Kyle Larson could be unveiled as the new driver of the #42 Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing car on Friday, after they announced that a special press conference will take place at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday afternoon.

It emerged earlier this month that the team had decided not to renew the contract of Juan Pablo Montoya when it expires at the end of he current season. The former IndyCar champion and Indy 500 winner had been with the team for seven seasons, but had failed to achieve the sort of results expected from someone of the ex-F1 driver's pedigree.

There has been considerable speculation about who the team would sign up to take over the #42 in 2014, with Ryan Newman one mooted suggestion and Kurt Busch also admitting that he'd been approached by EGR before his deal with Stewart-Haas Racing was confirmed this week.

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But the timing of the press announcement - just half an hour before the start of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session for the AdvoCare 500 - suggests that the driver who will unveiled to the media on Friday will not be from the current Cup field, but rather from the Nationwide Series.

That strongly points to confirmation that Ganassi prot?g? Kyle Larson is being handed the opportunity to make his full-time Cup d?but with the team. He is under contract with EGR but currently on loan to the Turner Scott Motorsports this year to allow him to gain race experience in the second-tier championship.

Larson is eighth in the Nationwide Series standings with six top-five finishes, including two at Bristol, two at Iowa, one at Michigan and one at Charlotte. He also won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham earlier this year.

Although undoubtedly talented and with a big future ahead of him in the sport, there are some questions about whether landing a high-profile Cup seat so early in his career might be a case of too much, too soon for the 21-year-old.

When it was mooted that Larson could be in the frame to act as a stand-in for the injured Tony Stewart in the #14 car, Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli had suggested that this might not be in the youngster's best interests.

"Kyle Larson obviously is an awesome race car driver and we're only seeing the beginnings of what he has to offer the sport," Zipadelli said. "He's at a really crucial spot in his career of learning everything he can and not getting fed to the wolves too soon."

Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Montoya - who finished in third place in last weekend's night race at Bristol Motor Speedway - has yet to confirm what his plans are for 2014 now that he has been let go. "Number one choice winning car then we will worry about the rest," he told the media two weeks ago.

Furniture Row Racing is looking for a new driver in 2014 to replace the just-poached Kurt Busch, but the #78 might not fit Montoya's requirement of being a "winning car." Despite Busch's success at brining it within range of a Chase slot, the team has yet to visit victory lane in 2013.

Ganassi also has very competitive operations in GRAND-AM racing and Montoya has already driven for the endurance racing team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. And of course there's always the option of returning to IndyCar where he made his name in 1999 and 2000 that saw him quickly snapped up by F1.

"He'd be good in an IndyCar," Chip Ganassi Racing general manager Mike Hull said this week. "I think it would be great for our series to have him. Personally I have a lot of time for Juan.

"He's as good as he ever was when he drove an open-wheeler for us the first time," Hull added, pointing out that Montoya's international fame could help lift the profile of a series overshadowed in recent years by the meteoric rise of the popularity of NASCAR in the US.