Juan Pablo Montoya has new crew chief

Updated: July 20, 2011, 5:18 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Almost a year after being chastised for a late pit call that ended Juan Pablo Montoya's chances of winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, crew chief Brian Pattie is out.

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing announced on Tuesday that Jim Pohlman, who has been with the organization since 2006 in various roles, will replace Pattie heading into next weekend's Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis.

The move came with Montoya 17th in points, 59 out of the 10th position and a guaranteed spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

"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 in a release. "I have confidence in his abilities to move the team forward."

Pattie had been Montoya's crew chief since the 12th race of the 2008 season. He guided Montoya to only one win and one appearance in the Chase.

"I'm going to help Jim get up to speed because the next three races are all races we can win," said Pattie, who was informed by Ganassi over the phone Tuesday.

Pattie, who was in the final year of his contract, said he's not been released.

It is the third crew chief change for a NASCAR team in a week. Greg Biffle's Roush Fenway Racing team made a change last week and AJ Allmendinger's Richard Petty Motorsports team made one on Monday.

The timing of Montoya's change is interesting because it comes before a return to Indy, where last season the Colombian-born driver led 86 of the first 139 laps before caution came out for debris with 21 laps to go.

Pattie's decision to take four tires when EGR teammate and eventual winner Jamie McMurray and five others took two was crucial and caused some immediate stress between Montoya and his crew chief.

Montoya was so upset after crashing out later that he wouldn't comment. Pattie was so distraught that he wouldn't leave his hauler. His only words were delivered by an EGR public relations representative.

"Bad call," Pattie said. "Crew chief error. We should have taken two tires."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter