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

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.