Montoya increases points lead, but not happy with how it happened (VIDEO)

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With closest points challenger Will Power being involved in a late-race wreck in Saturday’s MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway, Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth to extend his points lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Montoya came into Saturday’s race with a 27-point lead over Power. But with the latter’s wreck with Takuma Sato, Montoya now leads Power, who remains in second, by 46 points.

Scott Dixon remains in third, but closes the gap to just a 49-point spread between himself and Montoya. And race-winner Graham Rahal goes from 91 points behind Montoya to 73 points in arrears.

But Montoya also was not happy with the way Saturday’s race played out at the Fontana, Calif., track, particularly the tight pack racing at speeds well over 200 mph.

“Honestly, I felt it was a little too stupid,” Montoya said. “I talked to IndyCar yesterday and we shouldn’t be racing like this.”

Two late-race wrecks – the first involving Will Power and Takuma Sato, and the second involving Montoya, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe – didn’t have to happen, Montoya said.

“This is full pack racing and sooner or later, somebody’s going to get hurt,” he said. “We don’t need to be doing this.”

Even though Hunter-Reay’s car bounced off Montoya’s car in the final wreck of the race, the latter’s didn’t suffer any damage and he was able to motor on to his fourth-place showing.

“We have a hell of a show and everything,” Montoya said. “But we did what we had to do.

“We had a hell of a car. When there was one crash (Power/Sato) and another crash (Hunter-Reay/Briscoe), my only goal was to finish ahead of (Scott) Dixon and we did that. It’s good.“

As for Graham Rahal, who was essentially the beneficiary of the final wreck, as he won the race under caution, Montoya had no quibble.

“He drove a hell of a race,” Montoya said of Rahal. “He deserves the win.”

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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.