Miami's Juan Pablo Montoya Third Foreign-Born Driver to Win in NASCAR'S Top Division


HOMESTEAD, FL- In a race NASCAR dubbed "one of the most compelling of the season," Miami resident Juan Pablo Montoya took the checkered flag at Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. It was the first Nextel Cup victory for the Colombian-born driver in this, his first full season on the NASCAR circuit. With the win, Montoya joins Mario Andretti as one of only two drivers in motorsports history to win the Indianapolis 500, and a race in both Formula One and the NEXTEL Cup Series. It marks only the third time—and first in more than three decades—that a foreign-born driver has won on NASCAR's top circuit (Canadian Earl Ross, 1974, Martinsville; Italian-born Andretti, 1967, Daytona 500). "It's as big a victory as I've had," Montoya told reporters after passing pole-sitter Jamie McMurray with fewer than 10 laps to race in the 110-lap event. "People ask me about winning Indy ….but open-wheel was what I was meant to be winning in—stock cars are not. To get a win in my first year is huge." Expectations for Montoya, who drives the No. 42 Dodge for team-owner Chip Ganassi Racing, took a plunge in just his 17th NASCAR race when he qualified a disappointing 32nd in the 43-car field. But in winning at Sonoma—under the threat of his car's gas tank running dry—he set an Infineon track record by becoming the first-ever driver to win from outside the Top 15 qualifiers. "I think it's a major moment for NASCAR, and it's a cool moment," Montoya said after the win. "I don't think there's any other racing you can start this far back and actually have a chance of winning." "It's an amazing accomplishment for the sport, as it exemplifies the success of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, relating to both participants and audience base," said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray. "This is a big step forward in the recognition of a world-class Hispanic driver. "With Juan Pablo being a South Florida resident, it's also very important for Homestead-Miami Speedway and our own outreach to an expanding fan base. He's reached the top level of some of the greatest stock car drivers in the world by winning a NEXTEL Cup event, which for him is a brand new circuit." NASCAR returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval Nov. 16-18, when the Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series all will crown champions under the lights during Ford Championship Weekend. The Ford 200/Craftsman Truck race is set for Friday and the Ford 300/Busch on Saturday; the weekend culminates with Sunday's Ford 400—the final race in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. In addition to the races, Ford Championship Weekend includes the Ford Racefest extravaganza in Ft. Lauderdale—featuring live concerts, interactive exhibits, NASCAR drivers and the NEXTEL Cup trophy on display—as well as the Homestead-Miami Speedway Celebrity Golf Classic and Ford's "Bailando Por La Copa" ("Dancing for the Cup") salsa-dance finals. For more information on Ford Championship Weekend and all Homestead-Miami Speedway events, log on to For tickets, call 866-409-RACE or visit Media Contact: Jay Rand - 305-230-5233 -

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