Montoya Enjoying Return To IndyCar

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Juan Pablo Montoya finished third in Saturday's Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600, his best finish since returning to open-wheel racing this year. (Al Steinberg Photo)
Juan Pablo Montoya finished third in Saturday's Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600, his best finish since returning to open-wheel racing this year. (Al Steinberg Photo)
Juan Pablo Montoya finished third in Saturday’s Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600, his best finish since returning to open-wheel racing this year. (Al Steinberg Photo)

FORT WORTH, Texas – Juan Pablo Montoya breezed into the media center after 248 grueling laps on a sweltering evening seemingly without a concern.

His broad smile and rapport during the lively Q&A summed up the third-place performance June 7 in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway and his current station in motorsports.

“I’m happy,” said Montoya, who at 38 years old returned this year to Indy car racing after a 13-year absence. “I had a hell of a race.”

Montoya, who led 13 laps, flirted with the thought of firing the six-shooters in Victory Circle following a lap 246 restart. The No. 2 Verizon Team Penske car was caught, however, by Will Power in the final few hundred yards and he finished .5571 of a second behind winner Ed Carpenter and a nose short of his Team Penske teammate.

“It would have been nice to come out of here with a victory because I think we had a car that could have done that, but it was a lot of fun and I think a win is just around the corner,” said Montoya, who started a season-high fourth.

It was Montoya’s first Verizon IndyCar Series podium and his best Indy car finish since Oct. 10, 2000, at Houston, when he was runner-up to Jimmy Vasser. In open-wheel racing overall, runner-up in the 2006 Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco was his most recent best finish.