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NASCAR is continuing to sample the international flavor of motorsports. The sport that began as moonshine runs in the wilds of the South has, in a short time, raised its profile here in America and is now threatening to do it elsewhere.

Scottish driver Dario Franchitti took the Indy 500 and the IRL championship this year with the Andretti Green team. Now he's leaving the team and the series to join Juan Pablo Montoya at Chip Ganassi Racing's NASCAR team.

The move will pair Franchitti with Montoya and Felix Sabates in the Ganassi team, and Jacques Villeneuve with Bill Davis Racing in the new international contingent. The international drivers are also getting attention from international sponsors, with Russian and Spanish companies calling for spots on Ganassi cars.

Dario starts his NASCAR run in the feeder ARCA RE/MAX Series race this weekend at Talledega. From there he'll graduate to the Busch Series (soon-to-be Nationwide Series), and then do an official Cup race some time before 2008.

Thanks for the tip, Dave!

[Source: ESPN.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dario will probably do better than JPM.

      For all the hype and deluge of posts on this site about how superior F1 drivers are to their Nascar counterparts, Mr. Montoya has managed to take a team that finished 14th in the points last year all the way to 19th this year.

      Stock cars are much harder to drive than they are given credit for being, which is why Sam Hornish has yet to make the field for races in which his teammates' speeds qualify for (even though their points standings lock them in the field). Contrary to popular opinion, there is alot more happening on the track than just turning left.

      Actually, with the exception of Tim Richmond, open wheel drivers (excluding sprint cars, ie; Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne) haven't really found success when attempting to race in the Nascar series full time.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, success in Nascar has very much to do with how well one can take advantage of the rules.
        Cheating, in other words, is part of the game. Has been for decades. Teams and drivers are frequesntly penalized for rules violations.

        Montoya's team comes from a relatively clean background, therefore you could say they are at a disadvantage to other teams that break the rules.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Cheating permeates all forms of racing. In fact, anywhere there is competition in any forum, there is cheating.

        That still doesn't explain why JPM, who is supposedly so much more talented than the other Nascar drivers, is six positions lower in the season point standings than Casey Mears was last year with the same team.
      • 7 Years Ago
      whats up wit alz dese dam furreners recking my nascar racin.
      toyoda bargs in and now we got dese peple who cant speke english to good. sucks man. CHEVY and dale jr rulez!
      • 7 Years Ago
      f**ck formula one man, after what they just did with the Hamilton Japangate thing and let him walk away without a penalty i am done with that boring mafia. FOR GOOD.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ya left turns are extremely hard to master these days.

      hah sorry i couldnt resist. someone had to say it.

      Forza Formula Uno!
        • 7 Years Ago
        In 1949-50 Jaguar brought one of their formula cars over to compete in the 500. Before qualifying started they were packing up their stuff getting ready to go home when a reporter asked them why they were not going to compete? The team Manager said they had run out on wheels! They're wheels were made to flex for the many turns in a road race lap like TARGAFLORIA , on the ISLE of MAN, 1100 turns in one lap! They collapsed 30 wheels in 30 laps of practice here at Indianopolis! all on the right side and with right and left hand threads on the knock off there was no way to use the left hand wheel on the right so, go home and, he added, they thought they'd leave the Indy 500 to you Americans! They're drivers could compete but it would cost to much to convert their cars to all left hand turns! So much for the Race History report!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dario has a lot more experience on ovals than Montoya did, so it's going to be exciting to see how fast he can develop.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Montoya may not even win Rookie of The Year. He's barely leading David Ragan and Ragan's momentum is much greater than JPM's at the moment. That'd be pretty funny if he lost the rookie title to some kid with a whole lot less experience...
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm sorry, 5 more years of Stock Car racing then...

        Montoya never won an F1 Drivers Championship btw. His last championship was the 1999 CART title (which he beat Franchitti to on a wins tie breaker!)
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ragan has 6 years more Stock Car experience than Montoya and is running in one of the best teams on the grid. Montoya however is comfortably the top Ganassi driver at the moment.

        As for Franchitti, the man is a class act. A true gentleman, check out the article on NASCAR.com about him at the moment, it's fantastic. His ARCA run was solid and uneventful, which is what you want at this stage of the learning experience.

        Whilst Americans may not related to foreign drivers, they can relate to an Indy 500 Champion, no matter where they are from, and we currently have 3 scheduled for NASCAR in 2008 (Villeneuve, Franchitti, Montoya) and a possible 4th (Hornish).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, Ragan's first time in a late-Model series stock car was in 2002. He drove in one Busch race in 2004 and three races each of the next two years, for a total of 37 races in the series, compared to 21 for JPM. Montoya started racing carts in 1984, giving him 14 years of experience before Ragan ever sat behind the wheel. That said, Ragan does not have six years more stock car experience than JPM, which is why it's interesting that the difference in performance between the two is nill. I do find it interesting that an F1 Champion who was supposed to show the world how easy it was to 'just turn left' is getting his hat handed to him by nearly half the field of 'talentless stock car drivers'. By the way, JPM is 20th in the point standings, not 19th.

        My point of this is not to bash JPM- he's an amazing talent. The point is far too many racing elitists drone on and on about how it takes no talent or skill to race in Nascar, but yet when a former F1 champ competes, he's no better than a mid-pack racer over the duration of the season and can't finish as high in the points as his 'no talent' predecessor did last year.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This will be the down fall for Nascar. People will not relate to foreign drivers, they are already bored with Danica. They don't need more arrogant Montoya's wrecking people all season.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dario moving to NASCAR is a very bad idea. Since they never race in the rain, we won't get to see Ashley Judd in a wet dress.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's like Talladega Nights all over again. :D

      I jest, it will end up being veeeerrry interesting....
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