As much as he has tried to turn things around, Juan Pablo Montoya’s nosedive continues in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Montoya recorded his third 20th-place finish in the last four races in Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.
After winning the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Florida, Montoya has spiraled down, down and down some more.
He was third in the standings after the Angie’s List Grand Prix. Two weeks later, after finishing an embarrassing 33rd in the Indianapolis 500 – and one year after he won the Greatest Spectacle In Racing – Montoya plummeted seven spots to 10th.
While he improved to sixth after Belle Isle Race 1, one day later he dropped again to ninth after Belle Isle Race 2. He dropped to 11th after last week’s race at Iowa and is now 13th after Toronto.
And with five races now left on the schedule, Montoya (279 points) finds himself a massive 153 points behind points leader and Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud (432 points).
Granted, JPM is only 14 points out of 10th place (Carlos Munoz, 293 points). But with less than one third of the season remaining now, any championship hopes are all but gone.
That is, unless he goes on a Will Power-like run. Power, who won Sunday’s race, has now won three of the last four races (and the fourth race he finished runner-up).
“Yeah, it’s terrible,” Montoya said after Sunday’s race. “On Friday, I made a mistake and went into the wall, so we got behind.
“(Saturday) morning we had a misfire with the engine and didn’t do any laps before qualifying. We didn’t qualify as well as we could. We knew we had a good race car though.
“The DeVilbiss Chevy was really good. I passed a lot of people and had a lot of fun. I thought I had an easy podium if not more.”
But then Montoya was involved in an incident that essentially ended his day – and potentially any last hope to rebound for the championship that he just barely lost in last year’s season finale to Scott Dixon.
“We missed a pit call by about two seconds,” Montoya said of the latter stage of Sunday’s race. “I started at the back.
“I was running with the No. 28 (Ryan Hunter-Reay) there late and went to turn with him, but the No. 41 (Jack Hawksworth) was in the wall and there was nowhere to go.
“It seems like every weekend there is something, and it’s getting really old really fast.”