Friday, May 19, 2017

Indy 500 Preview: The F1 Champion VS the 2X Indy 500 Champion

By Chanda Healton

Juan Pablo Montoya: What do you think of when you hear his name? If you are an old school Cart/IndyCar fan you may remember a man who led 167 of the 200 laps in the 2000 Indy 500 and won by over 7 seconds, a man who won the the 1999 CART championship and then, as so many great drivers did back then, left for F1. If you watch Formula One you may vaguely  remember a guy who won 7 races sometime in the years between 2001 and 2006. And if you are a NASCAR fan, this is your top memory of him:

Juan Vs Jet Dryer Daytona 2012 
And maybe the 2 races he won between 2006-2013. But the fact is, Montoya has won 2 Indy 500s and could very well make it 3 this year as he is driving a 5th Penske entry. What do fans think? Some have good thoughts, others not so good. We asked our loyal fans in the Facebook Group Elite IndyCar: 
Image result for juan pablo montoya 2000 Indy 500 win
First win 2000

Juan Pablo Montoya: Do you like or dislike him? What do you know about him?Will he race again full time, if so what series?Can he win his 3rd Indy 500 this year? If you say no then where do you think he will finish?

Here is what they said:

Ted Nesbitt: "I loved the guy when he first came into IndyCar, pulled for him while at F1. Pulled for him in NASCAR, but he's been a tad different since his return. Still a great driver of course, but his personality around the tracks last season was sorely lacking. He had a full on grump going whenever I encountered him (and there were many times) last season. In Toronto, he was dismissive of fans, wasn't engaging for the Drivers Field Autograph session (which I coordinated), and did not seem to be enjoying himself in general. If he was like that with his Team, little wonder he's only running a couple races for The Capt. Get with it or retire JPM, the sport is about the fans as much as it is the drivers."

Andy Mantai "I question whether JPM's physical condition will allow him to be competitive all day."

Danilo Nardini Mancini "I'm a big fan A very versatile race driver with a temper. Love his personality There's a small chance to see him at IndyCar next year, but I don't think so.I don't think he can win this year. He will finish on top 15"

Keith Waye: "I don't like Montoya as a person. He is a F-1 winner, we NASCAR winner, IndyCar winner and Champion and is a two time Indy 500 winner. He won't run IndyCar full time. He will race sports cars for Penske."

Michael Harvey:" I love Juan Pablo Montoya as a driver. Started watching him in his early Indycar days and then when he came to NASCAR I was thrilled. I know that he is one of the most skilled and diverse drivers to ever get behind the wheel of a racecar. Anything he gets in he does as good as he can. I feel like he will be back in Indycar eventually Full-Time or he will take a spot in the Tudor Series for Chip and they will reunite. I believe Juan has a good shot to claim his 3rd 500. As always the Penske cars are bad fast and he can certainly wheel that car to the front."

Terri Rogers Zumbrook: I think JPM gets a bad rap from some because he's not as "friendly" as other drivers. When I see him with his kids at fan events it occurs to me that he is very much the introvert and Interacting with people is not comfortable for him. Indycar fans have the greatest access to the drivers of any series. They also have autograph sessions or fans And JPM attends his obligations. My favorite quote regarding JPM comes from Paul Tracy. He said something like , 'JPM will always give you room on the track, just not enough.'
Image result for juan pablo montoya 2017
2015 win #2 

With qualifying this weekend, we will just have to wait an see if he can win number 3 this year. 

That brings us to our next driver, Fernando Alonso.  I confess, I don't know a lot about F1. It's a very hard sport t follow in the USA if yu enjoy sleeping in! However from what I have seen of him in practice this week, I believe he could go back to F1 with the Borg-Warner trophy and a ROTY title! What do others think? Let's find out!! We asked:
Fernando Alonso What do you know about him and his Formula 1 career? Can he handle 200 laps on an Oval? (Remember Formula one does not use ovals so many of the European drivers have never driven them) Do you think we may see him drive IndyCar full time in the future? Where do you think he will finish in the race?Will he take ROTY? Would it be bad for IndyCar if he won the 500 or good for it?

Michael Harvey I have never watched F1 that much but I do know who Fernando is and his past success in that series. I feel there will be a HUGE learning curve for sure but if he is willing to take the chance and learn I feel he will do OK. I honstly never see Fernando doing more than just this Indy 500 and possibly a few more if he likes it. I think he will eventually get a better F1 ride and he will get back to where he once was. The only chance I see for him to try a full Indycar season is if McLaren comes to the Series Full Time with Solid Backing. I say he will at least finish in the Top 20 unless a problem occurs. I don't think he will be the Rookie of the Race. I see that going to Ed Jones or possibly Harvey. It would be huge news for sure if he won the 500. The equivalent to that would be when Mario Andretti won the Daytona 500. Unlike with NASCAR I feel It would be perceived as a good thing. It is no secret Indycar is slowly falling off and if Fernando wins it could really reel in some new fans.
Image result for Fernando Alonso Indy 500
Fernando Alonso

Brenan Conroy: Alonso is a two time champion, did his best from early on, has had some not great cars and taken them WAY higher than he should have, like the 2012 Ferrari. I think he can. Monza is a hell of a track and the amount of g-forces F1 cars have to make from braking and some of the turns particularly there is something that shouldn't be ignored He may run the 500 a few times, but no way will he run full time. I never can pick who will finish high in the 500. I wouldn't be shocked if he got a top 10 though. He will definitely win ROTY. I think it would be both good and bad for IndyCar if he won. Good in that it will give the series even more international exposure, and potentially even more drivers from F1/Rally. Bad in that it may perpetuate once again that Indy isn't up to F1 standards.

Keith Waye: Alonso is a 2 time F-1 World champion. He has over 30 F-1 wins. He can handle the oval, he did over 140 laps in his test a few weeks ago. I don't see him doing Indy cars full time next season. I think he will finish in the top 15 at Indy. Yes I think he will get Rookie of the year. If he wins yes it will be world sports news. It won't hurt IndyCar with world news if he wins

Danilo Nardini Mancini; "He's very good, one of the best on the grid. Twice champion beating Michael Schumacher, the best F1 driver ever
He can handle. Any F1 driver can handle honestly, they got a really nice physics preparation
I don't think he can win, but he's very unpredictable maybe a Top 15 He will win ROTY
Honestly, can be bad, we wil see a lot of bullshit coming out of some fans,"

And what other F1 drivers would our fans like to see in the Indy 500? My personal vote goes to Nico Rosberg!
Danilo Nardini Mancini; "Any of the top drivers plus Felipe Massa."

Michael Harvey: "I would like to see Räikkönen and of course Vettel. Kimi has tried his hand at ovals when he ventured into NASCAR before so I could see that being a possibility. Vettel is just a dream. It would be cool to see him in a Indycar just my personal opinion."

Brenan Conroy: I'd love to see Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, and Kimi Raikkonen give them shots. Kimi because he's already pretty st as a jack of all trades driver, Daniel because he's so affable and also a HUGE fan of American racing (he runs the #3 in F1 in honor of Dale Earnhardt), and Sergio because he grew up in American racing, and in 2004 ran Skip Barber cars.

So there you have it. two more drivers who could take IndyCar by storm. Tune in next week as we talk about my personal favorite driver, Sage Karam! 

Leave us a comment on who you think will win the Indy 500! And don't forget to Like us on Facebook, and  Follow us on twitter! Happy qualifying everyone!

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