Juan Pablo Montoya has nowhere to go but up at Belle Isle after finishing last in Indy 500

(Photo courtesy IndyCar)
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Juan Pablo Montoya was on top of the world when he won the Indianapolis 500 last year.

But after this year’s 500 – the 100th running of the iconic race – Montoya was lower than low.

He wrecked about one-third of the way through the Greatest Spectacle In Racing, ending his day prematurely – and finishing an ignominious 33rd in the 33-driver field.

As in last place.

But Montoya won’t let what happened in Indy keep him down. He’s already put Indianapolis in his rearview mirror and is looking forward to not one, but two chances to redeem himself this weekend in the Chevrolet Dual of Detroit.

“It’s good to get right back at it after Indianapolis,” Montoya said. “We certainly didn’t have the best of luck during the month of May.

“That’s why I think it’s good to get after it again. It’s time to move on from Indy.”

Montoya and the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series now head to Detroit for back-to-back, points paying races on Saturday and Sunday.

Montoya has made four starts at Belle Isle. He finished 12th and 13th in 2014 and 10th in both races in 2015 (he also started from the pole in one of the those races and from third position in the other race).

“We had good starts last year in the Verizon Chevy in the Belle Isle races,” Montoya said. “The finishes weren’t where we’d like.

“We were able to lead some laps in the Sunday race (led 35 of the race’s 68 laps), so maybe we can build off that.”

Montoya dropped from third to 10th in the IndyCar standings after his dismal finish at Indianapolis, his worst finish of 2016 – and his only showing outside the top-10 in the first six races.

“We just need to get some positive momentum going,” Montoya said. “It’s really been an up-and-down season, which gets frustrating.”

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III