Montoya’s Indy 500 livery, sponsor revealed in Bristol

Photo: IndyCar
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New Team Penske partner Fitzgerald Glider Kits will be Juan Pablo Montoya’s primary sponsor for the month of May in the Verizon IndyCar Series, at both the INDYCAR Grand Prix and 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The new partner makes its first appearance on an IndyCar with Josef Newgarden’s No. 2 Chevrolet this weekend at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

This also, strangely, marks the first 2017 livery reveal of an extra car for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

Meanwhile the full Fitzgerald reveal has taken place at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series are racing. A picture the reveal of Montoya’s car this morning is below, from NASCAR Talk’s Dustin Long:

The release from Team Penske is below:

Team Penske announced today that Fitzgerald Glider Kits, North America’s leading truck glider kit assembler, is building on its partnership with the team in NASCAR to become a primary sponsor for three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2017, including the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28 with driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya will be pursuing his third Indianapolis 500 victory after winning the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2015 while driving for Team Penske.

Fitzgerald will also serve as the primary sponsor on the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet driven by Montoya at the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 13. The Fitzgerald livery is making its debut this weekend on the No. 2 Chevy driven by Josef Newgarden in the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Today’s announcement coincides with the official unveiling of the No. 2 Fitzgerald Ford Fusion that Brad Keselowski will race in two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) events later this season – the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway on May 7 and the fall race at Richmond International Raceway on September 9.

“Team Penske is proud to work with Fitzgerald and to have the company build on its partnership with us in NASCAR to now expand to INDYCAR, it certainly shows their commitment to motorsports and to our organization,” said Roger Penske. “This is a great opportunity for our team and Fitzgerald to team up for the greatest motorsport event in the world – the Indianapolis 500. With a two-time Indy 500 winner and proven champion in Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel, it definitely could be a special month of May at Indianapolis for Fitzgerald and our other partners.”

Fitzgerald is also a primary sponsor for Team Penske’s NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) team for three events – including this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway – and has a partnership with Brad Keselowski Racing and the No. 19 Ford F-150 driven by Austin Cindric in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS).

“To be a part of the Indianapolis 500, and to do it with Team Penske, is going to be so exciting for our employees and customers,” said Fitzgerald founder Tommy Fitzgerald Sr. “What makes it even more special is getting a chance to work with a driver like Juan who has such an incredible resume and track record at Indy. We are really excited to showcase the Fitzgerald brand to the fans of INDYCAR while still being a big part of Team Penske’s NASCAR operation. We’re looking forward to building on this momentum for the rest of the year.”

Montoya is one of the most decorated drivers in motorsports history. In addition to his two Indianapolis 500 wins, Montoya has also earned victories in Formula 1, MENCS, NXS and sports car racing, including three triumphs in the prestigious Daytona 24 Hour race. Montoya captured the INDYCAR Championship in 1999 during his rookie season on the strength of seven wins. His 2015 victory at the Brickyard represented the record 16th win for Roger Penske’s team in the Indianapolis 500. Montoya’s first Indy 500 win came in 2000.

The INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is set for Saturday, May 13 at 3:30 pm ET. The 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May 28 beginning at 11 am ET. Both races will be seen live on ABC.

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2