Remember when Montoya made magical memories in CART with Ganassi? (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya’s initial two-year foray into North American open-wheel racing was a stunning arrival.

The Colombian, loaned out to Target Chip Ganassi Racing from Frank Williams after winning the 1998 Formula 3000 championship, starred from the get-go. His rookie season in CART, he won seven races and the championship.

In 2000, with a completely different Lola-Toyota package after the team switched from the all-conquering Reynard-Honda, Montoya still was frequently the out-and-out fastest driver but often a victim of poor luck and unreliability. But he still had two magical 500-mile race wins, first a the Indianapolis 500 in May and again after a fantastic battle with Michael Andretti at Michigan, a race that featured the aero-assisting Handford Device that created a wealth of passing.

Here are some of the highlights of Montoya’s first two years in open wheel, with the news today he’s coming back to IndyCar in 2014 with Roger Penske.

1999: Target ad: Meet our new driver

1999: Target ad: Teammate Jimmy Vasser gives advice on a new car

1999: Montoya wins his first race at Long Beach

1999: A fantastic pole lap at Detroit, with great sound

1999: Another win at Mid-Ohio

1999: Target ad: Midseason, Montoya well on his way to the title

2000: Indianapolis Motor Speedway video looking at JPM’s rookie win at the 500

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.