Montoya and Power Up For ESPY "Best Driver"

July 3, 2015

They share the same team owner, even the same sponsorship from Verizon, but Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske are not looking to share the ESPY award for “Best Driver,” which will be awarded at the ESPN-driven awards ceremony in Los Angeles on July 15. 

Both drivers are keen to keep the award within the ranks of the Verizon IndyCar Series where it has resided for the last two years. Ryan Hunter-Reay won consecutive awards in 2013 and 2014, the first series winner since Jimmy Vasser won the award in 1997. Out of the 22 years the “Best Driver” award has been given out, five Verizon IndyCar Series drivers have been awarded the trophy. The first winner for the series was Nigel Mansell, who won in 1994 for his 1993 CART title after also winning the inaugural “Best Driver” award in 1993 for his performance in Formula 1. 

This year’s competition, as usual, will be tough with NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick, Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and NHRA Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens rounding out the category. The most-recent Team Penske driver to be nominated for “Best Driver” was Brad Keselowski after winning the 2012 Cup Series championship. No Team Penske driver has ever won the coveted award. 

Power is nominated by virtue of winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship – his first title after finishing as series runner up several times – with three victories (St. Petersburg, Detroit and Milwaukee) and seven podium finishes. 

“I am honored that ESPN has nominated me for the ‘Best Driver’ category at this year’s ESPYS,” stated Power, who drives the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet this season. “Racing is all I ever wanted to do. To be acknowledged by one of the leaders in the sports world is something that means a lot to me. Ryan Hunter-Reay brought the award back to INDYCAR for the last two years and I hope I can keep it here.”

Juan Pablo Montoya received his nomination for his thrilling victory in the 2015 Indianapolis 500 where raced from the rear of the field back to the front on two occasions in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, but was able to maneuver his way to capture the checkered flag for the second time in “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing.”
“Look at the list of former winners of the ‘Best Driver’ category and you can see that it is quite an honor just to be nominated,” said Montoya. “What’s amazing is that I have raced against almost everyone on that list of former ESPY winners. I love the Verizon IndyCar Series and I think we have the best racing in the world. It’s important for us to have ESPN acknowledge our accomplishments. Hopefully we can make it three straight Verizon IndyCar Series winners for ‘Best Driver.’”
Voting for the 2015 ESPYS runs until the day of the awards show on July 15. Visit!/voting to cast your vote today!