SBD/Issue 103/NASCAR Season Preview

Juan Pablo Montoya Begins Foray Into NASCAR

All Eyes On Montoya As He Makes
Nextel Cup Debut At Daytona
Juan Pablo Montoya’s switch from F1 racing to NASCAR “dovetails with two major initiatives” for the sport’s growth –- “finding an international foothold and diversifying its drivers and fan base — and his impact might not end there,” according to Nate Ryan in a front-page Cover Story in USA TODAY. Driver Kyle Petty said, “If [Montoya is] competitive like he can be and some of the other stars align, this could be a major event in the history of the sport.” Driver Jeff Burton added, “We have a great opportunity for NASCAR fans to understand that, ‘Man those guys who turn left and right over there in Europe, they’re pretty damn good.’ And I think we also have a great opportunity for F1 fans to understand that this is really hard and that we’re not just a bunch of dumb rednecks with cherry pickers taking engines out of trees. I think it’s going to be an eye-opener for everybody.” Montoya, who is the “only auto racing driver” represented by William Morris Agency (WMA), will have his rookie year documented by the company for a movie or TV series. WMA agent Philip Button said that Montoya is also “drawing interest for endorsements from many companies particularly from the beverage and consumer electronics industries” (USA TODAY, 2/16). Montoya is also profiled in this week’s issue of SI (THE DAILY).

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