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Auto Racing Legend Juan Montoya Leaves Formula One For NASCAR
Famous Formula One racer Juan Pablo Montoya has officially turned in his keys and has embarked on a new career in NASCAR. As of Tuesday July 11, Montoya announced that he will be driving on Chip Ganassi's Nextel Cup team. Being that there are 4 Nextel Cup races left it is a sure thing that Montoya will make his debut some time this year before the season ends. Rumor has it that this was purely a financial move as the potential growth and current earnings of NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers have far outweighed that of their Formula One counterparts.
As announced in his latest press release, "Juan Pablo is an exciting driver and immensely likeable character who will undoubtedly make a successful transition to the NASCAR scene," said Ron Dennis, CEO and Chairman of the McLaren Group. "We have agreed that with so many things happening in Juan Pablo's life right now, he should take some time out of the car and prepare professionally and personally for the future." His decision to join NASCAR has been well taken to by both NASCAR and Formula One. "We believe that Juan Pablo's decision to move to NASCAR is very important for him professionally and we will give him every support to ensure that it is a successful transition," said Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. Formula One will miss a very talented and adored driver, and NASCAR will gain a great driver with a hugely diverse and international following.
NASCAR officials have been looking to add diversity to their Nextel Cup races as announced earlier in the year and Juan Pablo will be a very welcome addition. This will be a boon to NASCAR as it tries to maintain the remarkable growth it has seen in the past decade. By adding diversity they are looking to add to their fan base and change the misconception that it is a southern or redneck sport. With racetracks being built in Chicago, Las Vegas and California and races being held in new countries like Canada this will only help to further diversify the sport. Yes, NASCAR still has a huge southern following and should be very thankful for it as this is the most intensely loyal fan base of any sport.
Montoya will definitely add character, charm, and ability to the NASCAR crowd. He will also, undoubtedly, keep the other NASCAR drivers on their toes with his immense experience and superior open road skills. Montoya's debut will definitely be a much anticipated and welcome event for NASCAR fans everywhere.
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