No. 2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya
Start: 8th / Finish: 11th / Status: Running / Laps Completed: 90/90/ Laps Led: 9/ Points Position: 12th (-185)
Recap: As has been the case throughout most of the season, Juan Pablo Montoya had a better car than the results showed Sunday afternoon in the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Hawk Performance Chevrolet ran among the leaders in all of the practice sessions but only qualified eighth for Sunday’s race, which left some work to be done for Montoya and the No. 2 team. Several strategies were at work in the early portion of the race which meant that when the caution flag flew on Lap 14 the field got shuffled and Montoya stayed on track to take the race lead. He led for nine laps before heading to pit lane and his first stop of the afternoon. Just prior to the halfway point of the 90-lap race, Montoya had worked his way back to eighth place in the running order. During what was scheduled to be his final stop of the race on Lap 62, Montoya’s chief mechanic and outside front tire changer Vance Welker suffered an injury when the cars of Mikhail Aleshin and Josef Newgarden made contact on pit road and Aleshin’s machine clipped Welker as he was changing the tire on the No. 2 car. Welker was cleared by medical personnel to return to the pits just a few laps after the incident. After returning to pit lane two laps later and falling to 17th place, Montoya gained six spots over the final 25 laps of the race to finish in 11th position.
Quote: “First, I want to say that I’m really glad that Vance Welker (No. 2 car chief mechanic – outside front tire changer) is OK after the incident (in the pits between No. 7 and 21 cars) today. Secondly, the Hawk Performance Chevrolet was good all weekend and it definitely had the speed for a podium finish. For the race, we went with a different strategy and it didn’t work out as well as we would have liked. We went with a different set of (Firestone) red tires that we thought would work well for us during the latter part of the race, but the balance was off after that. We have to keep our heads up and look ahead. We just need to go back and look at things this week and see what we can do differently for Pocono.”