Juan Pablo Montoya will race WEC and Le Mans with DragonSpeed next season

Juan Pablo Montoya WEC
Brian Cleary/Getty Images

Juan Pablo Montoya will race in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2021, joining DragonSpeed in its return to the WEC in the LMP2 category with co-drivers Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley.

After running full time in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship with Acura Team Penske (and winning the 2019 championship), Montoya will join the 10Star DragonSpeed LMP2 after finishing 49th with the American-based team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in September.

“I’m really excited to be joining DragonSpeed for the full WEC season,” Montoya, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, said in a release. “I had an amazing experience with them this year at Le Mans and I’m looking forward to racing again at so many classic venues with such a great group of people.”

Montoya is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (2000, ’15) who also has victories in Formula One and the NASCAR Cup Series. With victories at Indy and the Monaco Grand Prix, Montoya is a 24 Hours of Le Mans victory from completing auto racing’s “Triple Crown” that only Graham Hill has achieved (Fernando Alonso has chased an Indy 500 victory to complete it).

DragonSpeed has class victories in the WEC, European Le Mans Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also has run in the NTT IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 over the past two years, but the team said in a release that it was “shelving” its IndyCar program to focus fully on LMP2 next year.

In addition to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the other five races in the WEC schedule, DragonSpeed also will return Jan. 30-31 to the Rolex 24 at Daytona to run for an LMP2 class victory in the race.

The WEC season will begin March 19 at Sebring International Raceway, where Montoya finished second overall with Cameron and Simon Pagenaud in his final Penske race last weekend.

Montoya becomes the third of four Acura Team Penske drivers to confirm their future plans with the team disbanding after the 2020 season. Helio Castroneves (who will run six IndyCar races) and Dane Cameron (who will remain in an Acura DPi in IMSA) are joining Meyer Shank Racing. It’s yet to be made official, but Ricky Taylor is expected to return to Wayne Taylor Racing, which is taking one of Penske’s Acura slots in 2021.

DragonSpeed will be basing its WEC team at a new location in Spain near the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Hedman and Hanley teamed with Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande to finish 16th overall in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Said Hedman said: “It’s an honor to welcome Juan to the squad. We have a lot to look forward to having seen his contributions on and off track at Le Mans this year.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to continue with DragonSpeed and return to the WEC in 2021,” said Hanley, who made four IndyCar starts, including two Indy 500s, over the past two years. “It’s great to be able to commit to the program early, which will allow plenty of time to tune ourselves in to next year’s new tires and engine changes. With Juan on board and Henrik’s terrific performances in 2020, everything is in place for a successful season.”

Josef Newgarden claims first Indy 500 victory, outdueling Marcus Ericsson in 1-lap shootout

Josef Newgarden Indy 500
Marc Lebryk/USA TODAY Sports Images

INDIANAPOLIS — Josef Newgarden won the 107th Indy 500 with a last-lap pass of Marcus Ericsson, giving team owner Roger Penske his 19th victory in the race but his first as the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In a one-lap shootout after the third red flag in the final 20 laps, Newgarden grabbed the lead from Ericsson on the backstretch and then weaved his way to the checkered flag (mimicking the same moves Ericsson had made to win at the Brickyard last year).

After Newgarden finally got his first Indy 500 victory on his 12th attempt the two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion climbed out of his No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, squeezed through a hole in the catchfence and ran into the stands to celebrate with fans.

The race was stopped three times for 37 minutes for three crashes, including a terrifying wreck involving Felix Rosenqvist and Kyle Kirkwood that sent a tire over the Turn 2 catchfence.

It had been relatively clean with only two yellow flags until the final 50 miles.

After spending the first half of the race trading the lead, pole-sitter Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay (who started second) collided while exiting the pits under yellow on Lap 94.

Leaving the pits after leading 24 laps, VeeKay lost control under acceleration. He looped his No. 21 Dallara-Chevy into the No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Palou that already had left the first pit stall after completing its stop,

Palou, who had led 36 laps. stayed on the lead lap despite multiple stops to replace the front wing but restarted in 28th.

“What an absolute legend trying to win it,” Palou sarcastically radioed his team about VeeKay, who received a drive-through penalty for the contact when the race returned to green.

The incident happened after the first yellow flag on Lap 92 after Sting Ray Robb slapped the outside wall in Turn 1 after battling with Graham Rahal.

Robb put the blame on Rahal in an interview with NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch.

“I think I just need to pay more attention to the stereotypes of the series,” Robb said. “Pay attention to who I’m racing, and that was just way too aggressive of a move I thought. But yeah, I guess we’re in the wall and not much further to say.”

An already miserable May for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing continued before the race even started.

Rahal, who failed to qualify but started his 16th consecutive Indy 500 in place of the injured Stefan Wilson, was unable to start his No. 24 for Dreyer & Reinbold/Cusick Motorsports.

After two aborted attempts at firing the car’s Chevrolet engine, team members pushed Rahal behind the pit wall and swapped out a dead battery. Rahal finally joined the field on the third lap, but he wouldn’t finish last.

RLL teammate Katherine Legge, who had been involved in the Monday practice crash that fractured Wilson’s back, struggled with the handling on her No. 44 Dallara-Honda and nearly spun while exiting the pits after her first stop on Lap 35.

Legge exited her car about 30 laps later as her team began working to fix a steering problem.