Juan Pablo Montoya will not return to Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing in 2014


Juan Pablo Montoya will not drive the No. 42 car for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing next season, as the team has chosen not renew his contract.

Juan Pablo Montoya will not return to Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing next season, the team has confirmed.

The news was first reported by the Associated Press, stating EGR employees were informed of the decision Tuesday afternoon.

"We did not renew the contract for next year," EGR co-owner Felix Sabates told SiriusXM NASCAR. "It was a difficult decision, but he understands. You have to move on in life sometimes."

A former winner of the Indianapolis 500 along with seven races in Formula One, Montoya arrived in NASCAR with much fanfare in 2007.

However for most of his time in Sprint Cup, the results did not meet expectations, as he won just two races -- both on road courses -- and had just a lone appearance in the Chase. Since qualifying for the playoffs in 2009, Montoya subsequently has finished no better than 17th in points -- he's currently ranked 22nd with five top-10s in 22 races.

Montoya and car owner Chip Ganassi have a close relationship, as the Colombian drove for Ganassi in CART where the pair won the championship in 1999. But as EGR has underachieved in recent years, the organization has undertaken numerous initiatives to pull out of its slump with exception of changing drivers -- until now.

"It's frustrating for everybody when you know you've got good equipment and you can't seem to put everything together still," Sabates told SiriusXM NASCAR. "You can't point a finger at one person or two person because we win as a team and we lose as a team.

"We have had a lot of things that haven't gone well this year and last year that wasn't anybody's fault, but it happens. Sometimes you have to make a change, and hopefully you have that bad luck go away."

If Ganassi is looking to boost the performance of his team, he has no shortage of viable candidates to choose from. Two of the more prominent names available are Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch. Newman won the Brickyard 400 July 28, while Busch is a former Cup champion and currently sits 11th overall driving for single-car Furniture Row Racing.

Another option would be to elevate Kyle Larson, who is considered a phenom and has drawn comparisons to Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. But the 21-year-old Larson is a rookie in the Nationwide Series and would probably be best-served with another season of development before moving to NASCAR's premiere division.

Jamie McMurray is expected to continue driving the second EGR entry in 2014.

As for Montoya's future plans, they are unknown. If he is unable to land a ride with another top-flight Cup team, his road racing background would make him a natural fit in the newly formed United SportsCar Racing.

Montoya owns three wins in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, all driving for Ganassi, and Sabates hinted at this possibility when on SiriusXM NASCAR.

"We are still hoping to get some things worked out with Juan," Sabates said. "We just don't want to elaborate on that now."

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