Juan Pablo Montoya

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- "That was a big deal," Juan Pablo Montoya recalls about his victory in the 1999 Toyota Grand of Long Beach.

Fifteen years later, Montoya returns to contend for another win on the temporary street circuit and again it's a big deal.

Montoya will drive the No. 2 Verizon-sponsored entry for Team Penske in the 40th annual race this weekend. In '99, as a 23-year-old rookie in CART, Montoya's three-tenths-of-a-second victory over Dario Franchitti after starting fifth was his first of three consecutive wins (and seven overall en route to the series title). In the first two races of the season, Montoya started eighth and finished 10th at Homestead-Miami Speedway and advanced two positions after starting 15th at Twin Ring Motegi.

“It was my first win in a big series. It was exciting,” said Montoya, who a year earlier won the F3000 title in addition to being a WilliamsF1 test driver.

In his first Verizon IndyCar Series race March 30 on the St. Petersburg street course, Montoya started 18th and finished 15th.

Watch the full 1999 race: