February 14, 2007
Daytona Beach Fl. - Another sign of the growth of NASCAR is the move of driver Juan Pablo Montoya to the stock car circuit from Formula One.
Montoya is the first formula one driver to ever race a full season on the Nextel Cup circuit and NASCAR hopes his presence will help them expand their ever growing fan base.
He has drank milk at Indy.
And won on the famed streets of Monaco.
Now 31-year old Juan Pablo Montoya is ready to match his driving skills against the best in NASCAR Nextel Cup.
Juan Pablo Montoya said "I have experienced all kinds of open wheel racing. So far, I have done one Cup race and I had a blast."
Owner Chip Ganassi hired Montoya to boost his racing team that hasn't won a cup race since 2002.
Montoya's departure from Formula One is also a boost for NASCAR.
Tony Stewart said "For sure it has got worldwide attention now for sure when you bring somebody like Juan here."
And NASCAR his hoping that Montoya will bring Latin American and other fans from around the world to the sport of stock car racing.
Montoya said "I think it is a great sport. And if anyone comes and watches they will fall in love with it."
There are not a lot of rookies who find victory lane in their first season on the Nextel Cup.
But the drivers in the garage say they won't be surprised to see Montoya in victory lane this year.
Stewart said "There is no doubt in my mind he will win a race this season. He has definitely got the talent and he is with an organization that knows how to win races.
Montoya said " I think you have to take it race by race and see where you need to improve and just bring it up a notch every weekend. And by the end of the year if you did that, you problaby did win a race and had a good year."
Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 in his first appearance at the Brickyard.
And he certanly has a chance to be in victory lane Sunday night in Daytona.