MONTOYA'S 2007 SEASON A SUCCESS ON AND OFF THE TRACK
CONCORD, N.C. (December 31, 2007) -- Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) driver Juan Pablo Montoya has completed his first full year of racing in NASCAR and his impact was felt on and off the track. Aside from his two wins, one in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and one in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title, Montoya made a successful transition into the NASCAR community.
Notes of Interest:
* Three Wins and a Rookie of the Year Title -- Montoya visited victory lane three times, in three different series in 2007 and captured the Cup Rookie of the Year title. He kicked off the year by winning the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona for CGRFS' Grand American team. Then, in just his third Nationwide Series race in 2007, Montoya took the checkered flag in Mexico City to earn his first win in a stock car. He proved he was one of the top road course racers at Infineon Raceway when he captured his first Sprint Cup victory after qualifying 32nd, the deepest starting spot ever for a winner at Infineon Raceway. It was just his 17th start in the Sprint Cup Series as he scored the first Cup win for CGRFS since 2002. Montoya and his No. 42 crew, under the guidance of veteran Crew Chief Donnie Wingo, went on to amass one win, three top-five and six top-10 finishes during the 2007 Sprint Cup season.
* Community Service -- Montoya and his wife Connie co-hosted a charity gala in Miami, Fla., to increase awareness about their home country of Colombia, and raise funding in conjunction with five other Colombian charitable foundations. The event attracted more than 500 sport, business and entertainment celebrity guests, including NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, 2007 Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, Founder of the Victory Junction Camp, Sprint Cup Driver Kyle Petty among many others. Montoya also participated in several charity golf tournaments within the sport's community including those hosted by Johnson, J.J. Yeley, Betty Jane France and the NASCAR Foundation. Montoya donned bowling shoes for Jeff Gordon's charity event in Indianapolis and made his first start on dirt when he raced in Tony Stewart's Nextel Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway.
* Global Marketing -- The Colombian born driver came to NASCAR with a globally recognized name. After spending seven years on the international Formula One circuit, Montoya's sponsors were able to market him outside the United States. His 2007 primary sponsor Texaco/Havoline utilized him in point of sale (POS) materials in four countries outside the U.S. -- Canada, Singapore, Colombia and Brazil. The company displayed a five-story race banner in Turkey and created four collectible posters for use in Russia. Montoya also became the face of DirecTV Latin America after it ran programs and sweepstakes in Colombia and Venezuela to find new subscribers and to upgrade current subscribers to their sports packages. Currently CGRFS is in talks with several companies outside the U.S. on sponsorship opportunities with Montoya and teammate and Scotsman Dario Franchitti. The addition of Montoya to the CGRFS NASCAR team made an immediate impact on the team's fan website as nearly 40 percent of its traffic in 2007 was from outside the United States and has been visited by fans in over 150 countries. It also became necessary to create a Spanish portal on the site for Montoya fans.
* Media Appeal: Montoya has piqued the interest of the sport to several new media outlets during the season, and the addition of several foreign-born drivers in 2008 should continue to attract new media. Several tracks on the NASCAR circuit, including Texas, California, Chicago and Miami held special events for the Hispanic media who recently took more interest in the sport upon Montoya's arrival. He has also appeared on Telemundo, Univision, People en Espanol and has been a fixture on ESPN Deportes. At the season-opening Daytona 500, several media members from outside the U.S. attended the event including television and magazine reporters from Germany, Russia, Sweden, Mexico, Colombia and Italy. Montoya was also featured in L'Equipe, a French sporting magazine, whose writer and photographer spent the weekend with him in Pocono.
Chip Ganassi, Team Owner
"I really couldn't be more proud of Juan's first season in NASCAR but what makes me even more excited is that I know that he has only scratched the surface of what he is going to be able to do in stock car. He is a talent like few others and I can't wait for 2008 to begin."
Steve Lauletta, President
"First and foremost, as Chip always says, Juan was brought here because he knows how to drive and can help get us to victory lane. With that being said, you cannot overlook what he allows us to do from a marketing stand point. He has a fan base that reaches to almost every corner of the globe which we believe serves him, the race team, his sponsors and NASCAR very well. Juan has brought an international flair to the sport in a very big way and we look forward to continuing to find new ways to market him and the team."