Juan Pablo Montoya out of 2016 Indy 500 After Crash on 64th Lap

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMay 29, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Juan Pablo Montoya of Columbia, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet prepares to practice on Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Last year's Indianapolis 500 champion, Juan Pablo Montoya, saw his defense of the checkered flag come to a halt Sunday following a crash on Lap 64.  

SportsCenter reported on the wreck and indicated Montoya was able to exit the vehicle under his own power. Montoya also won the Indy 500 as a rookie in 2000.

IndyCar Series on Twitter provided the replay footage of how Montoya's pursuit of a third Indy 500 title went awry:

"I just got loose and lost the car," said Montoya, per Motor Sports Talk's Daniel McFadin. "It's just difficult, people were doing a lot dumb things on the restarts and I felt it was not necessary. So I took my time and started coming through the field and the car felt pretty good. It just stepped out of nowhere."

Although he was in a rather difficult starting position of 17th and actually lost ground—19th when he crashed, per McFadin—Montoya came from 15th on the starting grid last year to drink the champion's milk in Victory Lane.

In the only other Indy 500 start he didn't win, the 40-year-old placed fifth in 2014, so his premature exit Sunday marks his worst finish in the race by far.

Despite the disappointing result at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there's still reason to believe Montoya can salvage a strong 2016 campaign based on his IndyCar efforts to date. He finished fourth in points two years ago and was second on the circuit last season, losing the IndyCar title by a tiebreaker to Scott Dixon.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like