Montoya gets new crew chief

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing announced on Tuesday that Jim Pohlman is now the interim crew chief for the No. 42 Target Chevrolet with Juan Pablo Montoya.

Pohlman, who has worked for EGR since 2006 and most recently in research and development, replaced Brian Pattie.

"We are pleased to have someone of Jim’s caliber to be able to place into this role on the No. 42 team," team owner Chip Ganassi said. "Jim has been with us a number of years, and I have confidence in his abilities to move the team forward."

Pattie, 36, was the third crew chief for Montoya before being relieved of his duties Tuesday. He started working for EGR in 2004 and accepted the crew chief role with Montoya in May 2008. Together, Montoya and Pattie finished eighth in the points standings the following year in their first full season together. In 2010, Montoya picked up his second career win with his victory at Watkins Glen but finished 17th in the points standings.

This season, the No. 42 Target team started out solidly and remained in the Chase Zone through the first eight races but fell out of the top 10 after Montoya’s altercation with Ryan Newman and subsequent 29th-place finish. In the past 11 events, Montoya slid from 12th to 17th on Sunday.

Pattie acknowledged there have been problems in the pits, including Sunday’s fuel mileage issue when Montoya fell a gallon short.

“Yes, things haven’t gone as plan on pit road over the last few weeks,” Pattie said. “But there are some really nice cars waiting for him over the next three weeks. We have another new car for the Brickyard, and after performing the tire test there, Juan should be in really good shape.”

Pattie, who was already scheduled to be on vacation this week, received the news from Ganassi early Tuesday. Pattie remains with the company and plans to discuss his options with Ganassi when he returns next week.

“I still have a contract with them,” Pattie said. “I’d like to continue contributing in areas where I can use my managerial skills and work on car dynamics. I feel those are my strengths.”

Montoya, 35, joined Ganassi in 2006. He is currently negotiating his third NASCAR contract with the company, but no deal has been struck.