Two-Timing: Miami's Montoya to Race Nationwide and Sprint during Ford Championship Weekend
MIAMI—Miami-resident Juan Pablo Montoya—one of just two drivers in history to win a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Formula One, as well as the Indianapolis 500—will pull double duty during Ford Championship Weekend, Nov. 14-16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, by running both Saturday's Nationwide Series Ford 300 and Sunday's Sprint Cup Ford 400.
The announcement came courtesy of Homestead-Miami Speedway and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. NASCAR will crown champions in all three of its top tiers—the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series—during Ford Championship Weekend, the annual South Florida sellout set for Nov. 14-16. Montoya, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, will debut a new POWERade paint scheme in the Saturday afternoon Nationwide finale, a race sandwiched by the Craftsman Truck (Friday night) and Sprint Cup Series (Sunday afternoon) season enders.
"When the POWERade team came to me and said they wanted to run a race in the Nationwide Series, I immediately wanted to run at Homestead-Miami Speedway," said Montoya, a Colombian native who today calls Miami home.
"The track will always be special to me for a couple of reasons: First of all, I consider Homestead-Miami my home track, as Miami is my home and it's where my wife and I are raising our kids; secondly, I ran my first Cup race at Homestead-Miami in 2006, so it's a place I will always remember in my NASCAR career."
"It's quite a statement that Juan Pablo wants to run the Nationwide Series race here at Homestead-Miami Speedway," said track president Curtis Gray. "Last year, we had six of the Top 12/Chase Sprint Cup drivers competing in Saturday's Nationwide race, and we're expecting a similar field this November. Now toss in the intensity Juan Pablo will bring to his own backyard—as well as a packed house of hometown and Colombian fans—and a Cup-competitive field just got that much stronger." Montoya's Sprint Cup debut took place at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2006, when the former open-wheel star began 31st and for a time led the race en route to an eventual 14th-place finish.
"The track at Homestead-Miami itself is exciting because of the [18-to-20 degree] progressive banking," Montoya said. "You can run the bottom—which should be the shortest and fastest way around the track—but if your car works high you can make up ground and pass up there. Plus we get to run under the lights, which the fans love, and my POWERade Dodge will look pretty cool at night."
Tickets are on sale now for Ford Championship Weekend 2008, Nov. 14-16 on Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series all crown champions under the lights. To secure individual or group tickets for NASCAR's finale, call (866) 409-RACE or visit www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.