Juan-Pablo Montoya left NASCAR on a relative low last year, with his Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (then Earnhardt Ganassi) contract not being renewed.
Roger Penske picked him up in due time, but not to race ovals, but for Montoya to return to open-wheel racing.
Montoya is returning to NASCAR though for two 2014 dates, and it’s not the two you’d expect — this weekend at Michigan International Speedway and then again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Montoya’s come close to a win multiple times.
Montoya’s 2014 Return to NASCAR
It’s a little surprising Penske would bring Montoya back for two oval dates and omit the road courses where Montoya has actually won. But this may have to do with available chassis. It’s safe to assume that Penske and every other Sprint Cup shop has a much larger stockpile of oval chassis then the those that would be run at the road courses.
But to add a little more to the rumor fire, could these two dates be used at all for Penske to see if he can handle running three teams, say for a yet-to-be-resigned Carl Edwards?
It’s definitely a stretch, but could Penske Racing be using Montoya as a bit of a test-bed to see if the shop can handle three full-time Sprint Cup teams? Probably not, but I could see it being a possibility. Ford wants to keep Carl Edwards in the family. If he were to leave Roush Fenway Racing and stay in a Ford, you’re talking Penske, or possibly Richard Petty Motorsports.
Neither seem to be ready to take on another team, but just thinking out loud.