Ganassi supportive of Larson and Chevrolet despite struggles
Chip Ganassi has expressed his support for both his NASCAR ace and for manufacturer Chevrolet as they struggle to make a positive impression on the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season.
Larson, who has finished within the top 10 in the driver standings for the last three years, currently lies 19th in the 2019 points table with just two top-10 finishes to his name in the opening nine rounds.
His latest failure came at Richmond last Saturday night when, after making contact with a rival, the body of Larson’s Chevy was rubbing on the left rear tire, obliging him to make an unscheduled stop for repairs. When he returned to the track, the left-rear was still fouling the metalwork resulting in another deflation and hard contact with the wall, and Larson posted the first retirement of the race.
The 26-year-old Californian has five wins from 192 Cup starts, and although he didn’t score a win last season, he amassed 10 top-three finishes. This year, Larson’s best result is a sixth at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway.
Asked about his driver’s apparent unhappy demeanor of late, Ganassi told media: “I don’t blame him. He’s in what I would call one of those rough career slumps, for one reason or another.
“I’d like to tell you that it was his fault or mine. We have had our moments when it’s been the team’s fault or his but it’s a snowball thing – once some little thing happens it’s often times out of everyone’s control. It’s just unfortunate.
“He has my full support, he has the team’s full support, and he knows that there’s nothing that we the team want more than to put a weekend together. And it’ll be coming soon, I’m confident of that.”
Ganassi also expressed loyalty to Chevrolet which has yet to score a Cup win this season, and hasn’t won the Manufacturers’ championship since 2015. He suggested that the statistics for 2019 are colored by the fact that Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota, six wins) and Penske Racing (Ford, three wins) have adapted better to NASCAR’s latest aero package and engine specifications.
“I think the reality of it is that is if you were to rank [Chevrolet] with the other two manufacturers, you’d certainly say the other two are in front of them," he said.
“Having said that, we’re also in a situation where it looks to me like two teams have dominated the formula this year and so… good for them, I guess, bad for the rest of us.
“I think it’s not only a rules issue, but some teams have had trouble adapting to the rules, adapting to some of the new ways NASCAR is doing things. And I think Chevrolet is caught up in a little bit of that.
“It’s so, so, so close out there, just the littlest thing… You don’t need to be off by much, and when you’re on, you don’t have to be on by much.
“Chevrolet certainly has some work to do. But they have my full support.”
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