Montoya 'so happy' with NASCAR move.
02.07.2006 Indianapolis, USA, Juan-Pablo Montoya (COL), Juan Pablo, McLaren Mercedes - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, United States Grand Prix, Sunday Race
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge, Dover 2004
Juan Montoya - winner Indy 500
Juan Pablo Montoya says that he cannot wait to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR for the first time in anger after confirming that he was becoming the first driver in the modern era to jump directly from F1 into the NASCAR Cup Series.
The 30-year old Columbian born driver, who has amassed seven Grand Prix victories for Williams and McLaren since joining the F1 circus at the start of the 2001 season, will get his first taste of competitive NASCAR action later this year in the secondary Busch Series, possibly as early as the Sam's Town 250 at the Memphis Motorsports Park in late October, which takes place one week after the F1 season finale in Brazil.
"I am so happy to be entering the fastest growing racing league in the world," said Montoya, who is unlikely to make any NASCAR appearances while he is still racing for McLaren. "I've thought about this for quite some time but the opportunity had to be right. I've known and worked with Chip for a number of years and this situation could not be better for me. I have a lot of confidence in my ability as a racecar driver and in Chip and Felix as owners. I know the transition will not be easy but I can't wait to get behind the wheel."
Although he will be a stock car virgin, save for a couple of demonstration laps in Jeff Gordon's #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Indianapolis a couple of years ago, Montoya is no stranger to the precise art of oval racing, having won a pair of CART/Champ Car titles for Chip Ganassi Racing in 1999 and 2000 during a whirlwind two-year romance with the US racing scene that also included an Indianapolis 500 triumph in 2000.
"We are thrilled to be getting a driver of this calibre to put into the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge," said Chip Ganassi, for whom Montoya won eleven races during his first stint with the team. "Juan Pablo is one of the best race car drivers in the world. He is a former CART Champion, Indy 500 winner and Formula 1 driver that will bring a much needed veteran presence to our team."
In addition to tackling the full 36-race Nextel Cup schedule in the #42 Dodge currently piloted by Casey Mears, Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Montoya will also tackle an assortment of Busch Series races as he bids to join a very select group of drivers to have won in F1, NASCAR and CART/Champ Car.
Montoya to leave F1 for NASCAR
09 July 2006
Juan Pablo Montoya is to leave Formula One at the end of this season for a drive in the American NASCAR series with Chip Ganassi Racing. Ganassi announced that Montoya has signed a multi-year deal with his team.
Montoya's future in F1 has been the focus of much speculation over the past few months and when it appeared that McLaren had not taken up its option on his services, the Colombian looked set to return to the US.
Announcing the move on Sunday Ganassi said, "We are thrilled to be getting a driver of this caliber. Juan Pablo is one of the best race car drivers in the world. He is a former CART Champion, Indy 500 winner and Formula 1 driver that will bring a much needed veteran presence to our team."
Montoya will become the first regular F1 driver to move directly to the Nextel Cup when he contests his first race next year. The Colombian and Chip Ganassi are no strangers. Montoya drove for Ganassi's open-wheel team during the 1999 and 2000 CART seasons. Following his two years with Ganassi, Montoya made the jump to
Until now Montoya has started 94 F1 Grand Prix, winning seven and finishing on the podium 30 times.