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Verizon Wireless to sponsor eight of Montoya's races

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Roger Penske wasn't worried about finding a sponsor for Juan Pablo Montoya when he signed him, believing there would be interest in the Colombian's return to open-wheel racing.

And if nothing materialized, Penske was prepared to pay for Montoya's IndyCar season out of his own pocket.

Penske now has the funding lined up for at least eight of the 17 races through longtime partner Verizon Wireless. The company announced Monday an expanded partnership with Team Penske that adds Montoya's eight races.

Verizon is also continuing its full-season sponsorship of Will Power. Verizon will also be the primary sponsor for Power, Montoya and Helio Castroneves at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

"Verizon has been a terrific partner for Team Penske and we are excited to continue to grow our relationship with them in 2014 and beyond," Penske said in a statement. "Verizon's technology and marketing activation has meant so much to Team Penske and the sport of IndyCar racing and we look forward to building on this special partnership."

The expanded partnership includes a multi-year contract extension with Team Penske for Verizon to provide wireless services for all of the Penske teams.

Verizon first partnered with Team Penske in 2009 as primary sponsor for Power in the Indianapolis 500. Verizon has since been on Power's car for 17 wins, 25 poles and 28 podium finishes.

Penske has high hopes for Montoya, who won the CART championship in 1999 and the Indianapolis 500 the next year. Montoya spent the last seven years in NASCAR driving for Penske rival Chip Ganassi, and he became available when Ganassi decided not to renew his contract for 2014.

Penske grabbed him for his third IndyCar seat, which only ran six races last season with AJ Allmendinger.

"We want to see Juan win some races and he wants to win the championship," Penske said. "He's really motivated, and he feels he has something to prove. To me, he's done well in tests and he's gotten comfortable in the car, and now it is up to us to give him the tools he needs, and to be sure he understands how competitive it is out there."

Montoya has shed more than 20 pounds since last summer, and Penske believes he's adapted quickly with Castroneves and Power.

"We just had to get Montoya out of the jeans and into the black pants," Penske said. "Other than that, it should be easy to work with him."

Montoya was scheduled to be back in an Indy car Monday during a test session at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., where the Penske organization hoped for a better showing than last month's session at Sebring, Fla. All three cars ranked near the bottom on the speed charts, and Montoya was last out of the 11 drivers at the test.

"It shows we have more work to do, although Juan was faster than the time showed," said Tim Cindric, president of Team Penske. "He knows he needs to pick up the pace. His time off is working against him, and the braking is so much more than he is used to. It is the commitment and the balance between working up to it and being fully committed."

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  • Auto Racing Today
    In my opinion, automobile racing is no longer a major sport. NASCAR is even fading away and it is painfully obvious they are trying to get some more attention and breathe life back into it. But people are turning away. There are many seats still available for the Daytona 500 and they have ven taken 40,000 seats out! As for the Indy 500, it is a "who cares?" event now. Hardly anybody is interested. Maybe they still get a big, inertia, based-on-tradition, family-thing crowd but I used to go back in the 80's and 90's. My first race as 1981. It was mega back then. Last year there were rows and rows of empty seats and the atmosphere was almost kind of quiet where we sat. I think most people have moved off auto racing. But it is nice Julio Pablo Montoya and Penske have a ride together. They won Indy in 2000 and then he left for NASCAR wasn't it? Now he is back, Cool. But still, car racing seems like it is an old man's sport now. Sad.
  • All that and $5
    Yep, all that and $5 bucks will get you a pack of cheap indian reservation cigarettes. What good does it do for the hapless IndyCar series in 2014? ZILTCH, ZIP, NADA. Poooof. Old timer, get in the current day/month/year/century. If IndyCar was a destination they'd still be here getting 350% ROI...geez, hard to believe PVH is giving up 350% ROI on their IndyCar investment. Yet, they scaled back rapidly from their "contract" over the period of the contract. I see Rahal stole sponsorship from Panther for a cool $12MILLION. Sweet! I thought this series was affordable? $12M to run a season and Montoya can't only get 8 races covered yet Conor Daly, Sage Karam, Eddie Cheever III and Tristain Vaultier can't catch a cold. Condensing of the schedule. Boy, this series is moving baby! I woiuldn't waste a nickle on this crap series, all them good American talent going to Europe. Maybe they'll come to Indy when their careers are over.
  • Additional Pesky Facts
    Did you happen to catch what Petty said in the same paragraph as his snide remark? You know, that Danica is good for their series and brings a lot of fans and eyeballs? Did not think so. Did you happen to grasp the reality of Verizon sponsorship? That they have extended their involvement in IndyCar and expanded their sponsorship? Did not think so. Did you bother reading factual information regarding IZOD? That IZOD fully fulfilled the terms of their sponsorship contract and did not renew only because the executive level at PVH Corporation changed during the sponsorship term and made a decision to shift their marketing efforts toward more upper crust activities such as golf, yachting and the like? Or that the President and CEO who signed the deal, Allen Sirkin, remained enthusiastic about the partnership, and Mike Kelly, the executive who championed the deal, still has nothing but good to say about it? Did not think so. But what else is new?
  • More Perception
    I see Richard Petty sez Danica could win a race if no one showed up. Guess what...? She was the talent spawn of the INDYCAR SERIES. You know, IMS hung it's hat on Danica Fever for several years in the 'new century' and everyone EXCEPT you Hulman Racing cheerleaders knew she was nothing but a joke, that IMS was clinging to her sexploitative image on display to get cheap publicity. Remember how the *actual* drivers were jealous...you remember, the guys that actually won races and got paid for it? Fast forward 2 years and NASCAR is ready to dump her...how does that impact the perception of what the IRL/IndyCar is or does? Because yoou all want to play the 'grass is always greener over on the NASCAR side' card, let me tell you, it just make the IndyCar Series look weaker and feeble (which it is). This is why sponsors like Verizon refuse to sponsor a full season or IZOD ran with it's tail between its legs. Pretty pathetic. And she won a ICS race in the middle of the night one time where the TV rating was 0.005. great stuff and shows the continued failure of the leadership at IMS in this new century and decade. IndyCar is a joke.
  • Indy Lights champ out of ride
    But what about American drivers....and the driver branding needed? How is the marketing focus of the series gonna keep up when big money finds big owners who won't hire American drivers? Why does Montoya have a job, yet Sage Karam can't catch a cold. And 2012 champ Tristan Vautier spent his $1MILLION at Sam Schmidt's and can't get a job now. Geez....but it's ok that Montoya gets all the cash because this somehow elevates the series because Juan whipped all the IRL's butts back in 2000. This is proof the series and it's greedy owners will go to all lengths to head in the opposite directions of each other. Ex-CART owners and drivers own this series. I love it!!! Keep blowing $$$ IMS fellas! Like taking $$$ from a baby (Hulman Racing, that is).
  • Key Words of the Day: 'Extension' and 'Expansion.'
    Additional facts for those whose denial of reality is chronic: The Verizon deal with team Penske is in addition to their existing presence. In other words, 'extension' and 'expansion' of the relationship means A) Will Power Still has the sponsorship, and it has been extended, and B) Juan Montoya has new sponsorship for half the season. What could possibly be bad about any of that?
  • Question
    Aside from the hard core leftover CART-era fans, and maybe a handful of NASCAR fans, and it would only be a handful, is there anybody who really cares about Juan Pablo Montoya? I mean, seriously. When he won the Indianapolis 500 14 years ago he had some name recognition, but he was not a popular winner and was not around after that. This signing, and this part-time sponsorship, really does reflect, in my opinion, how far off the sport has fallen. Auto Racing, in general, is quite passe now, so maybe this is actually a significant situation. But my guess is the presence of Montoya will have little impact on changing the downward trajectory of this sport. However, congratulations to Team Pesnke for signing a winning driver and getting a part-time sponsorship for him. At least it is something.
  • Chief has been growing that number by leaps and bounds. He was way off when he was at $500 million, and he keeps adding to it. I would say that they sell a lot of baking powder to be able to take a Billion in losses.
  • Nascar
    They're removing about 31% of Daytona grandstands. If IMS keeps pace, they'll be under 175,000 seats. Ouch...Penske said 75K missing fans or seats won't mean a thing to the bottomline. I reckon the tax coffers will have to wait long to be refilled as less seats equal less taxes collected. Perfect 'lets follow nascar' plan. LOL.
  • Pesky Facts
    Uh, IMS did not 'throw' any of that at me. I (and Indyman) merely stated facts. Humorous to note you are inching ever closer to that billion dollar number as part of your delusional fantasizing. Also, seats and entire grandstands are being removed at every major race track in the country. Pesky facts. LOL.
  • And I'm sure that makes it all ok
    Sheesh...you guys take what ever the speedway throws at you and you spew it back out as propaganda. "Well, NASCAR does it so it must be ok"....whatever differentiated AOW from NASCAR back in the days when it counted needs to be re-explored by the IMS big-wigs. NASCAR can afford to do...can IMS? I highly doubt it...they already spent $900+million for 0.18 TV ratings and the lowest Indy 500 TV rating ever. Oh, and the removal og IMS grandstand and the continuing condensing of the schedule. So keep blaming everyone else but IMS. It works wonders as we've seen in IMS' case.
  • Even Target sub leases its ad space to Energizer and Kleenex among other partners.
  • Only Chief would see getting a major sponsor to step up even more as a bad thing. Lets see, in NASCAR, one week MT Dew sponsors a car, then the next week it is the National Guard, the next week is Time-Warner Cable. I have yet to hear anyone complain about that. Chief, it is more good news for the series, just bad news for your rants.
  • News Flash
    Current trend/reality in racing sponsorship (especially NASCAR): Partial season sponsorship. It is the norm these days. There are very few full season sponsorships anymore with a few notable exceptions (Target at Ganassi, ABC at Foyt and a few others). I doubt Mr. Penske is losing any sleep.
  • 8 races? Bwahahhahaha
    This is very rich...8 of the 17 races are sponsored. LOL, how in the world are you going to build continuity as it relates to brand recognition and driver recognition IF you have revolving sponsorship deals like this one? How is this good for the series? This is EXACTLY what Mark Miles is trying to AVOID. Great work IndyCar, underachieving as usual. Bwahahhahahaha!!!
  • Blue Chip Involvement is Great
    Team Penske enhances their blue chip partnership with Verizon. That's great news.

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