Chip Ganassi Racing Michigan, Kentucky preview

Dario Franchitti and the No. 40 Wrigley's& ...

Dario Franchitti and the No. 40 Wrigley's™ Juicy Fruit® Dodge Team (NSCS)

Franchitti's Return: Dario Franchitti returned to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing at Pocono Raceway this past weekend. That was his first start since he sustained an ankle injury in a NASCAR Nationwide Series on-track incident at Talladega Superspeedway just over six weeks ago. Despite an impressive qualifying run of 14th for the Pocono first-timer, Franchitti battled an ill-handling car and multiple on-track incidents ultimately finishing the race 41st.

Franchitti at Michigan: This weekend marks Franchitti's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Michigan International Speedway. However, this is not Franchitti's first time at the track. He has made four previous IndyCar starts there between 2004 and 2007. His average start at the track in the IRL is 6.5, which includes a first-place starting position in 2007. His average finishing position is 13.75 with a best of eighth in 2005.

Where They Stand: In the point's race for Rookie of the Year, Franchitti is in fifth place with 80 points, 57 points out of the lead. The No. 40 CGRFS car is 39th in owner's points, 188 points out of the 35th spot.

Reed Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Dodge Team (NSCS)

Father's Day Victory: Reed Sorenson won his first ARCA event in just his second start at Michigan International Speedway in 2004. Sorenson's dad, Brad, was present for his son's first trip to Victory Lane for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Brad notes he is not looking for another victory from his son this weekend, but a safe race and a solid top-15 finish would be ideal this Father's Day.

MIS History: Sorenson has made four NSCS starts at MIS. He has one top-five and two top-10 finishes. In the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Sorenson has competed in three events at the 2.0-mile D-shaped oval with one top-10 finish and a highest starting spot of fourth twice (2005, 2007).

97 and counting: Team Owner Chip Ganassi has 97 wins under his belt, leaving him just three wins away from reaching a milestone of 100 victories as an owner. His wins have come across a wide variety of racing series including CART, IndyCar, NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide, ARCA and Grand Am. Sorenson has four of those victories: three NNS and one ARCA.

Points Update: The Target Team currently stands 32nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Owner points standings. The team sits 160 points out of 25th and 23 points out of 30th.

Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Wrigley's™ Big Red® Dodge (NSCS)

Michigan '07: This will be Montoya's third NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway (MIS). He is averaging a 29th-place start and a 34th-place finish after finishing 43rd in the June event in 2007. However, Montoya is no stranger to success at the track in Brooklyn, Mich. He drove to Victory Lane at MIS in July of 2000 for Chip Ganassi Racing in the CART Series. He started the race from the seventh position and led 39 laps before taking the checkered flag. He also competed in the CART race in 1999 where he started third, led for 28 laps and finished on the podium in second place.

2008 Standings: Montoya slipped three spots in the NSCS driver standings after his 38th-place finish in Pocono last weekend. Montoya was running in the top 15 when the No. 07 car spun in front of him and Montoya had no where to go. The No. 42 crew was able to repair the heavily damaged Dodge and get Montoya back out on the track to finish the race. He now sits 20th in the standings and 175 points out of the 12th position, the cut-off for the "Chase for the Sprint Cup."

Local: Front tire carrier Eric Bilyeu hails from Waterford, Mich., about 80 miles from the track. Bilyeu attended college and played Hockey at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. He read a story in NASCAR Scene about the CGRFS pit crews, sent in a resume and became one of the first members of the team's pit crew development program.

Bryan Clauson and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Team (NNS)

Happy Birthday, Bryan!: Happy Birthday wishes go out to Bryan Clauson this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. The young racer turns 19 on Sunday, June 15.

Almost There: Team Owner Chip Ganassi is just three wins away from reaching a milestone of 100 victories as an owner. His wins have come across a wide variety of racing series including CART, IndyCar, NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide, ARCA and Grand Am. Clauson has contributed to one of Ganassi's victories and that was last August at Gateway International Raceway when the teenage racer scored his career-first stock car victory in the Gateway ARCA 150.

Clauson's First Start: Clauson will be making his first career Nationwide Series start at Kentucky Speedway this weekend. It won't be his first stock car start at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Clauson competed in the ARCA WLWT 150 last July, when he started 11th and then went on to finish 14th for CGRFS.

From Nashville: Clauson overcame a tight-handling No. 40 Fastenal Dodge at Nashville Superspeedway to finish in the 22nd position. After starting the race in 17th, Clauson came onto pit road just 10 laps into the race to make major adjustments to the car. Despite rejoining the field in the 34th position and having a suspected tire problem on lap 101, Clauson was able to fight his way back into the top-25, finishing 22nd.

Clauson at SMI Tracks: In his two seasons with CGRFS, Clauson has made five NNS starts at a Speedway Motorsports Inc. owned track. In those five starts, he has an average start of 15.6. His average finish position is 28.6.

Standings Update: The No. 40 Fastenal Team is 18th in the overall NNS owner standings. With a current tally of 1,606 points, the team is 44 points outside the top 15, 255 out of 10th and 656 points away from first.

Reed Sorenson reflects on Father's Day

What was your favorite Father's Day gift to your dad?

"I remember making my dad a wooden race car when I was about 7 years old. I would sneak over the neighbor's house and work on it after school for several of weeks. My parents still have the racecar in their house."

With Father's Day approaching, Bryan Clauson's father--Tim--answered a few questions in regard to raising a teenage racer.

Tim, what is probably the best father's day present you have ever received from Bryan to date? "Bryan won a couple of races for Penny Paniagua when he was 8 or 9 years old and got paid for it. It was probably 40 dollars or so. The next week was Father's day. He took his winnings and bought me a watch. I still have that watch."

Tim, what was it like for you when Bryan won his first ARCA race (Gateway International Raceway, August 2007)? What about his first NNS start (Richmond International Raceway, September 2007)? "In reality, when Bryan won Gateway in the ARCA car, I was a little lost. As a dad who had raced every race with him since he was 5 years old, it was the first time I thought 'wow he can do this WITHOUT me'. On the other hand I was so proud of Bryan and the whole team. To see the guys going to Victory Lane together was really special and I remember thinking 'WOW he CAN do this with out me'.

"Bryan's first Nationwide race was at Richmond and it was such a whirlwind. At times, it's hard to believe it was only 10 months ago. I wish I would have been more of a fan that day and just soaked it in."

Tim, Bryan refers to you as his role model, best friend and hero, how does that make you feel and how did you raise such a great kid? Do you have any good advice to current fathers or aspiring fathers out there? "Humbling is the best word to describe it. To have your son at 17, 18 or 19 years old to feel that way about you is very humbling. We had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together during some very formative years and it's funny how much a 5, 10, 15 year old can teach you if you are willing to listen. As far as raising a great kid, I think I would have to give a lot of that credit to his mother. We are very blessed as a family.

"As far as advice for fathers, spend a little time listening. On the way home from a particularly rough day, when I may have come off a little hard on Bryan about 20 minutes into the drive, he at 6 years old reaches across the front of the truck, turns down the radio and says, 'Dad? You know I wanted to win as much as you. Right?' That was a defining moment as a dad for me."

What would you consider to be the best Father's Day gift this year from Bryan? "A win at Kentucky [he smiles]? Seriously, I think he spilled the beans on the gift he is getting me. He is getting me some golf clubs because he has taken it up and he said it's a way we can hang out when we are not at the race track."

CHASSIS INFO

No. 40 Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Dodge (NSCS): Chassis #819. Franchitti will drive chassis #819 this weekend, the same chassis used for the No. 40 at the Darlington, Charlotte and Las Vegas races this year. It has a best finish of 31st at Charlotte with a best qualifying run of 14th at Darlington, both of those times Sterling Marlin was behind the wheel.

No. 41 Target Dodge (NSCS): Chassis #806. This chassis is the same car Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Team ran at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this season to an 18th-place finish. In addition, the Target Team raced this car in the All-Star Showdown last month at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Sorenson was racing in the top five prior to another car forcing Sorenson into the outside wall.

No. 42 Big Red Dodge (NSCS): Chassis #803. Montoya will compete in chassis #803 this weekend at Michigan. Montoya tested and ran this car at Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600. Despite struggling in qualifying for the 600-mile event and starting 42nd, Montoya was running in the top 20 when he spun through the grass and damaged the splitter braces. He finished the race in the 30th position.

No. 40 Fastenal Dodge (NNS): Chassis #654. Chassis #654 has only been used for a race once this year and that was at Charlotte. Clauson qualified the car in the 31st position and was charging forward through the field when a mid-race incident cut down one of his tires and forced him into the garage. He ultimately finished the race in the 40th position. The chassis was also used in a test at Charlotte.

-credit: cgr

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