ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – It’s become nearly an annual tradition for Roger Penske to visit the Victory Circle monument at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Juan Pablo Montoya delivered the seventh Team Penske win on the streets of St. Petersburg in 2015, so he and Penske attended a ceremony this morning to affix Montoya’s name to the monument’s wall of winners.
Montoya joins Helio Castroneves (2006, 2007, 2012), Ryan Briscoe (2009) and Will Power (2010, 2014) as Penske drivers to win on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit – all in the last 10 years.
“It’s an honor to see all of these plaques representing wins by so many of our drivers,” Penske said. “It’s a great team effort. … Certainly this is a place where we have had a lot of success and we’re hoping we can continue this weekend.”
Not usually one to gush over such ceremonies, Montoya could appreciate the significance of his name being placed alongside the other Penske drivers, as well as past winners Dan Wheldon (2005), Graham Rahal (2008) and James Hinchcliffe (2013). This year’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be the 13th edition of the popular event, dating to 2003 when Paul Tracy won the Champ Car-sanctioned race.
“You don’t realize little things like (the wall of champions) go a long way for the future and it’s cool,” said Montoya, driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. “Now we’ve got to go back and focus on what we do. This year you want to keep it up and do the best you can. It doesn’t mean you’re going to go out there and win every race, but you still want to. We’re going to try.”