Montoya gets third crew chief of season as Ganassi releases Elledge

5/20/2008 - NASCAR

Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for Sprint Cup driver Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Dodge, has been released from his duties at Chip Ganassi Racing, team officials confirmed Tuesday.

Brian Pattie, 32, will replace Elledge on a interim basis. Pattie was the crew chief for CGR's No. 41 Nationwide car.

Elledge, 37, has been at CGR since 2003. He recently moved to Montoya's car when Ganassi officials swapped crew chiefs with the No. 41 Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson.

Donnie Wingo moved from Montoya to Sorenson while Elledge switched to Montoya before the race at Talladega on April 27.

Montoya finished a season-best second at Talladega, but was 32nd at Richmond and 23rd at Darlington in the two races since that event. Montoya ranks 16th in the Cup standings, 76 points outside the 12th-place Chase cutoff spot.

Elledge began his crew chief career in 1998 with driver Hut Stricklin. Elledge spent two seasons at Andy Petree Racing as Bobby Hamilton's crew chief, earning his first victory with Hamilton at Talladega in 2001.

Elledge is the brother-in-law of Dale Earnhardt Jr. His wife is Earnhardt's older sister, Kelley, who also is Earnhardt's business manager.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.