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Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Third Time’s a Charm for Montoya

May 20, 2008 by Tim Zaegel  
Filed under Racing

Dodge Challenger 500 Qualifying
Image details: Dodge Challenger 500 Qualifying served by

For the third time in this NASCAR season - or, for the third time in the past month, for that matter – Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the no. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge Charger, will hear a different voice over the team radio during the race this weekend. After playing a round of Charity golf with Montoya on Monday, by Tuesday afternoon Jimmy Elledge had received the official word from Ganassi Racing that his tenure with the race team was over and that he was being released.

Elledge started the season off as the Crew Chief for the no. 41 team piloted by Reed Sorenson, but the team has been in the danger zone of slipping outside of the top-35 in owners points all season long, so Ganassi decided to swap Crew Chiefs between the two teams, sending Elledge to Montoya’s team, ending the relationship between he and Donnie Wingo, who had served at the helm for JPM ever since Montoya made his break into the NASCAR ranks.

Elledge’s time working with Montoya has lasted the course of only three points races, which included a second place run at Talladega, but nothing noteworthy since then. With Elledge’s departure from the team, Ganassi has now named Brian Pattie as the interim crew chief for the no. 42 team until a permanent replacement is found.

Pattie has been with the organization since 2004 when he served as the Crew Chief for Reed Sorenson in the Nationwide Series. He also worked with Montoya in the Nationwide Series last year during his rookie season, and will now take his first swing at the Cup level beginning with the Coca Cola 600 this upcoming weekend. Montoya recently dropped out of the top-12 in the standings after a dismal run at Richmond, and has now fallen all the way down to 16th. The team will be hoping for an immediate connection between driver and chief, because too much more inter-team turmoil could quickly end Montoya’s bid for his first cut in the Chase for the Sprint Cup field.

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6 Responses to “Third Time’s a Charm for Montoya”
  1. Ron Ripple says:

    Hopefully Pattie will help Montoya earn his wings and get him back in the top 10. Changing Crew Cheifs that many times can not be good for a team. I wish them luck.

  2. RevJim says:

    You got that right, Ron. Look what it’s done to Casey Mears.

  3. Ryan Newman's #1 says:

    Is that gonna make him any better???? In my opinion, Roy Mccauley really did help Ryan Newman, but will the new crew chief for Montoya help him??? Crew Chiefs are important for winning races.

  4. Tim Zaegel says:

    What I don’t understand is why they ever decided to take Donnie Wingo away from the no. 42 team. That seemed like more of a move to benefit Franchitti, but to me, that team’s season is pretty much already a lost cause at this point. They’ve got one guy that’s a contender to crack the top-12 this year, and it might be wise to stop tinkering with his team.

  5. Andy says:

    Montoya is a fine driver. He needs to get into some negotiations with other teams or risk Gnasty ruining his career early.

  6. Tim Zaegel says:

    Ganassi’s brought JPM a pretty far way during his career … but, Chip seems like he’s gone a little off the deep end throughout the year. Tough call.

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