By now you’re painfully aware of the impending influx of Open Wheel talent poised to flood the ranks of the 2008 RASSCAR Sprint Cup series.
Like many in the motorsports arena, I was simply flabbergasted when Juan Pablo Montoya dropped his bombshell, deciding to leave the glamorous life as a top notch Formula 1 star and switch to the “World ‘O Roundy-round for 2007!
Yet MAC has adapted quickly to the variety of the Cheepster’s machinery he’s been given the task of chauffeuring, as he began the 2007 season by winning the Rolex 24 on his first try. He followed this up by punting his teammate and fellow Rolex 24 co-pilot Scot “Juicy fruit” Pruett off track in Monterey, Mexico to score his first Busch Cup victory. Then Monty put on a drivin’ clinic at Sears Point Infineon Raceway to claim his very first Nextell Cup victory and has since collected a second consecutive Rolex timepiece with his good buddies Pruett and Franchitti.
Thus the floodgates were soon opened for the influx of Open wheel talent to migrate to the World Federation ‘O Rasslin,’ better known as Nextell Cup, err, Sprint Cup. As Champ Car rising star AJ Almendinger also made the jump to “Bombers” for the 2007 season with the enticement of “Deeter Majestic’s nine million offer to drive one of his Red Bull Toyota Camry’s.
Joining the parade next was ex-Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, who made his Cup debut at Talladega and is currently racing Craftsman Trucks also, as “Jack Vanilla” plans to run a full season in 2008 for Bill Davis Racing, also running Toy-yoter’s. (Now all he needs to do is find a sponsor)
Joining the party from Up North, Eh? Is former Open Wheel standout Patrick Carpentier, who ran selected Nextell Cup events last year and will run full time this season for Gilette-Evernham Racing.
Yet the biggest Open Wheel shoes flocking south (for the winter) are the past two year’s Indianapolis 500 and Indy Car champions, Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr. Franchitti will partner Montoya at Chip Ganassi, with Hornish driving a third Roger Penske entry. Thus, we’ll potentially see a total of four ex-Indy 500 champions contesting the high banks of Daytona this February.
Meanwhile American ex-Formula 1 pilot Scott Speed has landed in the ARCA series upon being released from Scuderia Toro Rosso last year in order to make room for the Hamburgular’s impending arrival. Speed will contest the entire 2008 ARCA/Re Max series with aspirations of graduating to RASSCAR’s top tier in the near future. Now all wee need is for the Princess and that blue suede shoe guy to join the fray…