AVONDALE, La. (April 11, 2015) – Faced with starting deep in the field for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana after spinning out early during a wet Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying session, points leader Juan Pablo Montoya benefitted from a rainout that promoted him to the front of the grid.
Due to the cancelled session, the starting grid for the April 12 race at NOLA Motorsports Park will be set by entrant points, per INDYCAR rules. Since Montoya won the only race thus far in 2015 – the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29 – he will start up front for the debut event on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn permanent road course outside New Orleans. The driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was well aware of his good fortune.
“It kind of gave me a little smile,” Montoya said of the rainout, “but it is what it is. … We were lucky, but at the same time, that’s why you lead the points. When you have days like this, it will pay off.”
Will Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Montoya’s teammate, will start on the outside of Row 1 in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet by virtue of his second-place St. Petersburg finish. Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) and Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) will occupy Row 2. When they take the green flag for the race, it will mark the 296th career start for Kanaan and 297th for Castroneves, with Kanaan also extending his Indy car record for consecutive starts to 235.
Fueled by the first victory of the season and strong starting positions among his teammates, Montoya feels prepared for the 75-lap race.
“I’m normally pretty good in the rain,” the 39-year-old Colombian and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner said. “Today we struggled, but it is what it is. We think we know what happened and we made a change based on how you’re thinking you’re going to be good here and it wasn’t. … I felt we had a pretty good car (in practice). I still feel like to win the race we need a tenth or two (of a second), to be a little quicker. We’re just going to make some changes for tomorrow and we’ll see what happens with the weather. That’s the big question mark.”