TIME racing

Juan’s World! Montoya Beats Power for Second Indy 500 Win

IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya takes the checkered flag to win the running of the the Greatest Spectacle in Racing the 99th Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis on May 24th, 2015.
Dan Sanger—AP IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya takes the checkered flag to win the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, 2015

"I'm loving racing right now," Montoya said

(INDIANAPOLIS) — His career at a crossroads, his confidence shot, Juan Pablo Montoya received a lifeline from The Captain.

Roger Penske called the driver in late 2013, when Montoya found himself without a job after seven frustrating seasons in NASCAR that had turned one of the baddest drivers on the planet into a struggling also-ran.

The catch? Penske’s offer was a return to Indy cars, which Montoya had left behind years ago. The Colombian jumped at the opportunity and cashed in on it Sunday with his second Indianapolis 500 victory.

The first one was 15 years ago and a stepping stone to Formula One.

The second one came for a 39-year-old man who proved JPM is back.

In a moment of sincerity following his win, flanked by Team Penske President Tim Cindric, Montoya briefly suggested how much this one meant to him.

“I’m glad I am proving them right, that they made the right choice,” he said, pausing and lowering his eyes. “I’m loving racing right now.”

Oh, that was evident for two weeks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Montoya confidently boasted to his three teammates that he’d win the race.

On Sunday, he twice drove from the back of the field and fearlessly charged into the final few laps as the leader in a race where few wanted to be out front with the checkered flag looming, and held off teammate Will Power.

That 2000 victory was easy, he’s always said so, and when a driver leads 167 of the 200 laps, it clearly was a relaxed Sunday drive.

Win No. 2 was a battle from the very beginning. Montoya started 15th but an accident on the first lap brought out the caution and Montoya was hit from behind by Simona de Silvestro under yellow. He had to pit to repair the damage and restarted second-to-last in the field.

After working his way back through the field, he was penalized for running over his air hose during a pit stop – and again was sent deep into the pack.

“Montoya coming from all the way in the back – I’ll tell you, you give that guy the bit and put it in his mouth … he doesn’t give up,” Penske said.

His victory gave Penske his 16th Indianapolis 500 win, and first since Helio Castroneves in 2009. Penske also joined Chip Ganassi as the only owners to win the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year. Ganassi did it in 2010; Joey Logano won the Daytona 500 for Penske in February.

The 15 years between Indy 500 victories are a record for a driver, surpassing A.J. Foyt, who needed 10 years between his third and fourth wins. That first win for Montoya? It came when he drove for Ganassi.

This victory was almost certainly going to go to a Team Penske or Chip Ganassi Racing driver. With a combined nine cars in the field, the two owners showed over the last two weeks that their organizations are head-and-shoulders above the competition and Indianapolis is their own personal playground.

Penske and Ganassi drivers led the majority of the laps on Sunday – 193 of the 200 – and turned the final restart with 15 laps to go into a three-car thriller between Penske teammates Montoya and Power, and Ganassi driver Scott Dixon.

Power finished second and Ganassi driver Charlie Kimball was third, ahead of teammate Dixon. The two team owners embraced on pit road as Montoya headed to grab his bottle of milk. Later, as Montoya began the traditional victory lap around the 2.5-mile track in a convertible, Ganassi stopped the car to give Montoya a hug, smile and thumbs up.

“We’re still good friends. He made a business decision and that’s what it was,” Montoya said of his former boss. “He brought his A-game, and we did as well.”

It was thought that the leader on the final lap would be a sitting duck, but Montoya didn’t care as he charged past Power with three laps remaining and stayed out front when it counted.

“Montoya got that last run and maybe I was a bit nice to him into (turn) 1 and lifted,” said Power. “That was some serious racing there, a lot of fun.”

Montoya, sometimes a surly and scowling veteran, grinned ear-to-ear Sunday as he reveled in his return to relevance. He’s the IndyCar Series points leader and now has two wins this season.

“This is what racing in IndyCar is all about – awesome racing all the way down to the wire,” said Montoya, who won just two Sprint Cup Series races in seven seasons driving for Ganassi in NASCAR.

Montoya led just nine total laps – far fewer than the race-high 84 by pole-sitter Dixon – but he only had to be out front for the one that mattered.

Chevrolet, which has dominated both the entire month at Indianapolis and this IndyCar season, took the top four spots and eight of 10. Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti finished fifth and sixth to represent Honda, which grossly underperformed the entire month in the speedway debut of the new aerokits.

The body work designs by the two manufacturers have been under scrutiny since three cars – all Chevys – went airborne during practice last week. The driver James Hinchcliffe suffered a life-threatening leg injury in an unrelated crash and he has been hospitalized since Monday.

With a genuine concern about cars taking flight lingering over the race, IndyCar wasn’t sure that a quick fix a week ago had truly solved the problem.

But, the race had no issues aside from typical racing accidents, including one that gave Sebastian Saavedra a contusion to his foot. There were some pit road incidents involving crew members, and one of Dale Coyne Racing’s crew members went to a local hospital with an ankle injury after he was struck by James Davison during pit stops.

Castroneves, one of the drivers to go airborne last week, said the final 15 laps of racing was too dangerous.

“I’d rather go airborne than get to the last 15 laps of this race just to see the level of aggressiveness,” he said. “I am not happy with these guys. I don’t care if they crash each other they can go ahead and hurt themselves, but when they put me into that scenario that is when I get upset.”

TIME Auto Racing

Idris Elba Proves He Can Drive Like James Bond

The actor broke a 1927 record in the U.K. for the "flying mile"

Actor Idris Elba broke a nearly 90-year speed record in the U.K. last weekend when he averaged more than 180 miles per hour during a one-mile stretch.

The Luther star was in the driver’s seat of a standard Bentley Continental GT Speed on Sunday in Wales, according to CNN Money. His top speed was 186.4 miles per hour during the “flying mile”—in which a driver can get up to speed before the car is clocked at two points, one mile apart—but his average was 180.4 miles per hour. Elba’s run came while shooting the Discovery Channel series Idris Elba: No Limits, which will air in July.

Elba beat out the last record, set in 1927 by Sir Malcolm Campbell, who hit 174.2 miles in hour.

Now imagine the car chase scenes if he ever actually plays James Bond.

[CNN Money]

TIME viral

Watch Driving Instructors Get Pranked By a Pro Racer

They think she doesn't know how to drive

Driving tests are supposed to be nerve-racking for new students, but one Malaysian driving school flipped the script and absolutely terrified their rookie instructors.

To prank employees on their first day of work, the school hired Leona Chin, a professional rally-racing driver, to be the unlucky tutors’ first pupil.

Chin, dressed up in a nerdy-looking outfit, spends the first half of the video pretending she’s a hopeless learner. Then, just as instructors are getting frustrated, Chin reveals her true talents—and the reactions are priceless.

“The 3 employees you saw at the end loved it and laughed it off, but the guy in the blue shirt was not too happy. That’s why we didn’t have footage of him smiling,” Izmir Mujab, CEO of the media company behind the video, told TIME.

Read next: Watch Mariah Carey Kill at Car Karaoke on The Late Late Show

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Auto Racing

Watch NASCAR Driver Joey Logano Win the Daytona 500

He beat out four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and two-time Daytona winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR driver Joey Logano finally lived up to his billing as one of the top drivers on the American racing circuit, winning the coveted Daytona 500 on Sunday in a nail-biting finish.

The 24-year-old Connecticut native beat out a competitive playing field including two-time Daytona winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, Sports Illustrated reported.

Gordon dominated most of the race but was stymied by traffic during the final push, allowing Logano to surge to the front and hold on for his maiden title.

“Daytona 500, oh my God! Are you kidding me?” he yelled following his victory. “I was so nervous the whole race.”

[Sports Illustrated]

TIME the backstory

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 21, 2014

Photojournalism Daily is a compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Mauricio Lima’s photographs on fishing for the pirarucu, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, in Brazil’s Amazonas region. Nearly two decades of conservation efforts, which, today, allow only locals to harpoon and bludgeon the pirarucu, appear to be working. Lima’s striking pictures illustrate the struggle that goes into killing these beasts, whose fragile survival impacts these fishermen’s only livelihood.


Mauricio Lima: Fishing for a Goliath of the River in the Amazon (The New York Times)

Adam Dean: Burma (Time.com) These photographs capture a still impoverished Burma as it stumbles through democratic transition, and ethnic strife.

Michele Sibiloni: Uganda’s thriving drug scene (Al Jazeera) These scenes document the surge in drug use in the country’s capital, Kampala, while parliamentary representatives are debating the introduction of a tough narcotics-bill. Critics, however, argue the new legislation could unfairly punish the poor.

Jim Mangan: Blast (The New Yorker’s Photo Booth) Surprising, yet beautiful aerial pictures that capture a rally-car driver Ken Block racing through the Utah desert.

Gianluca Panella: Gaza Blackout’s Backstage (Leica Camera) The Italian photographer interviewed about his World Press Photo award winning series.


Photojournalism Links is a compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen, Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.


TIME NASCAR

Father of Driver Killed After Race Collision: Tony Stewart Was ‘Only One’ Who Didn’t See My Son

Cheez-It 355 At The Glen
Jerry Markland—Getty Images The #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet is prepared by its crew in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 10, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.

Kevin Ward, Sr., says his son slept with a smile on his face

The father of Kevin Ward, Jr., who died Saturday after bring struck by NASCAR star Tony Stewart, said Tuesday that his son “was just a very God-gifted kid.”

“I think he slept with a smile on his face,” Kevin Ward told Syracuse.com of his son, in an interview published Wednesday.

Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed after he was struck by Stewart’s car during a race on a dirt track in Canandaigua, New York, about 25 miles from Rochester. Before the incident, Ward’s car was bumped into a wall by Stewart’s vehicle, effectively knocking Ward out of the race. During a subsequent safety lap, Ward got out of his car and stood on the track, seemingly to confront Stewart about the collision — a move that’s not uncommon in local races. However, Ward was struck and dragged by Stewart’s car, and he died later that day.

An investigation into the incident is currently ongoing. Stewart, a NASCAR driver who also often competes on a local level, dropped out of a NASCAR event Sunday following Ward’s death.

“I think the reason [Ward] probably got out of that car is who put him into the wall. He was definitely put into the wall,” Ward’s father told Syracuse.com. “Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him.”

Ward Sr. said he did not see his son get hit because he was busy getting to the spot where the racer’s car had hit the wall. He did, however, watch paramedics perform CPR on his son for some 45 minutes.

“He was a special person to many, and a very special person to his family,” Ward Sr. said.

Ward Sr. and his wife have met with the Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies twice since their son’s death.

“The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?,” asked Ward Sr.

[Syracuse.com]

TIME racing

The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy: Dangerous Motorcycle Mayhem

This is one of the deadliest races in the world.

The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy is among the most dangerous races on Earth, with 242 deaths in 107 years of existence.
The TT, as it is commonly known, is the oldest race in motorcycle history, uniting high-octane adrenaline junkies with fun-loving bikers.
For more, see our feature video story on Conor Cummins, a racer who crashed in the TT and survived: The Isle of Men – The World’s Deadliest Race
TIME racing

The Isle of Men: The World’s Deadliest Race

This is one of the most dangerous races known to man.

Once a year, for six days, the population of a small island in the Irish Sea doubles as motorcycle enthusiasts from around the globe flock to the racing mecca.
The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy is perhaps the most dangerous race on earth, with 242 deaths in its 107 years of existence. The TT, as it is commonly known, is the oldest race in motorcycle history, uniting high-octane adrenaline junkies with fun loving drunken bikers.
With six different events to boast of, the Manx TT races paralyze the island, as the event closes down these country roads so bikers can zoom, curve and dip through a 37.5 mile long loop at a frightening 130 mph average speed—that’s one lap in less than 18 minutes. All the kids on the island are given time off and the local economy thrives, making a large part of its earnings for the year. For those few days in spring, the incessant roar of motorcycle engines spewing high-pitched noise can be heard across the island as racers rev up for the main event.
In addition to traditional motorcycle racing, the event includes categories for electric motorcycles, sidecar racing, and various engine-sized motorbikes that see racers compete for top rank, risking life and limb in the process. Over the course of this year’s races, two men tragically lost their lives in crashes, as did one tourist riding his bike and a field marshal hired to clear the track before racing begins.
Conor Cummins, a seasoned rider describes the event as “the best race on the planet”—this despite a devastating crash in 2010 that shattered his arm, broke his back, dislocated his knee, bruised his lung and fractured his pelvis. Cummins, a native to the Isle of Man, was back on his bike 8 months later and somehow managed to compete in the following year’s Senior TT. “That was then and this is now,” says Cummins on the eve of the 2014 race “and it’s taken a lot to get back from to be honest, it took a lot of strength… And hopefully I’ll start seeing the fruits of my labors.”
On race day, Cummins, the soft spoken Manx rider tore through six laps and 226.38 miles as he competed with the heir to the Dunlop family name, Michael Dunlop. Despite a neck-and-neck race, Cummins came in second and was cheered as a victor by the local population, proving his worth to his Honda-sponsored team in the process.
As the list of deceased racers continues to grow, some wonder how much longer this race can go on.
“No one is forcing anyone to do this race… there’s not one man in that paddock that signed up because they have to” says Cummins. “iI’s because they want to.”
Die hard fans stand in the way of anyone who objects to the danger of the event, as one fan gleefully explained. When asked what he would do if they tried to cancel the Isle of Man TT, he responded simply: “Over my dead body.”
A little over a month after the TT ended, Conor crashed again at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man, suffering a broken left forearm .“Had a bit of a shunt yesterday and got ran into by another bike,” he said. “I will be back better and stronger in no time all being well. Game on!”
TIME Photos

Photos: The Week in Sports

Kickoff of the World Cup, the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup and the U.S. Open all made for a week packed with sports. Here are TIME's best photos from these athletic events

TIME HD

Texas Motor Speedway Unveils World’s Largest HD Screen

"Big Hoss" TV Construction Tour
Sarah Glenn—Getty Images Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage looks on during the "Big Hoss TV" Contruction Tour at Texas Motor Speedway on February 14, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Because everything’s bigger in Texas

The world’s largest HD screen is now deep in the heart of Texas.

Positioned along the backstretch of the Texas Motor Speedway outside of Fort Worth, “The Big Hoss TV” is reportedly 12 stories tall and provides 20,633.34 square feet of HD broadcasting, according to ESPN.

“To have the biggest one in the world, this is another one of those everything-is-bigger-in-Texas stories,” TMS president Eddie Gossage told the sports broadcaster.

The gargantuan monitor is set to make its high-definition, NASCAR debut during the Duck Commander 500 on April 6.

According to the designers, Big Hoss is outfitted to withstand central Texas’s temperamental climate and will be able to handle 120 m.p.h. wind gusts and hail storms. Workers tested the monitor’s resilience by reportedly hitting golf balls at the screen.

[ESPN]

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