Juan Pablo Montoya is talking up his championship chances and rightly so. Sunday’s victory at Pocono was well deserved and the culmination of several strong performances. Yet with Indycar at it’s most competitive for years, how realistic is Montoya for the title? Fairly is the answer.
The former Indy 500 winner has returned with a wiser head. The signature natural pace and aggressive overtaking remain but are now blended with the ability to view the bigger championship picture. His battle with Jack Hawksworth in Houston typifies that.
In Penske Montoya has a team that consistently delivers fast cars and smart strategy. They have contrived to lose a number of championships in recent years but there is no doubting they are the team to beat.
There are of course some questions marks. Team-mate Power remains arguably the fastest racer in the series and is quick on any track. Montoya has struggled to match Power’s pace on street circuits which make up 4 of the remaining 7 races. And Montoya is untested on short ovals.
Should Montoya fall short his return will still go down as a successful one. To be in contention for the championship in his first year back highlights just how good JPM continues to be.