Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' Media Day Has International Flair CONCORD, N.C. (January 21, 2008)--Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' portion of NASCAR's Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Tour took a unique, international approach today...
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' Media Day Has International Flair
CONCORD, N.C. (January 21, 2008)--Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' portion of NASCAR's Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Tour took a unique, international approach today as the team's full driver lineup was unveiled at the Embassy Suites in Concord, N.C. Team Owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates greeted the media with team management and crew chiefs spanning their Concord and Indianapolis-based shops to display an international lineup representing six countries, 12 series championships, 136 wins, three Indy 500 championships and five Rolex 24 wins.
NOTES OF INTEREST
* NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- Entering its eighth season under the CGRFS banner, the team returns with a three-car lineup. New to the operation is Competition Manager Steve Hmiel who brings over 30 years of motorsports experience.
- Dario Franchitti (Scotland), No. 40 Dodge Charger -- The reigning IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner campaigns his first full season in 2008 after a combined six starts in 2007 across ARCA and NASCAR (Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series). Will run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year title in 2008.
- Reed Sorenson (USA), No. 41 Target Dodge Charger -- Improved to 22nd in Cup points at the end of his sophomore season (24th in 2006), which included his first career pole position in Indianapolis where he became the youngest to do so in IMS history.
- Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), No.42 Texaco/Havoline And Wrigley's Dodge Charger -- The reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year begins his second season in Sprint Cup after winning races in three different series for CGRFS in 2007 (Grand-Am, Rolex 24 At Daytona; NNS, Mexico City; and NSCS, Sonoma). Finished a team-best 20th in Cup points in 2007.
* NASCAR Nationwide Series -- Entering its fifth season, the team added two more wins to its tally in 2007. The program continues to play a crucial role in the overall education of the race team, from driver to pit crew members.
- Dario Franchitti (Scotland), No. 41 Fastenal Dodge Charger -- Will run a partial NNS schedule in 2007, combining with Reed Sorenson, road course veteran Scott Pruett and CGRFS development driver Kevin Hamlin.
- Bryan Clauson (USA), No. 41 Dodge Charger -- Made his NNS debut and started five events in 2007, highlighted by his first career ARCA win at Gateway.
* IRL IndyCar Series -- Entering its 19th season in American open wheel racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) returns under the guidance of the team's Indianapolis-based Managing Director Mike Hull. After finishing second in the championship the past two years, TCGR adds a newcomer to its IndyCar arsenal.
- Scott Dixon (New Zealand), No. 9 Target Honda Dallara -- The 2003 IndyCar champion's hopes of a repeat title run came up short in the final lap of the 2007 season after recording four wins.
- Dan Wheldon (England), No. 10 Target Honda Dallara -- The 2005 IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner took two races in 2007 before finishing fourth in IRL points.
- Alex Lloyd (England) -- Signed following the 2007 season, the reigning Indy Pro Series champion joins TCGR for 2008, starting with the defense of the team's Rolex 24 At Daytona title.
* Grand-Am Rolex Series -- Entering its fifth season, TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates burst onto the sports car scene in 2004, winning the Daytona Prototype team and driver championships, and has since won back-to-back Rolex 24 At Daytonas (2006-2007).
- Scott Pruett (USA), No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Riley -- The 2004 series champion continues to rewrite the Rolex record books as the winningest driver on the winningest team in series history.
- Memo Rojas (Mexico), No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Riley -- Returns as co-driver with Pruett to improve on the team's third straight championship runner-up finish.
Chip Ganassi, Team Owner
"It has never mattered to me a whole lot about where my drivers are from. We have one from the West coast, one from the mid-West and one from the East coast. We have a Colombian, a New Zealander, a Scot, a Mexican and two Brits but they were all brought here for only one reason and that was to WIN -- pure and simple."
Felix Sabates, Team Owner
"I'm very excited about this season. I know this (media tour) is primarily a NASCAR event, but we just couldn't help but to showcase all of our race cars and talent. This is going to be tremendous year for this organization across the board, because we are going to win and we're going to win a lot. Not only because of these guys on the stage, but because of the guys at this table (points to crew chiefs and GM's). Chip pretty much said it all and I can't wait to get the season started."
Steve Lauletta, President
"Chip does a good job explaining why he goes out and finds these drivers and that is because they are the best in the world. We all know it takes a lot of funding to run this sport and we need to develop a story for how to translate this talent and go out and take care of our current sponsors as well as new ones. I've spent a majority of my career working on the sponsor side of the business and the first thing I would always ask, whether it was an NFL team or a baseball team or racing team is, what makes you different from anybody else? As you can see, we are different and we're excited about telling that story."