Third Time’s a Charm for Montoya
Image details: Dodge Challenger 500 Qualifying served by picapp.com
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.