• Jul 10th 2006 at 6:58AM
  • 35
McLaren bad boy Juan Pablo Montoya will leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2006 season to drive in NASCAR for his old boss, Chip Ganassi. Somebody get this guy a beer.
Despite his impressive open-wheel resume - CART (Champ Car) champion, Indy 500 winner, seven-time F1 winner - Montoya never really settled into the Formula 1 team environment, either with Williams or McLaren, and it looked as though McLaren was set to let him go at the end of the year in any event. With championship-contending seats looking pretty scarce for 2007, Montoya evidently decided to follow the money and return to the U.S.

For his part, F1Racing.net reports a happy Juan Pablo said after the announcement Sunday, "I am so happy to be entering the fastest growing racing league in the world... I know the transition will not be easy but I can't wait to get behind the wheel."

The Colombian will drive the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the full Nextel Cup schedule, along with a number of Busch series races. Montoya's seat at McLaren will likely be taken by long-time McLaren protege Lewis Hamilton, currently competing in GP2, although the dominos aren't likely to start falling until Kimi Raikkonen makes his intentions clear.

[Source: F1Racing.net] Thanks to Judd for the tip!

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I would think the three name name would be perfect for the classic Bubba Nascar fan (Billy Bob Jones, etc).

      In any case, this should give the comedian Carlos Mencia a few minutes of material, heh.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Time to show them damn Rednecks how it's done.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "If you'll recall last year, Jeff Gordon finished second to Sebastian Loeb in the World Challenge. NASCAR is already chock full of real honest to goodness race car drivers, "Redneck" fans aside."

      jeff gordon is a robot made by the yankee north to destroy our beloved passtime!!! LONG LIVE THE SOUTH
      • 9 Years Ago
      "I am so happy to be entering the fastest growing racing league in the world...

      (and taking a 75% pay cut)
      • 9 Years Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Watch out for "The Big Juan"!

      (you have to say it out loud to find the funny, and, err, know what "The Big One" means I guess...)

      Although I have to say, he might be chubby for F1 but he's an anorexic model compare to say, Tony Stewart.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Wow its about time. I wonder how much money each F1 will save now that he is off the track. "Impressive open wheel resume"... Ya right.
      • 9 Years Ago
      When asked on the David Letterman show (June 17, 2005) how NASCAR compares to F1, JPM said "With no disrespect, it's like driving a pickup truck then driving a Ferrari."
      • 9 Years Ago

      ["My favourite part of Nascar is when they turn left"]
      LOL! Good one.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I was born in North Carolina and reside about 20 minutes from Lowes Moter Speedway. I've only been to that track to see the few IRL races and the American LeMans series when it was there so, obviously I'm no NASCAR fan.

      Montoya was pretty interesting when he first got to F1 but has lost his edge. After getting thoroughly trounced by his teammate in the last two seasons and then taking both team cars out at the second turn at the USGP (which I was sitting right there when it happened), I'm sure his team stock is at an all time low. This gives him the chance to be the big fish again. In F1, it was well known that he wouldn't be the #1 driver at any of the top 3 teams and maybe not at two or three others. I think the timing was right, the team owner was the right duo and he didn't have to take a big paycut to do it. Kudos to him. I wish him well. He'll still have his hands full with Boris Said on the road courses but I expect he will do fine for the team. Who knows...I may actually watch Sears Point or Watkins Glenn next year (along with a few million Columbian fans). There's a first for everything.
      • 9 Years Ago
      JPM is the BEST
      • 9 Years Ago
      So did he get too fat to fit in the F1 car? :D
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