LONG POND, Pa. -- The yellow, blue and red flags of Colombia were thrust higher and waved with more vigor in the final 10 laps of the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco by spectators at Pocono Raceway.
Though their national team fell in a FIFA World Cup quarterfinal to Brazil on July 4, Juan Pablo Montoya and Carlos Munoz landing on the podium re-energized their holiday weekend in west-central Pennsylvania.
Montoya won the record-setting 500-mile race for his first Indy car victory since 2000 and third of his career, while Munoz recorded a third-place finish for the third time in his rookie Verizon IndyCar Series season. Eight days earlier at Houston, they were joined in Victory Circle by compatriot Carlos Huertas.
Following the awards ceremonies, both drivers were engulfed in a circle of Colombian flags as they obliged autograph and photo requests.
"It's exciting. It's a cool place because it's so close to New York and there's so many Latinos there, New Jersey and all that area," Montoya said.
Munoz, who won the Indy Lights race at Pocono in July 2013, got an inkling of the support during the full-field autograph session a few hours before the 200-lap race at the INDYCAR Fan Village.
"The fans was incredible," the Andretti Autosport driver said. "We're in like the middle of nowhere more or less. I didn't expect to hear so many Colombians. I expect that in Florida or wherever but not here."