- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi has lured a top engineer away from Hendrick Motorsports to be Juan Pablo Montoya’s crew chief next season.

Chris Heroy had been in the Hendrick organization since 2004, most recently as the lead engineer for both Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He’s also been a crew chief for Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson in Nationwide Series races last year.

“We are very excited to bring Chris into the organization and to have him work with Juan Pablo,” Ganassi said. “We think he will be a great addition to the Target team and believe his combined engineering and crew chief background should help him work well with both our engineers and competition folks to move our program forward.

“He has a great reputation in the industry, and we are happy to bring him into the mix.”

Montoya has had several crew chiefs since moving from Formula One to NASCAR in 2007. Brian Pattie was replaced midseason by Jim Pohlman, and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing said Tuesday that Pohlman will remain with the organization.

Montoya finished the 2011 season ranked 21st in the Sprint Cup standings. He has two career victories and is the only foreign-born driver with multiple wins in NASCAR’s top series.

The Colombian is also an Indianapolis 500 winner, former CART champion and had seven F1 victories.

“I am really looking forward to working with the guys in the shop at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to help the 42 improve their performance,” Heroy said. “Juan Pablo is a great driver, and they have a lot of great people here, so I am thrilled to get this opportunity.”

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