Montoya moved in to NASCAR full time in 2007 following the end of his Formula 1 career at McLaren, and took 2 wins in 255 starts, chiefly with Chip Ganassi Racing.
In a comprehensive interview with Motorsport Report’s Julia Piquet,” Montoya said he believes the simple fact that most countries encourage karting on asphalt means drivers from outside the united states are at a disadvantage compared to those rising throughout the positions in North America.
Mexican Daniel Suarez is now the only foreign-born driver competing in the top-tier of NASCAR competition with StewartHaas Racing.
“The culture when you mature racing in Latin America or even Europe, you mature racing karts on circuits and asphalt, you really don’t mature doing ovals or soil,” said Montoya.
“Dirt can be a significant portion of things you will need to do to be good at NASCAR. This has been one of my main battles at the beginning. When you get out of shape in an open-wheel car and you think you’re likely to wreck, as you’re crashing, that is when the NASCAR starts working as,’okay , this is really where I want to be’.
“That feeling when you feel you’re likely to wreck, it’s tough because at this time you’re no more than right. Therefore, emotionally to know,’Hey, you’re OK [the vehicle is just loose], it’s tough.”
He turned into the first foreign-born motorist to qualify to the final 10 shootout referred to as’The Chase’ that year.
“We had a go at the championship until I think Texas, when [Carl] Edwards struck us,” said Montoya, who this year is rival in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship with Acura Team Penske to get another season and at the Le Mans 24 Hours with LMP2 squad United Autosports.
“Until that point we were at a really good position. We had a strong car. One of those difficult things will be, Ganassi has never become a premier team in NASCAR. They really do a really good job, and when I went I knew from Day 1, [Chip Ganassi] told me,’We aren’t a high team but we would like to take it there’.
We won races and made it to the Chase and we were at a really good position.
“Subsequently lots of changes were made from the team and most of the essential people that left the cars move fast travelled. A good deal of politicking went on and that I feel the wrong people got fired.”