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Thrilling win for Montoya in Michigan.

Juan Montoya beat Michael Andretti to the line by four hundredths of a second in another classic race at the two mile Michigan Superspeedway.

If one race in the Fed-Ex Championship Series can guarantee a grandstand finish, it is Michigan. From Scott Pruett's emotional first win in 1995 through to Tony Kanaan's last gasp triumph last year, CART's premier 500 mile race in the absence of the Indy 500 has always delivered a fantastic showcase for US oval racing. Sunday's Michigan 500 Presented by Toyota was a fine example.

Paul Tracy's record breaking pole position lap time was about as useful as an ash-tray on a motorbike when the green flag dropped for the first time under a bright blue Michigan sky. Swamped from either side, the Canadian found himself back in sixth place by the end of lap one as the field started how they meant to go on by dicing side by side all the way around the opening two miles.

The man who anticipated the green flag best was Gil De Ferran in the leading Team Penske entry who darted down to the inside from fifth on the grid. Tracy and fellow front row man Michael Andretti found themselves engulfed from both sides as De Ferran, Juan Montoya and Christian Fittipaldi all swept past into the first corner.

By the end of the opening lap De Ferran had been demoted to third behind Montoya and Andretti who proceeded to wow the sun baked crowd with a wheel to wheel scrap that lasted for a full 15 laps. Andretti would take the lead on the back straight only for Montoya to sneak through on the run to the line. Although the lead changed more than a dozen times, Andretti didn't officially lead a lap until lap 13, by which time the lead pair had been joined by Kenny Brack, Fittipaldi, De Ferran and a most impressive Helio Castroneves.

Castroneves, who had started 13th after an engine failure spoilt his qualifying run, quickly moved up on the leaders and swept past to take the lead around the outside of the second turn.

Soon after Castroneves took the lead, the front runners started encountering traffic and the top five cars began to break away from the closely following pack.

Once his battle with Montoya had been interrupted, Andretti quickly dropped behind the lead group and let his Newman-Haas team-mate Fittipaldi take up the challenge at the front. Castroneves somehow managed to sustain his lead but was put under intense pressure from Montoya, Brack, Fittipaldi and the ever impressive Cristiano Da Matta. A little way behind the leading quintet Max Papis was sustaining the form which took him to within yards of victory here last year and was heading the second bunch which included Andretti, De Ferran, Patrick Carpentier, Adrian Fernandez, Mauricio Gugelmin and Jimmy Vasser. Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti had dropped to 14th and 16th respectively by lap 30 but were still on the same lap as the leader which was more than could be said of the man at the top of the points table Roberto Moreno.

Battling with a car which was unnervingly loose, Moreno spent the first 20 laps dicing in the lower reaches of the top 20 with Mark Blundell, Memo Gidley and Tarso Marques. His Team Patrick Reynard-Ford was not handling well in traffic and Roberto soon lost touch with the lead group and fell a lap behind the leader on the 27th tour.



Related Pictures

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Juan Montoya - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V-6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 19, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium as Juan Pablo Montoya (l to r), driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar; Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Verizon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V-6 and Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6, celebrate Saturday, April 18, 2015 after finishing third, first and second in the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 pumps his fist as he crosses the finish line, winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to victory Sunday, April 19, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden in his pit stand. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest, winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a seventh-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a sixth-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a fifth-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a second-place finish Sunday, April 12, 2015 during the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the P1 Award Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the P1 Award Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 attempts to qualify in the rain Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 attempts to qualify in the rain Saturday, April 11, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. Montoya will start on the pole for the race, based on entrant points as lightning halted qualifying before its completion. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Gabby Chaves races toward the start/finish line during practice for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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