Few vehicles on the NASCAR circuit look as good or are as identifiable on the track as the No. 42 Target Chevrolet with its red-and-white color scheme and distinctive Bullseye logo adorning the hood. Unfortunately for Target, style doesn’t count for anything in auto racing and driver Juan Pablo Montoya failed to win a race this year.
Montoya did run fast enough in qualifying on several occasions to win the pole position in two races and he finished in the top five twice and the top ten eight other times. However, the Target team never got on track to the point where it consistently finished strong in enough races to earn it a spot among the field of 12 teams who qualify to compete in the final 10 races of the year for NASCAR’s championship Sprint Cup.
Even the final race of the season was a disappointment for Target as Montoya slid in the wall midway through the race and wound up finishing 31st, while Tony Steward drove the No. 14 Office Depot car to a spectacular win to claim the championship. The good thing for Montoya is NASCAR has a very short off season and when championship racing resumes in February at Daytona he will have a new crew chief guiding the team. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced that Chris Heroy was named crew chief of the Target Chevrolet just days after the final race of the season in Homestead, Fla.
“We are very excited to bring Chris into the organization and to have him work with Juan Pablo,” said team owner 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 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing from Hendrick Motorsports where he began in 2004, most recently as lead engineer on the No. 5 car for six of the previous seven years. The other year he held the same role on the No. 88. In addition, he was paired with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson as crew chief in a number or their Nationwide Series races during the 2011 season.
Heroy’s top priority will be to ensure Montoya and Target qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Spring Cup as was the case in 2009 when Montoya finished 8th in the standings. He finished 21st this year.