FORT WORTH – He doesn’t recall much about that week.
You can forgive him for that, it was 15 years and three installments of Mission: Impossible films ago.
Besides, once you win your first Indianapolis 500 at the age of 24, nothing in the week that follows could leave much of a lasting impression. Unless…
“To tell you the truth I don’t even remember,” said Juan Pablo Montoya, winner of the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 and not so long ago, the 84th running in 2000.
“The only thing I remember, I went to do (David) Letterman and I threw the first pitch at the Yankees’ game and I sucked at it.”
What will he remember about this week, 15 years from now?
There’s no Letterman. His win came four days too late for that.
After the initial three hours, will he remember any of the 13, seven-minute post-race interviews conducted with TV stations from seven U.S. cities and multiple countries and languages?
Will he remember the 7:15 a.m. interview on Monday with SiriusXM’s “Morning Drive with Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone?”
Or the 8:30 a.m. RACER Magazine cover shoot on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s frontstretch and the 13 media obligations that followed?
What about Tuesday in New York City, 103 miles from a track IndyCar will visit this year?
There was Good Morning America at 7:45 a.m. ET, then Telemundo, USA Today and lunch with Forbes, all before noon.
Will he have any memory of apologizing to Rich Eisen at 12:30 p.m. for his hoarse voice, a result of screaming in his helmet as his No. 2 Chevrolet soared into Turn 1 as 200,000 fans screamed for him?
On Wednesday at 6:32 p.m, CT, he stood surrounded by media members at Joe T. Garcia’s restaurant in Forth Worth following his grand entrance with a 3,000-pound longhorn steer named Rojo.
This is what Montoya remembered of the preceding three days.
“In a way, (it’s been) really cool and in way, hell,” Montoya said in his hoarse voice. “Honestly, you think you’re going to win the race and you’re going to celebrate.”
His morning had started early. His wife, Connie, woke him in their room at the Ink48 hotel, believing their 6 a.m. wake up call and breakfast had arrived.
Montoya rose, turned on the lights and opened the door. No breakfast. A clock informed Montoya it was 4:30 a.m.
He went back to bed.
A little more than 12 hours later, after ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, more interviews and a delay on the airport tarmac that left him two hours late, the 2015 winner of the Indianapolis 500 was finally honored in Fort Worth.
A race in Detroit and even more questions about the preceding week awaited. But now, at 7:10 p.m. CT, Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage and others toast Montoya with half-filled plastic cups of white liquid.
“Tastes like Sunday, doesn’t it?” Gossage asks.
“It tastes like milk.”