Very few drivers have accomplished what Juan Montoya has in his career.

Every driver dreams of winning the ultimate prize, whether it is the Indianapolis 500 or the Daytona 500. The 24 Hours of Le Mans or the Monaco Grand Prix. Winning just one of these, or a season championship would be a career highlight for most drivers.

Graham Hill is the only person that has ever been able to achieve the Triple Crown of motorsports. Winning the three most prestigious races in the world requires an incredible amount of talent, preparation, and luck. Montoya and Fernando Alonso are close, having each won two of the three races. Both have also driven for McLaren at Indianapolis.

Familiarity is the name of the game this time around for Arrow McLaren. The team has the same three drivers this month as they had last May. With added experience and better chemistry, this could be the year they get back to victory lane at Indianapolis.

This three-car team does not have a ton of experience at Indy, with just five starts between Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist. After failing to qualify in 2019 with Carlin Racing, O'Ward has been sensational in his two starts with McLaren. The 22-year old finished 6th in 2020 as a rookie and 4th last year, after leading 17 laps.

Rosenvist has finished 28th, 12th, and 27th in his three starts; the first two driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. He has led laps in all three races but understands that he still has much to learn about finding the winning formula. That is where Montoya comes in, as the team will lean on him when it comes to setting up their cars.

“I think being two cars is a strong thing for us sometimes,” said Rosenqvist. “We have a lot of good people split only over two cars so it feels like a very focused program. But sometimes you definitely miss having another entry, so you can bounce your feedback off a third driver.”

Montoya’s vast bank of knowledge and talent are definitely welcomed, but it is his leadership that Rosenqvist values most.

“Juan’s feedback is great, but the thing that impressed me was his outspokenness about the car,” he said. “I’m more a driver who if I have an issue with the car, I’d rather drive one more lap to see if I can fix it with my driving or something. But Juan is more aggressive in attacking the issues with the car. It’s helpful to have a third car, obviously, but it’s also a very competitive car with Juan in it, and he’s really ruthless in trying to find performance.”

Qualifying is always important at Indy, but Montoya is one of the few drivers that has shown the ability to march towards the front of the field. He finished 9th after starting in 24th last year, and his last race before that in 2017 he went from 18th to 6th in his final start with Team Penske. He even started 15th in 2015 when he won his second race.

Montoya dominated in his first Indy 500 race in 2000. He led 167 laps, becoming the first rookie winner since the aforementioned Hill in 1966. Fast forward 15 years later and Montoya was back in victory lane at Indianapolis. It is the longest stretch between race wins in Indianapolis 500 history. The legendary driver won with the two powerhouse teams in Ganassi and Penske. Now, he seeks his third bottle of milk with another legendary team.

Montoya has won races in IndyCar, CART, Formula One, NASCAR, Grand-Am Sportscars, and the IMSA Weathertech series. Although he has seemingly won in everything he has done, the 46-year old still has the desire and the motivation to chase a third victory at Indy.

In an interview last May, Montoya talked about the value of experience on the 2.5-mile oval. “Honestly, you look at Helio, you look at myself, we’ve got a shot at winning this race. We can.” He was absolutely correct, as Castroneves went on to win his fourth Indy 500.

McLaren has won the Indy 500 twice, in 1974 and 1976 with Johnny Rutherford. Ironically enough, Rutherford himself is a three-time winner. Montoya would become the 11th driver to win the race at least three times. He would also join Rick Mears and Bobby Unser as the only drivers to win in three different decades.

In the first day of practice yesterday, Montoya finished 18th fastest in the morning session and 30th in the afternoon. Juan knows those things don't mean anything, though. "Success is running in traffic, learning how your car runs in traffic, what you need finding the balance between the clean air and the dirty air. I never really focus on putting up a big number or lap time, like everyone who put on new tires and tried to get big numbers in the tow. I don’t really focus on that at all."

"I’m really in a good place, really happy with what we’ve got." That is music to the ears of Team President Taylor Kiel. The team has three very good cars with three talented drivers behind the wheel.

Ten years ago it was Dario Franchitti that became a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner. Montoya is hoping to join him next Sunday.