No elbow room: Juan Pablo Montoya’s transition from NASCAR to IndyCar

Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT)-Juan Pablo Montoya is no stranger to racing.

He has spent 14 years bouncing around from one race car to another.

After seven trying years in NASCAR, he has re-entered the world of open-wheel racing and is honored to be part of Team Penske.

“It’s really good,” said Montoya. “It’s like our team works really well together. We all help each other. We all sit in the same room and go through everything. I can go to Will and Helio, hey what are you doing here?”

It has been baby steps for Montoya.

He finished 15th in the IndyCar season opener but worked his way up to fourth at Long Beach.

“With NASCAR you start driving with the elbows out,” said Montoya.  “The seat is actually really big so you have to drive with the elbows out. Here you have no elbow room so you do a lot of wrist movement and at the beginning I was like, oh my god!”

“He certainly came up very quick,” said teammate Helio Castroneves. “His background is open-wheel so it’s like he is riding a bicycle and everything is coming back.”

IndyCar qualifying is Saturday at 2pm at Barber Motorsports Park.  The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is Sunday at 2pm.

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