JOLIET, Ill. -- Why would Juan Pablo Montoya trade Monte Carlo and Melbourne for Darlington and Martinsville -- and likely take a pay cut in the process?


The Formula One star said he's looking for a more enjoyable atmosphere and a new racing challenge, and thinks he'll find it in NASCAR next year.


"It's not how many millions you're making or how much money you're making," Montoya said at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday. "It's a matter of, three years down the line, are you going to be excited at what you're doing or not? And three years down the line, when I look at my career, I'll be a lot happier doing this."


Montoya will leave the McLaren-Mercedes F1 team at the end of the season, reuniting with team owner Chip Ganassi to drive the No. 42 car in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series. Montoya and Ganassi had considerable success together in Indy-style racing before Montoya left for F1 in 2001.


"This guy and I have had a lot of fun together over the years," Ganassi said. "I couldn't be more happy."


Neither could NASCAR, which will benefit from the Colombian's star power and international appeal. Montoya will become the only foreign-born and nonwhite driver regularly competing in Nextel Cup.


The elite F1 community tends to look down its nose at NASCAR's relatively unsophisticated style of racing, so Montoya's migration will give the series an air of credibility.


"The Europeans have to sit up and say, 'What's that about?'," said former driver Benny Parsons, now a television analyst.


Montoya said he is under no illusions that the transition is going to be easy.


"Coming here is going to be probably one of my toughest challenges ever," Montoya said.




Montoya's only experience driving a NASCAR car came in 2003, when he and Jeff Gordon swapped cars for exhibition laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


"It's a great thing for the sport to have such a world-class driver want to compete," Gordon said in a statement before the race. "I welcome him and respect him for accepting the challenge."


His real education might begin later this year, as Montoya may enter a few Busch Series races after the conclusion of the F1 season. He also will drive in the majority of Busch races next year to gain additional experience.


"He said, 'I want to get back to racing.' The guy loves racing. And what better place than here?"

Chip Ganassi on Juan Pablo Montoya


"It's not going to be a walk in the park," Ganassi said. "It's going to be a lot of work."


Montoya met with his new crew members and attended a closed-door meeting with NASCAR president Mike Helton and other series officials Sunday.


Although the F1 season runs through October, Montoya sounds like he's ready to put the sport in his rearview mirror and start rubbing fenders in NASCAR.


"Anyone that watches the race, they know it is not the most exciting thing you can watch," Montoya said of F1. "No disrespect. How hard is it to pass in Formula One? And if you pass and then you touch wheels, you're an animal."


Ganassi initially was skeptical that Montoya was serious about NASCAR, but quickly won his old boss over.


"He said, 'I want to get back to racing,"' Ganassi said. "The guy loves racing. And what better place than here?"


Montoya, who won a CART series championship in 1999 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 with Ganassi, will replace Casey Mears, who will drive for Hendrick Motorsports next season.


"It's nice to have somebody in your car who wants to be there, wants to be with your team, wants to be a part of it," Ganassi said.


Several open-wheel drivers who have tried to move to NASCAR have struggled with the adjustment. Tony Stewart left the Indy Racing League to become a two-time NASCAR champion, and Robby Gordon has three career victories. But others haven't fared as well.


The list of open-wheel drivers who flirted with NASCAR in recent years but haven't established themselves as top-level Nextel Cup material includes established drivers such as John Andretti, Christian Fittipaldi, Scott Pruett, Paul Tracy, Max Papis and Jimmy Vasser.


Hendrick Motorsports vice president of competition Ken Howes, a former F1 crew member, called Montoya's decision "brave." Howes figures he'll challenge for victories at NASCAR's two road-course races next year and, if given time, will be able to learn the other tracks.


Howes wishes Montoya good luck -- to a point.


"Hope he doesn't do too well," Howes said, smiling.



以上文章來自 ESPN.com








沒看錯...真的沒看錯.....小胖真的不玩了 T______________T



記得04年開始看F1的時候就對敢衝敢撞的小胖很有印象,



除了他跟舒家兄弟一直不合以外,還有在賽道上常常做出一些熱血的超越動作,



身上流著的是中南美洲民族的滾滾熱血,小胖開賽車才真的叫做賽車啊!



沒想到咱們的哥倫比亞毒梟就要這樣離開歐洲市場,



回北美洲做生意了.....(大哭)







以後想要在F1賽道上看到霸氣(爸氣)十足的小胖真的是不可能的事情了......>"<



聽到小胖要離開F1去NASCAR發展的消息時真的很震驚,



隨即是十二萬分的不捨......



小胖在場上除了帶給大家熱血的比賽外,還提供了不少笑料,



例如05年打網球受傷,變身成網球王子,還差一點進攻溫布頓公開賽XDDD



或是敢在媒體前說全世界最危險的事情就是娶到 Connie 大嫂 XD



還有那句罵撞他頭的攝影師大哥的:Fxxxing idiot....XDD



小胖這幾年來真的為F1帶來好多歡笑和熱血,現在他要離開了,



我真的非常非常非常的捨不得啊 T_________T



原本還以為賣車輪要組一個西班牙無敵艦隊的......(淚)



沒想到居然是這種下場.....



小胖,不要走啦,F1很缺 bad boy 呢....>"<







暗自希望小胖會像新條小輝同學一樣,再回到F1的場上奮鬥......

小胖我們永遠都會等著你喔!



p.s 其實小胖可以考慮去練練網球,費大神最近還挺缺對手的XDDDDDDDDD

 

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