Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya is one of a handful of drivers who has won races in Formula 1—where he drove for such top teams such as Williams and McLaren—and CART, where he was series champ in 1999 and the Indy 500 winner in 2000. But the fiery South American driver shocked the F1 establishment in 2006 when he left the series to drive for Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team.
Though he initially struggled with the drastically different car dynamics between the heavy stock cars and the very agile formula cars in the early going, he was able to display his outstanding driving skills on NASCAR's road courses. His first victory came at California's Infineon Raceway in 2007 and by the end of the season he was named rookie of the year.
In his third season in 2009, Chip Ganassi Racing team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. to become Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing. This merger armed Montoya with a fast Chevrolet, and he made progress in advancing through NASCAR's ranks. In the ninth Nextel cup race of the season he scored his first career pole position and in the 21st race he placed a strong 2nd, finishing just 0.869 behind Denny Hamlin. He placed an excellent 3rd in four races that season and qualified for NASCAR's "Chase for the Sprint Cup" playoff system. He also finished 2nd in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona behind the wheel of a Lexus.
Montoya won his second NASCAR race in 2010 and, in doing so, became the first non-American-born racing driver to win multiple races in NASCAR. With this amazing car control, speed and competitive spirit, this IndyCar/Formula One/NASCAR veteran garnered a huge fan base and has become an integral part of NASCAR racing.