Traffic is always a challenge to deal with at the Milwaukee Mile, and so it went again for Juan Pablo Montoya in today’s ABC Supply Wisconsin 250.
Montoya last pitted on Lap 192 of 250, and moved past Josef Newgarden for second behind Team Penske teammate Will Power with less than 50 laps to go.
As Power and Montoya started to encounter the backmarkers, Power’s advantage dwindled to less than one second. But over the final stretch, the Australian was able to more deftly move past the slower cars.
Meanwhile, Montoya couldn’t make any progress in the traffic and eventually had to settle for runner-up honors behind Power, who claimed his third win of the season.
“It’s just hard. These cars are so aero-sensitive and here, it’s just one line, so you’re kinda screwed,” Montoya told NBCSN after his fourth podium finish of the year. “We struggled with our stability early in the race, but everybody on this PPG Chevy today did a good job.”
Montoya certainly put on a veteran performance, but he also may have gotten a bit of luck as well.
On Lap 60, he came in for his first stop but entered his pit box sideways and hit a left front tire. However, instead of penalizing Montoya, Race Control merely gave the Colombian a warning.
Afterwards, Montoya recognized his error in the pits.
“I just came in a little too hot,” he said.
But Montoya managed to recover and also stay mathematically in the hunt for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship – albeit at a sizable gap of 114 points behind Power with two races to go.
Power’s win and Helio Castroneves’ 11th-place finish helped Power push his lead to 39 points over the Brazilian. When asked which one of his Penske teammates had the edge, Montoya tried not to choose sides.
“[Power] deserves it, but Helio deserves the championship as well,” he said. “Both have been really close and both have had a bit of heartbreak.
“It’s hard to say which one, but you know, Will’s doing what it takes right now to win the championship.”