Montoya qualifies, will race SundayJuan Pablo Montoya - Michigan International Speedway: Day 1
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Juan Pablo Montoya turns laps at Michigan International Speedway. Montoya will make his first start of the season Sunday.

By Dominic Aragon Reporter
June 14, 2014


After a seven month absence from NASCAR, Juan Pablo Montoya will race in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Montoya, running the No. 12 car for Team Penske, will make his first start of the season, qualifying 28th for Sunday’s race.

“It’s exciting to be back, especially with Team Penske and the SKF Ford,” Montoya said to the media early Friday.

Montoya makes his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series return to a track where he had success when he ran full-time. In 14 starts at MIS, Montoya has scored two top-five and six top-10 finishes, including a sixth place showing in last August’s race.

Montoya is paired with crew chief Greg Erwin, a five-time winner at the Cup level with Greg Biffle. Ewin most recently served as interim crew chief for Brad Keselowski at Phoenix in March, helping the No. 2 team to a third place finish.

“Our goal here, I think, is we’ll take it as it comes this weekend, but the way really look at it is it’s really good preparation for the Brickyard,” said Montoya, who will attempt the Brickyard 400 next month. “[Crew chief Greg Erwin has] knows what it takes to get it done.”

Since Montoya only has two planned races this year, the primary focus isn’t to maximize points or climb in owner’s points, but rather capture the checkered flag.

“For me, it’s more of an opportunity to maybe win a race or two here,” Montoya said. “This year, we’ve got two really good shots. This is probably one of the best tracks for the Fords.