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Juan Pablo Montoya to race in first 24 Hours of Le Mans, looks to capture motorsports’ triple crown

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Juan Pablo Montoya has a pretty full racing resume as it is:

* two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (2000 and 2015)

* won 10 races in two seasons in CART, including the 1999 championship

* raced seven-plus seasons, had four top-10 finishes in the Daytona 500, and won two races in NASCAR Cup and one in the Xfinity Series

* earned five wins in 53 starts in the Verizon IndyCar Series

* won seven races in 94 starts in Formula One

* won 3 races in 8 starts in the Rolex Grand-Am Series

But there’s always been something missing for the now 42-year-old native of Bogota, Colombia, who is in his first full season of racing for Acura Team Penske in the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship.

That one missing part is to race – and he hopes to win – the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

He’ll finally get that chance June 16-17 this year in a one-off start for United Autosports, joining Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer behind the wheel of the No. 32 LMP2 Ligier JS P217 in the internationally renowned endurance race.

Even though this will be his first attempt in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, he has a pretty good record in other first-time tries. He’s the only driver in motorsports history to win the Indy 500, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and CART championship in his first try.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to experience Le Mans, and I’m looking forward to joining United Autosports after they had such a strong finish at Le Mans last year,” Montoya said in a media release.

He has added incentive: a win would give him the unofficial triple crown of motorsports, having previously won the first two legs: the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula One and the Indianapolis 500 in IndyCar. If Montoya does win at Le Mans, he’ll be in rather select company: legendary racer Graham Hill as the only triple crown winner to date.

“I’ve always watched the race, so I’m very happy to finally be part of it,” Montoya said. “Hopefully we can have a shot at a win.”

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March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter