Talladega: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Bryan Clauson and the No. 40 Memorex Dodge Team Facts: * Testing 1, 2, 3 ...: Bryan Clauson and his No. 40 Memorex team stopped by Talladega Superspeedway last Tuesday, September 25, to participate in the ARCA RE/MAX Series test session.

Bryan Clauson and the No. 40 Memorex Dodge Team Facts:

* Testing 1, 2, 3 ...: Bryan Clauson and his No. 40 Memorex team stopped by Talladega Superspeedway last Tuesday, September 25, to participate in the ARCA RE/MAX Series test session. Clauson was able to get a feel for the 2.66-mile tri-oval and preview of one of the fastest superspeedways on the circuit. He finished the one-day test session fourth fastest at 184.758 mph/51.83 seconds.

* One last run: This weekend's ARCA RE/MAX run at Talladega Superspeedway will mark Clauson's first ARCA start at the Alabama track, but his sixth and final ARCA start of the 2007 season. In just five career ARCA runs, Clauson has earned one win and four top-five finishes. In fact, his last ARCA effort concluded in Victory Lane at Gateway International Raceway this past August. His average start in ARCA competition is 8.8 and his average finish is 4.8.

* Getting to know you: Off the track, Clauson is just your average teenager. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends, playing basketball and cheering on his favorite sports teams--the Sacramento Kings and the Indianapolis Colts. His favorite music is country, especially Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney. He has his embarrassing moments as well he says. Following his win at Gateway, he hesitantly admits, he had to be walked through how to do a burnout over the radio by crew chief Brad Parrott. Shortly after his celebration, he needed directions finding Victory Lane.

* 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 race team's 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 and there are limited tickets available, so don't delay. Call 1-866-888-6388 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."

* Get all of their autographs this October: They say the early bird gets the worm, well in NASCAR the early fan gets the autograph. Clauson, along with his fellow CGRFS drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Reed Sorenson, David Stremme and Memos Rojas (Grand-Am), will be taking a couple hours out of their fast-pace schedules on Friday, October 12, to stop by the CGRFS Concord, N.C., race shop to meet fans and sign autographs. The two-hour driver autograph session is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and will run through 1 p.m. ET. In order to get an autograph, wristbands are required. To pick up a wristband, stop by the CGRFS gift shop or call toll free 1-866-888-6388 to reserve one. Note: Wristband holders are guaranteed an autograph from each driver (between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET Friday, October 12). Limit one autograph item per person per driver. Limit two wristbands per phone reservation.

* Chassis: Brad Parrott and his No. 40 Memorex crew are bringing chassis #601 to Talladega this weekend. Stremme and the No. 40 CGRFS NEXTEL Cup team last raced #601 this past July at the Daytona International Speedway (DIS) and scored a top-25 finish (started 26th, finished 22nd).

Dario Franchitti and the No. 42 Target Dodge Team Facts:

* Franchitti joins Ganassi: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced earlier this week 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 run for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year title along with an assortment of NASCAR Busch Series races.

* The study session begins at Talladega: 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.

* He's got talent: Franchitti joins CGRFS with impressive open-wheel credentials. The 34-year-old recently captured the 2007 Indianapolis 500 title, becoming only the second Scottish-born driver to win the race (Jim Clark in 1965), before going on to win the 2007 IndyCar Series Championship over Ganassi driver Scott Dixon in the final turn of the season. With over 180 starts under his belt between the CART and IndyCar Series resulting in 18 wins, 17 poles, 63 top-five and 95 top-10 finishes (1997-2007), Franchitti is the winningest driver in U.S. open-wheel history from Great Britain. He also captured the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring in the LMP2 Class earlier this season in his first ever American Le Mans Series start -- much like Montoya did in February at the Rolex 24 At Daytona for CGRFS in his first sports car start.

* Where did he start? Franchitti began racing karts in 1984 at age 11, landing his first crown in the Scottish Junior Kart Championship. After securing back-to-back British Junior Kart championships (1985-1986), the Scottish Kart championship (1988), the Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship (1991) and the British Formula Vauxhall Lotus Championship (1993), he competed and won in the British Formula 3 Championship (1994) and the FIA International and German Touring Car Championships (1995-1996) before making the move to CART in 1997.

* Ganassi Globalization: The addition of Franchitti to Ganassi's stable of drivers furthers the team's international appeal, which now represents seven countries across five series (United States-Reed Sorenson-NNCS, Bryan Clauson-NBS, Scott Pruett-Grand Am, Rob Finlay-Grand Am, Chris Festa-Indy Pro Series; Colombia-Montoya-NNCS; Scotland-Franchitti-NNCS; New Zealand-Scott Dixon-IndyCar; England-Dan Wheldon-IndyCar; Canada-Michael Valiante-Grand Am; and Mexico-Memo Rojas-Grand Am).

* Chassis: Crew chief Brian Pattie and the No. 42 Target ARCA team will race chassis #006 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The last time #006 raced this year was at Talladega in April with Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team aboard. Montoya and team were running in the top 10 on lap 149 of the 192-lap competition, when a steering failure forced Montoya to bring the car to pit road. The team repaired the car, but fell six laps down to the leaders to finish the Talladega 499 in the 31st position (started 24th).

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing