Montoya Going to IndyCar

Juan Pablo Montoya

With nine races left in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, Juan Pablo Montoya has two wins in 244 starts. (Photo: Getty Images)

Juan Pablo Montoya will return to IndyCar racing next season to drive for Penske Racing, the team announced Monday.

Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1999 CART champion, joins Will Power and Helio Castroneves as teammates.

Montoya became available after Earnhardt Ganassi Racing decided not to renew his contract.  This is his seventh season in NASCAR Sprint Cup.  Kyle Larson will replace Montoya at EGR next season.

The 37-year-old Montoya has two Cup victories in 244 career starts.  His victories came at Sonoma in 2007 and Watkins Glen in 2010.  He finished a career-high eighth in the points in 2009, making the Chase. 

"I don't feel like I wasted seven years in NASCAR,'' Montoya said Monday during a conference call with reporters. "I think it's been a great experience for me. It made me a lot better driver. I learned things that ... if I would have stayed in open-wheel, I would never have learned. We didn't have the success we wanted, but we did win races, we made the Chase.''

Beyond NASCAR, Montoya won 11 Indy car races before moving to Formula One and then NASCAR.

"Juan is a proven winner at all levels of motor sport," car owner Roger Penske said in a statement issued by the team.  "He's won a lot of races and championships, and he has an extremely passionate fan base.  We look forward to building on his successes together and we believe he will be a great addition to Team Penske."

Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing, said Monday that the team does not have any sponsorship for Montoya's car for next season.

Montoya had visited Furniture Row Racing's shop in Denver, Colo., but declined the opportunity to replace Kurt Busch there next season. Montoya said he thought driving for Penske Racing in IndyCar gave him the best chance to win.

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