• Nov 23rd 2007 at 8:01AM
  • 15

Those who have followed the post-Talladega Nights stream of Formula One refugees fleeing to NASCAR will be happy to learn that former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya has been awarded Rookie of the Year in the Nextel Cup.

The announcement of Montoya's citation comes right after the series' season closer at Homestead, where Jimmie Johnson took the title after a hot season-long showdown with teammate and title rival Jeff Gordon.

Montoya becomes the fourth Rookie of the Year for Texaco/Havoline Racing, who, in their 21 years in NASCAR have also sponsored star newcomers Davey Allison (who got the award in 1987), Kenny Irwin, Jr. (1998) and Jamie McMurray (2003). Montoya's award also calls to memory the Rookie of the Year award which fellow former F1 driver Robert Doornbos took this year in Champ Cars with Team Minardi USA, which likewise crossed the ocean to oval tracks for this past season. They're coming for you, Ricky Bobby.

Press release after the jump.

[Source: Chip Ganassi Racing]

Press Release


CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 19, 2007) - Juan Pablo Montoya, with the support of
his Texaco/Havoline team, won the 2007 Raybestos Rookie of the Year
(ROY) title after collecting one win, three top-five and six top-10
finishes in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Montoya became the fourth
driver for his primary sponsor Texaco/Havoline to earn the prestigious
honor, and second for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS).

"This season has been a great season for me and the Texaco/Havoline
team," said Montoya. "Earning the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title is
an honor and it means a lot to me, my team and our sponsors. This title
and our victory at Infineon are things to cheer about within the team
and the organization. I think more importantly is how the performance
of my team and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates elevated through
the entire year. It gave me the opportunity to win this award."

Texaco/Havoline, which just celebrated its 21st year in the sport as a
primary sponsor, has adorned the firesuits of four rookie winners.
Montoya joins Davey Allison (1987), Kenny Irwin, Jr. (1998) and Jamie
McMurray (2003), who have carried the star to a rookie title. Montoya's
Crew Chief Donnie Wingo and his team have led their second rookie to the
title in four years. Wingo, along with a majority of the
Texaco/Havoline crew, worked with McMurray during his impressive rookie
run in 2003. It is CGRFS' second title in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

This is Montoya's second rookie title for Team Owner Chip Ganassi - he
captured the 1999 CART rookie title for Ganassi's open-wheel team. That
very season, at the age of 24, Montoya proceeded to set several CART
Series records en route to claiming his first and Ganassi's
fourth-consecutive CART Championship. Montoya claimed a record breaking
seven wins in his rookie season, including the most consecutive wins by
a rookie (three) and the most laps led by a rookie (954).

"I think winning the Raybestos Rookie of the Year was a really nice
ending to Juan's season," said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. "What he was
able to accomplish this season in just his first in a stockcar was
nothing short of phenomenal and the great thing is that he is only going
to get better. Now I just can't wait for 2008 to begin."

Montoya will participate in several media events over the next two weeks
to honor his rookie title. He will attend the Raybestos Rookie luncheon
tomorrow at the Speedway Club at Lowe's Motor Speedway from 11 a.m. to 1
p.m., and officially pull the yellow stripe from the bumper of his No.
42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge. Montoya will then travel to New York when the
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series invades the city next week. He will dine at
the 21 Club from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 28, with Cup Series
Champion Jimmie Johnson, and receive his official award at the NMPA
(National Motorsports Press Association) Myers Bros. lunch at Cipriani's
on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Montoya joins an impressive list of drivers who have captured the Rookie
of the Year title, and many who have gone on to win the NASCAR NEXTEL
Cup title. In addition to the drivers from Texaco/Havoline's history,
Montoya joins Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Gordon,
Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth who were all past ROY winners. Montoya
also becomes just the second driver in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup history born
outside the United States to win rookie of the year. Canadian Earl Ross
won the title in 1974.

About Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
With 13 wins already in 2007, including the company's best stretch in
history with six victories in 30 days, CGRFS continues to add to its
tally of 89 trips to victory lane. Chip Ganassi created his own one-car
IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with a new sponsor,
Target. Today, his teams include two IRL IndyCars, one Indy Pro Series
car and along with Felix Sabates he has three cars in the NASCAR NEXTEL
Cup Series, two entries in the NASCAR Busch Series and two Daytona
Prototypes in the world of Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series
racing. Ganassi's IndyCar teams have amassed five Championships and 56
wins since 1994; his NASCAR teams have 12 wins and a Rookie-of-the-Year
title; and the Grand American team has won two of the last three Rolex
Series Daytona Prototype Championships and is the two-time defending
Champions of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Chip Ganassi Racing operates out
of state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis, Ind., and
Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      So how many rookie of the year awards can one driver rack up? IIRC he was also Rookie of the Year while in CART.
      • 7 Years Ago
      just a correction: Robert Doornbos didn't cross the ocean willingly, and he didn't cross for oval tracks. The ChampCar World Series isn't Indycar, and they don't run on oval tracks as Indycar does.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Really a shame, because he is a horrible stock car driver and is destroying the sport. Of course, he brought in a new revenue stream for NASCAR royalties so they would award him the ROY award... NASCAR always has to make the all-important buck rather than solidify the integrity of the sport.
      • 7 Years Ago
      JPM a "horrible" stock car driver? As opposed to whom? Destroying the sport? How?
      While I will grant you that he didn't perform up to the lofty standards he established in open wheel racing (despite his road course win, which I expected), his starts and finishes reflected the state of his team and his inexperience in this form of racing. NASCAR is a damn sight different from any of the open wheel racing series JPM has competed in before. In fact, all things considered, JPM is of the all-time greats, considering the races he's won: Monaco, Monza, Brazil, Hockenheim, Silverstone, the Indy 500, 24 Hours of Daytona and the NASCAR race at Sears Point (or Infineon, or whatever they call it now).
      While I'm disappointed a man with his talent was not able to win the F1 championship, very few racers can boast of wins in Formula 1, at the Indy 500, the Daytona 24-hour, and NASCAR. Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney and perhaps Graham Hill, I believe. I will look it up to make sure.
        • 7 Years Ago
        When Waltrip, Earnhardt, Gordon and Johnson win the CART title, the Indy 500, and seven F1 races, including Monaco and Monza, then come talk to me.
        I agree with you that JPM doesn't use his head as much as he should, but facts are facts -- the only men to have won in the same series he's won in are Andretti and Gurney. He'll be fine in NASCAR, even if it doesn't lend itself to showcasing his talent.
        • 7 Years Ago
        gooch, i couldn't have said it better myself :)

        it will always be winston cup, but took a few seasons to get used to the new name, now i have to get used to sprint :)

        lake speed, a name i've not thought about in awhile. i think it was 1977 when he won the world karting title.

        i think stewart has the talent, but theres no way he would fit in across the pond lol. tony became such cup star that many forget how well he ran in the irl. i would have loved to have seen jeff gordon try some open wheeled. i know he only ran a few laps in montoyas car at indy in 03, but i thought he looked rather good for a good ole boy (prob the first time hes been called that :)

        like you, i can admire a guy who sticks it to schumi whenever possible! i wasnt a montoya fan when he was cart, but he won me over quickly last year after seeing his results in the busch and arca races, a how he handled himself welcoming the challenge, but not bringing an f1 attitude with him. one of the ballsiest moves in racing in a long time. to move directly from f1 to nascar.

        looking forward to 08!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually the same team finished higher in the points last year with Casey Mears at the helm.
        • 7 Years Ago
        No, no, no, don't get me wrong -- I know stock cars are tough and there is a small window of performance where the car feels its best and it allows its driver to perform his best. The best guys at getting into that zone now are Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. I'm not saying the others are not great drivers, because I have seen that many stock car drivers, when they get into other formula, actually tend to do very well. And while I understand you pointing out many of the old NASCAR drivers only drove in Winston Cup (sorry, I'm old school; Winston Cup sounds so right), I also understand many of the new generation drove in other formula. Heck, one NASCAR star -- his name is on the tip of my fingers, but I can't remember -- won the World Karting title before he was in NASCAR. I think it was Lake Speed. I do not doubt the driving talent and skill of the NASCAR fraternity.

        But there are drivers who tend to be able to translate their skill into any type of racing. Tony Stewart is a recent example. I think he would have performed like Montoya in F1 or in CART, if he had stuck with it. Aggressive and naturally fast.

        I am a Montoya fanboy -- I can't help but liking guys who stick it to the aristocracy (M. Schumacher) at every opportunity. I was a fan of Mansell as well. He and JPM share the trait of getting into a car and wringing every ounce of performance out of it. JPM hasn't seemed to be able to do that in NASCAR because the window of performance eludes that team so much, but he'll be fine.

        Jacques and Franchitti, er... we'll see.
        • 7 Years Ago
        gooch, the nascar names i mentioned don't have to win an indy 500 to prove anything. they drove their whole careers in one form, just as shchumi, senna etc did. are they not validated as greats either because they didn't win an indy 500 or cart championship?

        juan is now driving nascar so i made the comparison to some of it's best drivers. i'm a montoya fan, and a fan of nascar, so i'd like to see him stick around for awhile and put his name up there with those guys too.

        i have a feeling that you consider it to be fairly easy to drive a stock car, and felt that juan was going to walk all over everyone this year. juan had a GREAT year in 2007, and i'm sure hes only going to get better.

        on the flip side, in 2008 i think villeneuve is going to have the opposite season that juan did in 07. i think jacques (and franchitti) aren't going to find too much success next year. carpentier has a chance to make it i think. just my opinion from what i've seen. again this is all credited to how well juan did. he's made these drivers think its an easier transition to nascar than what it is.

        for the record gooch, i agree with you. juan is a great driver! im just holding off calling him a legend yet.
        • 7 Years Ago
        While I'm not a big Montoya fan there can be no doubt he is a racer that can win races in all kinds of race cars. He has proven himself to be a great driver. He certainly isn't responsible for any decline in NASCAR. That would be caused by the "Cookie cutter" cars that turned NASCAR into a spec series years ago. NASCAR will never be great racing until they go back to stock cars [ production based race cars].. and that will never happen in my life time, but an old man can dream...
      • 7 Years Ago
      That's a good point reveen. Of all the past Ganassi drivers, Montoya ranks about 3rd, after Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray. I dont know why people dislike him, he's a very talented driver.
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