Montoya to Join Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Drive No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge CONCORD, N.C. (July 9, 2006) --- Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya has signed...
Montoya to Join Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Drive No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge
CONCORD, N.C. (July 9, 2006) --- Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya has signed a multi-year deal with the organization to compete in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series beginning in 2007. Montoya will become the first Formula 1 regular to ever join the NEXTEL Cup ranks when he assumes the driving duties of No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger next season.
"We are thrilled to be getting a driver of this caliber to put into the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge," said Chip Ganassi. "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."
"We are very happy to have such an accomplished driver behind the wheel of the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge" said Mark Nelson, president of Chevron Global Lubricants. "His impressive CART, IndyCar and Formula 1 record is sure to translate into success on the NASCAR circuit as well."
The 30-year-old Montoya joins CGRFS with impressive open-wheel credentials. He has made 137 starts between the CART, IndyCar and Formula 1 Series' where he's tallied 18 wins, 26 poles, 60 top-five and 79 top-10 finishes. Over his five complete seasons in Formula 1, Montoya has finished sixth or better in the standings. He will become the first Formula 1 driver in the 58-year history of NASCAR to compete on the circuit full-time.
The Colombia native and Team Owner Chip Ganassi are no strangers. Montoya drove for Ganassi's open-wheel team during the 1999 and 2000 CART seasons. Montoya captured the CART Championship and Rookie of the Year honors in 1999, becoming the youngest champion in the history of the series. The following year he visited victory lane three times for the Ganassi team, including a win at the prestigious Indianapolis 500. He and legendary British driver Graham Hill are the only two drivers in history to win both the Indianapolis 500 and the Grand Prix of Monaco (2003). Following his two years with Ganassi, Montoya made the jump to Formula 1.
"I am so happy to be entering the fastest growing racing league in the world," said Montoya. "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 race car 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."
Montoya began racing karts in 1981 at the age of six and by nine he won the Children's National Kart Championship. In 1986 he won the junior division of the National Championship and finished his karting career by taking the Kart Junior Championships in 1990 and 1991. In 1998 won the prestigious Formula 3000 Championship.
Montoya will pilot the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger while running for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year title along with an assortment of NASCAR Busch Series races. Texaco/Havoline will also be celebrating its 20th season as a primary NASCAR sponsor in 2007.
About Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (www.chipganassiracing.com), based in Concord, N.C., currently operates four full-time race teams in two of NASCAR's national touring divisions; three in the NEXTEL Cup Series with drivers Casey Mears (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge), Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge) and David Stremme (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge and No. 40 Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon Dodge), and one in the Busch Series with Sorenson (No. 41 Discount Tire Dodge).