Bark's Bites: Five Good Minutes With Juan Pablo Montoya

I’m not ashamed to admit it — I’ve got a total mancrush on Juan Pablo Montoya, and if you care even a little bit about racing, you should too. Not only does JPM have the most impressive and diverse resume of any modern day racer (7 wins in Formula One, including the Monaco GP, multiple wins in the Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Daytona, multiple NASCAR road course wins), but the way he’s gone about it has been exactly the way all of us weekend racing warriors wish we could do it.

He’s been just as likely to win a race as he has been to give the chrome horn to a competitor who crossed him. If Montoya were on your bumper in an Oldsmobile Alero, you’d be nervous that he’d either fly by you or put you into the wall. My friend Sam Smith says that he’s one of the last, true, IDGAF dudes in racing, and a unique talent, and he’s right.

I had the chance to flag JPM down for a few minutes in the media center at the Rolex 24 this weekend (more on that experience tomorrow), where he was the anchor driver for the #6 Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype car. I don’t often find myself nervous around another grown man, but I was a bit starstruck for this conversation. Apologies in advance that it kinda goes everywhere. (Disclosure — Acura invited me to the Rolex 24 for the weekend, and provided flights, hotels, meals, and tickets to the race.)

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Hey, Look - Cadillac Finished First In Something: The Rolex 24

Cadillac took a definite “more is more” approach for its return to prototype racing. By handing over its engineering masterpiece, the V8 DPi-V.R, to the distinguished Wayne Taylor Racing, LeMans veteran Massimiliano “Max” Angelelli, and NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon, it assured itself the one-two victory at the Rolex 24 in Daytona.

However, despite an ideal finish, it wasn’t a perfect day for the team.

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Jeff Gordon, Clearly Suffering From a Racing Addiction, Plans 24 Hours With a Cadillac

Automotive athletes tend to age a little better other sports figures. While Formula 1 drivers tend to be a little younger, the average NASCAR driver is in their late thirties. That means racing retirement can be delayed well-past the comparative norm for an Olympic boxer or linebacker in the NFL.

However, every sport seems to share the common theme of athletes’ complete inability to remain retired after making a public announcement that they were packing it in.

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