LEXINGTON — The view from the second step of the podium was fine, but Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron enjoyed their vista even more after Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.
A year after finishing second to Acura Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor, Montoya and Cameron piloted the No. 6 ARX-05 Acura DPi to the checkered flag at the rolling 13-turn, 2.258-mile rode course outside of Lexington.
The duo beat the pole-winning No. 77 Mazda RT24-P DPi car driven by Mazda Team Joest’s Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez by a comfortable 2.022 seconds. Mazda Team Joest’s Jonathan Bomarito and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third.
“I think we just executed well,” Montoya said after his first WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series victory. “We had been very unlucky with mechanical issues and stuff — silly things that have happened. I think we made not great calls on strategy before and I think today it was executed the way it needed to be.”
Montoya benefitted from a late-race caution — the only full-course caution of the afternoon — and built a six-second advantage over Nunez after the restart with about 23 minutes remaining. Nunez cut into the gap as both cars had to navigate through traffic.
“The pace was good,” Montoya said. “It’s tough because if you push really hard you’re going to go quicker. If you go out quicker, you open a bit of a gap and you catch the traffic in the wrong place and the seven-second gap becomes a two-second gap.”
The victory was the first for the duo of Montoya and Cameron for Acura Team Penske.
“We didn’t quite have the year we expected last year or even the first couple of races this year,” Cameron said. “It’s really nice to have pretty close to a perfect race here today.
“It’s really satisfying to finally get the monkey off our back a little bit. Hopefully we can get a bunch more wins now from here now that we reminded ourselves that we do know how to do it.”