Chris Heroy will be Juan Pablo Montoya's crew chief for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing announced.
Following a difficult season for the team which included replacing Montoya's previous crew chief Brian Pattie, with Jim Pohlman filling in on an interim basis, the team has named Heroy as the man taking over the role. Heroy's hiring is part of a number of key personnel changes the team has been working on for the past few months, including the addition of former Red Bull man John Probst as technical director.
"We are very excited to bring Chris into the organization and to have him work with Juan Pablo," said Chip Ganassi. "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."
Heroy joins EGR from Hendrick Motorsports, where he worked since 2004 as both engineer and crew chief. For six of the past seven seasons he has been the lead engineer of the No. 5 car that veteran Mark Martin drove to runner-up in the championship two years ago. He has also served as crew chief for Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Nationwide Series sporadically, claiming top-five finishes in every occasion.
"I am really looking forward to working with the guys in the shop at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to help the 42 [car] improve their performance," said Heroy. "Juan Pablo is a great driver and they have a lot of great people here, so I am thrilled to get this opportunity."
Montoya, who signed a new multi-year deal with EGR this year, will work with Heroy as his fifth different crew chief since his first full season at Ganassi. The Colombian is optimistic about the restructuring taking place in the team allowing them to pick up where they left off in 2009, when they made Chase and finished eighth in the championship.
"This year has been horrible – we started well but then went south pretty fast," said Montoya. "We have a lot of changes. We have a new technical director, new aerodynamicist, more simulation and we're really doing what we should've done before. I think the team should be performing next year like it's supposed to. It should be fun."
In 2012, Montoya will start his sixth full season in the Sprint Cup Series, following stints in Formula 1 and IndyCars.