Montoya could make NASCAR debut in August

UPDATE Juan Montoya is not expected to compete in NASCAR for at least a month because of legal issues with his ex-Formula One team. Ganassi said Wednesday that work continues to finalize Montoya's release and establish when he can drive Ganassi's cars. Ganassi said that even if Montoya could begin driving today, he wouldn't. The team isn't ready.

"It was just as much a surprise in our organization in Charlotte,'' Ganassi said of McLaren replacing Montoya. "They're all scrambling, putting different plans together.''

The legal paperwork in Montoya's release gives the team time to prepare for his debut whenever that takes place.

"There are different levels of being released,'' Ganassi said in a conference call. "Is it shake hands, see you later, get on with your life or is it something where he's going to be released to do some testing? Is he going to be released to do some racing? We're still walking through the mechanics of that. While he has been released from his driving duties with McLaren, I think there's still some paperwork that's probably being exchanged right now.''

Said Montoya: "It's a matter of talking and deciding what's best for me and what's best for DaimlerChrysler. It's that simple.''

07/12/06 Juan Pablo Montoya has suddenly become the hottest property in NASCAR, and folks at Michigan International Speedway would like to make the former Formula One star at home there as soon as possible.

MIS management contacted Montoya's new race team, Chip Ganassi Racing, on Tuesday to invite the Colombian to run both the ARCA Re/Max and Busch Grand National races at the Irish Hills track during the Nextel Cup weekend in August.

Just hours earlier, Team McLaren-Mercedes announced Pedro de la Rosa would replace Montoya in the remaining F1 races this season, starting with the French Grand Prix on Sunday. This came just a few days after Montoya's shocking decision to switch from F1 to NASCAR in 2007.

Bill Janitz, MIS public relations director, confirmed contact with Chip Ganassi Racing.

"We would be proud to welcome back an MIS champion in August, perhaps in an ARCA or Busch race, or both," Janitz said. Detroit Free Press

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