were in the position for the win I guess before the caution, and then under caution what was your plan going to be if you had one lap was green?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I was going for it.

Q.  How do you go for it?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I felt like I had a hell of a restart.  Like oh, I’m there, I’m there, and caution came out, and I’m like, oh.  I thought the caution came out because he jumped the start a little bit, but it seems you can jump the start here.

Q.  Did you have any ‑‑ did you not know what Huertas had?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  No, I never thought he could make it to the end.  On the radio it was like ‑‑ I mean, those two haven’t pitted, they’re not going to make it, we’re good.  You’ve only got to protect from behind, and then they said, oh, I think you might want to try to pass Huertas, and I said, I think I’m out of tires.
It’s good.  We got another good finish.  It’s something we can build on.  I thought we had a pretty good car at the beginning of the rain and I was very cautious.  Here you’ve end of losing your place and taking your time than stuffing it in the wall or spinning or anything.  When we went to black tires I was running sixth or seventh or something and they went on like an anchor.  When it was completely dry, it was okay, but whenever it was damp it was like oil on the track, and everybody else was like beautiful.  It was kind of frustrating.

Q.  Juan, you had some complaints about restarts over at Texas and possibly here with Huertas jumping the restart like you just said, but you had a pretty good start on him.  Do you feel like there’s an inconsistency there with restarts?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  The line is in the middle of the corner, and when we passed the entrance we were wide open.  He wasn’t as fast ‑‑ he jumped it by 50 yards or something like that.  I don’t mind that.  In Texas it was like 300 yards and he was already wide open, I’m like, you know ‑‑ I talked to IndyCar, you were a little bit behind.  I said, look, if you think I’m trying to tag him, then penalize me, too, but two wrongs doesn’t make one right.

Q.  This is for both of you.  Juan, the winner and the third‑place finisher all say that you were their idol when they were coming up racing.  How do you feel ‑‑
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  They should have respected me and let me win.

Q.  How do you feel to know that you’ve kind of had this type of influence on a lot of the guys that are getting to the point where they can win races here in IndyCar?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  When I grew up, I had Guerrero, he was the only guy racing.  He made Formula 1, he made it in IndyCar.  He was on the pole in the Indy 500.  He was really good.  So for me, apart from Senna, I looked up to him.  So when I went up, karting and racing in Colombia was there, a couple people tried it but nobody ever thought you could make a career out of this.  I’ve been racing for so long at a top level, you know what I mean, I’ve been lucky enough to have a great career, great teams, people start realizing, I want my kids to do ‑‑ the same thing with golf.  Here Tiger Woods, everybody thinks they’ve got to practice when they’re five years old every day, 20 hours a day to hit golf balls and one day the kid turns 14, looks at a girl and throws away the golf club.  It’s definitely that kind of deal.

Q.  Colombia won their World Cup match right before this race ended.  Are we making too much of it?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  Oh, it’s going to be a huge day.  Three Colombians, I think the first time in the history of motor racing in the world that three Colombians are on a podium top at the IndyCar level, a top motorsport level, it’s unbelievable.  It’s really exciting.  On my team, I think they’ve got a good shot at the World Cup, as well.  They’re playing really well, and yeah, next match is against Brazil, so that’s going to be fun, having Helio as a teammate and kicking his ass.
CARLOS MUÑOZ:  I think right now we’re really lucky to be here in America, not in Colombia.  I think right now Colombia should be really crazy to go out in the streets and celebrate.  It’s been a big deal for us this year.  Today was a big day for Colombia, for the first time 1‑2‑3 on the podium in IndyCar in a motorsport race, and the first time we go to quarterfinals.  So should be a really fantastic day.  We show what Colombians are made of.  I think we show the bad image people have, because they don’t know about Colombians, they only know about one thing.  You know what I mean?  Finally we showed that we have plenty of talent in Colombia, not only in motor racing but there’s a lot of Colombians in other sports.

Q.  Carlos, did you ever think you’d be on a podium with Juan Pablo, and Juan, do you feel like an old guy?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I am old.  I don’t have to feel like.  Compared with them, yeah.

Q.  All these kids grew up idolizing you are now beating you.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I’m OK.  If I don’t do a good job I deserve to be beaten.  If I do a good job, I’m going to kick your ass.  It’s normal.  That’s what we’re here to do.  It’s about getting the job done, and I feel I’ve come up and proven that I can get the job done here, and every week it gets better and better.  We have really good days.  We keep building on it.  We keep getting better.  It’s just a matter of time, you know what I mean?  I think the wins are coming, and I think once it clicks, it’s going to click pretty well.  Finally starting to get the overtaking.  I felt I made a really good move on Kanaan today.  I was smiling in the car when I passed him.  Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Q.  Could both of you talk about how sloppy the race ended up being?  It seemed that obviously when you go to the slicks you’re going to have some sloppiness, but the driving today had a lot of moments that could have been avoided.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I don’t know, it’s just racing.  It’s hard because only the race line dries.  It’s very hard to make any moves because every time you get to somebody you’ve got to stay in line.  You can’t get into the damp and say, oh, here I go because you’re probably not going to make it.  I think every time somebody tried it, that’s what happened.

Q.  Juan, the last time that you raced in Houston you finished second.  Would you say that it’s a lot different now emotionally considering you’ve been away from IndyCar so long that it’s a lot better today?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I’ll tell you, the last time I finished second here, Jimmy Vasser was the guy who beat me and it really sucked and finishing second place really sucked.
Am I happy?  Yeah, I’m happy I finished second and I’ve shown that I can get the job done and everything, but it still sucks.  And I think that’s why I can get the job done.  I really want to win.  It’s all about performing, and I’ll tell you, this year right now in the IndyCar Series is really tough.  Our Verizon Chevy is really good, and even having such a good car, you’re off a little bit and you’re 15th.  You know what I mean?  It doesn’t take much to be nowhere.
It’s great racing, but you’ve got to be on your game every day.

Q.  Speaking about every day, what about coming back tomorrow?  Do you think each of you can get back on the podium, maybe you’ll get your win, and just how you feel physically going into tomorrow?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I think the rain really helped everybody.  The only thing was like I have leather gloves, and they were all wet, but my hands are fine.  I’m sure tomorrow when we get in the car, you’re going to go, oh, that hurt.  Like your elbows ‑‑ like the elbows, the only thing you can feel all the time here from racing when you’re turning is your arms are bouncing, like hitting against the chassis.  Really, can we stop bouncing, please?