Juan Pablo Montoya takes on new role: mechanic for his son

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At 42 years old, it’s no secret that Juan Pablo Montoya is in the twilight of a career that has seen him win some of racing’s biggest events.

So what’s next for the Colombian driver when he finally hangs up his firesuit?

Would you believe mechanic?

But there’s a caveat with that.

Montoya is serving as mechanic for 12-year-old son Sebastian’s rising effort in the go-kart world – and he’s loving every minute of it.

Veteran motorsports writer Godwin Kelly had a great story about father and son Montoya’s exploits in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

While JPM will race full-time in the IMSA Series for Team Penske this season, he’s also playing the key role in his son’s development of potentially following in his father’s footsteps and racing shoes.

The elder Montoya has a stellar resume that includes two wins in the Indianapolis 500, seven wins in Formula One and three victories at the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona.

He’s back at Daytona International Speedway this week as Sebastian’s go-to guy when it comes to servicing the car and keeping it running in tip-top shape. And even though Juan Pablo downplays his role, he’s obviously taught Sebastian well — not to mention make his go-kart one of the best in the field.

Daytona KartWeek concluded today and Sebastian has made both his name and his pedigree known. He finished third in his first race Friday, was second in the half-mile sprint course and then won the day’s final race.

“Some dads and sons go fishing,” Sebastian told Kelly and the News-Journal. “For us, it’s go-karting. This is fun.”

Added Juan Pablo, “Sebastian has been racing about five years. I’m here as his mechanic. I do everything. Sometimes, when we come with a big team, he has his own mechanic, but I like wrenching. We work good together. We are competitive this way.”

Sebastian spent much of last season racing go-karts in Europe under his father’s expert tutelage.

“I put him in these tough situations, always,” Montoya told the N-J with a smile on his face and a glint in his eye. “I don’t make his life easy. Last year was a good learning year for him, and this year should be better for Sebastian.”

While father and son were due to depart Daytona Saturday evening, JPM won’t be away long: he returns to DIS on Thursday to prepare for next weekend’s Roar Before the 24, followed by the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona three weeks later.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.