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Montoya to NASCAR

The big news of the moment is Juan Pablo Montoya’s announcement that he will be driving in the NASCAR series next year. Never mind the resulting speculation on who will get his seat in the McLaren; the really surprising thing is this unusual move from F1 to stock cars.

Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya

Years ago, Derek Warwick made the trip but in the other direction – I think he was the only F1 driver ever to have started in stock cars. And we have seen many F1 drivers opt for European touring car races after stepping down from F1. But F1 to NASCAR? That’s almost a contradiction in terms.

Yet it does make some sense. Montoya has driven for Chip Ganassi before in CART races and they have a lot of respect for each other. Together they dominated CART and this gave Juan Pablo his initial break into F1. A renewal of the partnership seems quite logical from this point of view.

And what does Montoya have left to prove? He has won races in F1 and shown that he is amongst the quickest of drivers. Some would say that he has a tendency to be a bit wild on the track but the same was said of Jody Scheckter and Riccardo Patrese; look how successful they were in the long run.

In common with others of the F1 drivers fraternity, Montoya has reached a position where financial considerations are no longer an important factor in decisions. He can opt for the form of racing that he finds most fun and, indeed, has hinted that F1 is no longer as enjoyable as he first found it. Whatever your feelings toward NASCAR (and, personally, I find it pretty boring), there is no denying that it must be great fun for the drivers.

So I wish Juan Pablo well as he makes the move into so different a form of racing. He will make his mark amongst the “good ole boys”, I’m sure. And, who knows? I might even start watching a few NASCAR races to see how he’s getting on.

5 Responses to “Montoya to NASCAR”

  1. I just can’t keep up, with things getting busted so nicely (Sorry, but I was daydreaming about figure-8 courses, and lost concentration). Thank God I can speak English, tho.

    Okay, I admit stopping to watch some of these F1s zoom around corners on certain lazy Sunday afternoons, but I remember them doing so unrealistically that my head refused to swim at the lack of sway. Crikey! Cor! and Good Gosh Amighty! What is with those goofy vehicles? Then it dawned on me a couple of articles back (by my international bud, Gone) that I see F!s as slot cars, which always bugged me to begin with. Those babies NEVER stayed on the track.

    Then I would switch channels to find those 3 stooges or the NASCAR cats doing their things on seperate channels (once I found an infomercial showing how easy it is to play a piano without lessons or being able to read music, but that is another tale). None of it works. The sounds are unreal. Close shots of cars whooshing past a camera mostly make me dizzy. There is no smell of fuels or other important things, and the wife put her foot down at burning tires inside the cave. What is a man to do?

    And here is this fellow Montoya. I wonder if he misses the days when him and his teen-aged pals and their girlfriends drove to a select portion of blacktop, miles from town and far from the eyes of the authorities, and between the hours of midnight and dawn, went on to learn about the thrill of racing cars?

  2. Don’t get me started on slot cars, Way – they used to be a hobby of mine too!

    But you are right – to get the full effect of any form of auto racing, it’s necessary to be there amid the sounds, the smells and the heat. There is nothing quite like it. Were I a millionaire, I would be leaning over the balcony of some ritzy hotel in Monte Carlo, watching the cars whizz by below, or cooling my thirst with a beer as those same cars hurtle past in Bahrain or Melbourne. As it is, I must content myself with what the teevee chooses to show me. They do make a very good job of it these days, however, and I miss none of the action.

    As for Montoya, he’s Colombian so perhaps it was not blacktop he was driving on but the nearest decent stretch of jungle road.

  3. Ahh. Now I am thinking of bananas and bullets!

  4. And coffee – don’t forget the coffee!

  5. Oh, yes! Coffee — the Other drug! Sorry, but I was hopped up on bananas so it must have slipped my mind.

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