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Juan Pablo Montoya takes on new role: mechanic for his son

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Juan Pablo Montoya, shown in 2009 with then-4-year-old son Sebastian. Eight years later, JPM is shepherding his son’s budding go-kart racing career.

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At 42 years old, it’s no secret that Juan Pablo Montoya is in the twilight of a career that has seen him win some of racing’s biggest events.

So what’s next for the Colombian driver when he finally hangs up his firesuit?

Would you believe mechanic?

But there’s a caveat with that.

Montoya is serving as mechanic for 12-year-old son Sebastian’s rising effort in the go-kart world – and he’s loving every minute of it.

Veteran motorsports writer Godwin Kelly had a great story about father and son Montoya’s exploits in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

While JPM will race full-time in the IMSA Series for Team Penske this season, he’s also playing the key role in his son’s development of potentially following in his father’s footsteps and racing shoes.

The elder Montoya has a stellar resume that includes two wins in the Indianapolis 500, seven wins in Formula One and three victories at the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona.

He’s back at Daytona International Speedway this week as Sebastian’s go-to guy when it comes to servicing the car and keeping it running in tip-top shape. And even though Juan Pablo downplays his role, he’s obviously taught Sebastian well -- not to mention make his go-kart one of the best in the field.

Daytona KartWeek concluded today and Sebastian has made both his name and his pedigree known. He finished third in his first race Friday, was second in the half-mile sprint course and then won the day’s final race.

“Some dads and sons go fishing,” Sebastian told Kelly and the News-Journal. “For us, it’s go-karting. This is fun.”

Added Juan Pablo, “Sebastian has been racing about five years. I’m here as his mechanic. I do everything. Sometimes, when we come with a big team, he has his own mechanic, but I like wrenching. We work good together. We are competitive this way.”

Sebastian spent much of last season racing go-karts in Europe under his father’s expert tutelage.

“I put him in these tough situations, always,” Montoya told the N-J with a smile on his face and a glint in his eye. “I don’t make his life easy. Last year was a good learning year for him, and this year should be better for Sebastian.”

While father and son were due to depart Daytona Saturday evening, JPM won’t be away long: he returns to DIS on Thursday to prepare for next weekend’s Roar Before the 24, followed by the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona three weeks later.