Juan Pablo Montoya was reportedly fired from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing effective at the end of this season. Montoya is currently in his seventh season in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.
But it appears that, unless Montoya can secure a ride with another organization for 2014, his time with NASCAR may be coming to a close.
The report comes by way of several organizations, including USA Today, which sited two team officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity, as officials are not supposed to speak about driver contracts.
While Montoya has seen success in IndyCar and Formula One, he has just two wins in his seven seasons with NASCAR’s top series. He is currently ranked 22nd in points and has five top 10s in the past 22 starts.
And Juan Pablo Montoya’s last big headline came in 2012 during the Daytona 500. The former Formula One driver crashed into a jet dryer and caused a fire bad enough to damage the track’s pavement.
ESPN notes that the decision was confirmed to them by EGR minority owner Felix Sabates, who commented that it is too early to say who could replace Montoya. However, Sabates assured Target will remain the primary sponsor of the No. 42 car.
Montoya’s team was apparently told of his firing during a meeting on Tuesday. But despite the sad ending, at least with EGR, the driver will stay with the team until the end of the season. A search for his replacement will begin immediately. However, it’s not yet known how long it will take the team to announce its new driver.
Prospects for Montoya’s replacement include veteran drivers Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, and AJ Allmendinger. However, EGR development driver Kyle Larson, who is currently racing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, is also a rumored replacement.
Along with his two wins in the Sprint Cup series, Montoya also brought a win in for Chip Ganassi in the 2000 Indianapolis 500. But that wasn’t enough for EGR.
Juan Pablo Montoya was already in the last year of his contract with EGR. The decision to not renew his contract was apparently difficult for team owner Ganassi, who is close with the NASCAR driver.
Are you surprised to hear that Juan Pablo Montoya won’t return to EGR? Who do you think should replace him?