Report: Juan Pablo Montoya may do ‘double’ in 2015


He never tried it during his seven-season stint in NASCAR, but now that he’s back full-time in IndyCar, Juan Pablo Montoya is thinking about doing the “double” next season.

Partly inspired by what Kurt Busch did in May, racing in the Indianapolis 500 and then later that night in NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, Montoya is going to try and sell team owner Roger Penske on the idea for next year, according to’s Dustin Long.

“If (Penske) wanted me to do it, then I probably would do it,” Montoya said, according to Long. “(Running both races in the same day) would be cool. But I don’t want to force (Penske) into anything.”

Although he’s full-time now on the Verizon IndyCar Series, the 2000 Indianapolis 500-winning Montoya has competed in two Sprint Cup races this season, finishing 18th at Michigan and 23rd last Sunday in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.

“The hard thing is … to be honest, we did one day of testing at Nashville,” Montoya said. “We went to Michigan and we struggled all weekend with the rear of the car. We struggled in qualifying being on the splitter. In the race we were the other way; we were so loose. We unloaded in Indy the same way – like sideways.”

Montoya, who finished fifth in this year’s Indy 500, is ready to embrace a full 1,100 miles in the same day.

Who knows, he may even share an airplane flight from Indy to Charlotte with Busch, who is reportedly considering doing the double once again in 2015.

“Physically I don’t think it would be that hard, to be honest with you,” Montoya said. “If you want to do it properly, it would be a lot of fun. … There are a lot of possibilities if you think about it.”

Thus far, only four drivers have tried the double. Busch was the most recent, preceded by John Andretti, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon.

Of the four, Stewart is the only one to finish both races on the same day, having done so in 2001.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.