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For 2nd straight year, Juan Pablo Montoya rules St. Petersburg

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The view is kind of a blur. The sunshine is kind of hot. The beach life is just a rumor.

But make no mistake.

Juan Pablo Montoya likes it here.

Montoya won his second straight Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Sunday afternoon, beating teammate Simon Pagenaud by 2.3 seconds. Montoya, who also won the Indy 500 last year, led Penske to its eighth win in 12 tries.

That team win came despite pole-winner Will Power missing the race with a concussion. Penske now has 179 wins in open-wheel racing.

“Its nice to start the year with a win,” Montoya said. “When you’re in Team Penske, there’s always that pressure that you’ve got to win races. You have to win. You’re in the best car, you’ve got to win races. So to start the year with a win it’s like ‘Oh, I got that one out of the way.’”

Montoya led the points last year from the opening race until the finale, where he lost the championship on a tie-breaker to Scott Dixon. Along the way, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the second time in his career.

Asked Sunday whether he’s headed to another Indy 500 win, Montoya indicated he’s taking each race one at a time.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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