(Getty Images)

With championship unlikely, Montoya on recent performance nosedive: ‘It’s getting really old fast’

1 Comment

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.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).