Talladega II: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

David Stremme and the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Team Facts: * New Face for 2008: CGRFS announced reigning Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti has signed a multi-year deal with the organization to compete in the ...

David Stremme and the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Team Facts:

* New Face for 2008: CGRFS announced reigning Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti has signed a multi-year deal with the organization to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) beginning in 2008. Franchitti will become the first European driver in the 59-year history of NASCAR to join the series full time when he assumes the driving duties of No. 40 Dodge Avenger next season. Franchitti will immediately begin a stock car development program similar to the one CGRFS teammate Montoya engaged in just over a season ago when he attempts to qualify a CGRFS-prepared No.42 Target Dodge in Friday's ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway. Franchitti now teams with Montoya, a fellow Indianapolis 500 Champion and former CART competitor. The duo took the 1999 CART title to the wire, with the current pilot of the No.42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge winning via a tiebreaker in the season finale.

* David in 'Dega: David Stremme returns behind the wheel of Coors Light Dodge this weekend for CGRFS. Stremme recorded a career-best finish of eighth in the spring event after starting 20th.

* Standings Update: Stremme and the No.40 car finished 17th at Kansas Speedway last weekend and remain 26th in NNCS points.

* Chassis: Crew chief Steve Lane and the No. 40 Dodge team have selected CoT chassis #749 for this weekend's UAW 500 at Talladega. This is the first time the chassis will see action.

Reed Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Dodge Team Facts:

* Helping out for Habitat: Sorenson joined over 40 Bank of America associate volunteers on Tuesday to help begin framing a Habitat for Humanity home. The event took place at Sorenson's hometown (Peachtree City, Ga.) track -- Atlanta Motor Speedway. The completed house will become home to an Atlanta family.

* A CoT First: This weekend's Talladega race will mark the first restrictor-plate race for NASCAR's new Car of Tomorrow. Sorenson, along with his CGRFS teammates and most other drivers and teams on the circuit participated in a two-day NASCAR sanctioned test at the track on Sept. 10 & 11.

* Points Update: Sorenson and the Target team maintained 23rd in the overall NEXTEL Cup Series driver standings their seventh-place finish in the last event at Kansas. The team is 149 points out of 20th with seven races remaining in the 2007 season.

* Chassis: Crew chief Jimmy Elledge has selected chassis #748 for this weekend's inaugural CoT restrictor-plate race.

* And the Winner is [drum roll, please] ... : CGRFS announced early last week the winner of its inaugural Drive4Design contest. Heath Harmon, of Spokane, Wash., was named the Grand Prize winner of the apparel design competition, which involved two fan favorites and essentials--a t-shirt and cap. Earlier this year, CGRFS invited NASCAR fans to turn their ideas into reality with the "Drive4Design Contest," encouraging motorsports enthusiasts to create their own unique fan gear. The CGRFS drivers took part in the selection process, along with other CGRFS team members. Harmon's creation will be produced in partnership with Chase Authentics and sold this fall at the CGRFS Concord, N.C., gift shop and at the online gift shop at www.chipganassiracing.com. In addition to watching his t-shirt and hat designs come to life, Harmon will be treated to a complimentary Charlotte race weekend trip for two this October. First prize winners were Ryan Villnow of New Richmond, Wis.; Stephen Whiting of Winter Springs, Fla.; Connie Deighton of Buckeye, Ariz.; and Daniel Barrr of Deep Gap, N.C. They will each receive a signed 1:24 scale diecast from CGRFS.

* Ladies' Night Returns to CGRFS: After a successful debut in 2006, Ladies' Night is returning this October to the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) Concord, N.C., race shop Wednesday, October 10 (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET), with more fun festivities. In addition to free admission and a complimentary behind-the-scenes tour of the CGRFS race shop, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be on the house for all attendees. Guests will also be treated to a fall fashion show that will include apparel designed by the CGRFS Drive4Design contest winner Heath Harmon, as well as a sneak peek at the new fall fashions. Special guest speakers will stop by to visit and talk about their racing careers and lives. Raffle prizes will also be given away with all proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Reservations are required, so don't delay. Call 1-800-888-6388 to reserve your spot for CGRFS Ladies' Night 2007 today. To learn more go to www.chipganassiracing.com and click on "Charlotte Race Week 2007."

Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger Team Facts:

*Sight that started it all: Juan Pablo Montoya made his first official start for the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) stock-car operation at Talladega Superspeedway one year ago in the ARCA race. Montoya qualified on the outside pole before experiencing drafting for the first time in a heavy stock car. Montoya raced several laps three wide, was involved in an incident on the track and dropped back as far as 31st before driving the No. 42 Dodge Charger across the finish line in third place.

In his first start in a NEXTEL Cup car at the 2.66-mile track in April, Montoya was running in the top 10 on lap 149 when a steering failure forced him to bring the Texaco/Havoline Dodge to pit road. The team repaired the car, but fell six laps down to the leader to finish the Talladega 499 in the 31st position.

* Standings: Montoya slipped one spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings after his 28th-place run at Kansas Speedway last weekend. He now sits 20th in the Driver Standings with just seven races left in the 2007 season. Montoya and the Texaco/Havoline team have earned three outside-poles, one win, three-top five and five top-10 finishes this season.

* Meet Montoya: Montoya will be signing autographs for fans from 4 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 6 at the Talladega -Texaco Walk of Fame. The signing will be held at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in downtown Talladega. The park is located between Spring Street and Court Street.

* Rookie Race: Montoya leads the Raybestos Rookie Standings by 14 points over David Ragan (223-209) with seven races to go. Montoya's 20th-place standing in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points is also the best of any rookie. The late Davey Allison, while piloting a Texaco/Havoline car, holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos® Rookie in the fall race at Talladega. Allison led seven times for 77 laps on his way to a second place-finish in 1987.

* Chassis: Crew Chief Donnie Wingo and the Texaco/Havoline team are bringing chassis #750 to Talladega for the first Superspeedway race in a Dodge Avenger. Montoya and the team tested this chassis at the NASCAR-sanctioned test September 10. Montoya and the No. 42 crew were fourth quick in single car runs on Monday morning in their Dodge Avenger; third quick in single car runs Monday afternoon and fifth on the speed charts in Monday afternoon's drafting session. Teammate Reed Sorenson took over for Montoya on Tuesday with the No. 42 crew for the second day of the test.

* New Teammate, Old Friend: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced reigning Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti signed a multi-year deal with the organization to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2008 in the No. 40 Dodge Avenger. He will make his debut, like Montoya did one year ago, in the ARCA event at Talladega on Friday. Franchitti now teams with Montoya, a fellow Indianapolis 500 Champion and former CART competitor, after the duo took the 1999 CART title to the wire. Montoya won via a tiebreaker in the season finale.

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing