McLaren Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya has decided to turn his back on the top single-seater racing series and switch to NASCAR stock car racing next year.
The shock announcement came at last night's NASCAR race in Chicago, when team owner Chip Ganassi paraded Montoya in front of television cameras and stated that the Colombian would drive the number 42 Dodge in next year's Nextel Cup championship, the top eschelon of NASCAR racing.
Montoya's future at McLaren has been in doubt ever since Fernando Alonso signed for the team for 2007 and beyond. Our sister site Autosport.com says the deal between Ganassi and Montoya - who have worked together before - is a long-term one, making an eventual return to F1 unlikely.
NASCAR is America's premier racing series, with huge crowds, races often sold out and extensive, well-funded television coverage.