Long Pond II: Dodge Motorsport - Ganassi inteview

CHIP GANASSI (Car owner Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Dodge Intrepid R/Ts) Ganassi, 43, is a 1982 graduate of Duquesne University. He's part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Vice President of the FRG group, a Pittsburgh holding...

CHIP GANASSI (Car owner Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Dodge Intrepid R/Ts)

Ganassi, 43, is a 1982 graduate of Duquesne University. He's part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Vice President of the FRG group, a Pittsburgh holding company with interests in telecommunications and manufacturing. In his second year as car owner of the two-car Dodge Intrepid teams with drivers Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer, his drivers rank first and 23rd, respectively, in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings after 19 of 36 events.

Marlin finished 14th in the New England 300 at New Hampshire

International Speedway yesterday and remained first in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings for the 18th straight race. He added six points to his lead over second-place Mark Martin and now leads Martin by 55 points. Marlin has scored 15 top-15 finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in 19 races this season. He is also the only driver to remain in the top 10 in the point standings since the Daytona 500 in 2001. Marlin was ranked fifth in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings after 19 races one year ago.

Marlin finished fourth at Pocono in June, his third fourth-place finish in his last four spring races at Pocono. Marlin started 10th and finished 16th in the Pennsylvania 500 last year.

Spencer, a native of Berwick, Pa., started 18th and finished 21st earlier this year at Pocono. He finished 12th in last year's Pennsylvania 500.

Ganassi talks about his two teams and the outlook for the remainder of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season.

"Mathematically somebody could score as many points in the second half of the season as we did in the first half. I guess we could fall out of every race. I don't understand why everyone wants to talk about the championship when we've got half of the season left. There's a lot of racing left to go, and are we going to change the way we do things? No. We're going to race 'em hard every weekend. We haven't changed anything since the beginning of the season. I don't think we're going to change anything now. We can always get better and make small adjustments.

"This is just a reflection of the people who are on the team. People are doing the work day in and day out. I'd like to think we have less distractions than other teams. At least we don't have fistfights with one another. Our people don't take shots at each other. I'd like to think that we have a minimal amount of ancillary distractions. We have a minimal amount of BS on this team.

"I'm not one of the guys out there in the Winston Cup shop working day in and day out. In fact, I haven't been there in the past three weeks. I was sick and on vacation. It's just a reflection of a group of people down there who want the same thing. That's nice as a team.

"On every team there's some star. Sometime it's the driver. Sometime it's the owner. Sometime it's the crew chief or the right front tire guy. The star on our team is our performance on the track. In this business, everybody has an ego. On this team everybody puts the team in front of their own accomplishments.

"It doesn't matter what make car you have. If you don't know whether to put two or four tires on and if you don't know when to call your pit stops, everybody is going to have to catch a break here or there. There's not a guy this year who's won a race that didn't catch a break along the way. I just think that's the way things have gone the last 13 races. I don't think it's anything to get excited about. This business takes a lot of people making a lot of decisions day in and day out. I thought we had a shot at winning the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. If we didn't have that last yellow, I think we could have won.

"I think it's important for people on our team to just focus on our team and our equipment and the job we're doing. I don't have time to worry about anybody else's team or anybody else's manufacturer. This is a tough enough business just worrying about your team.

"People don't understand there's a big range of mountains between the east and west parts of Pennsylvania. It's just like two different states. I like Pocono, but it's no connection for me. It's sad, but that's just the way Pennsylvania is. It took the settlers 60 years to get over the Appalachian Mountains. Once they got over those mountains, it only took them 17 years to get to the west coast. Points are the same whether you win at Pocono or at Bristol.

"I don't know if the 40 team has to pick up any to stay on top. We've just got to run the way we're most comfortable running You can't be in the business and change this and that in midseason. We're not going to start putting the pressure on Sterling Marlin and acting like we're nervous and stupid. We're going to run like we have been running. When it comes time to count the points at the end of the year, we're going to be wherever we deserve to be.

"You've always got situations like the deal in the pits at Chicago that makes people start second guessing and dissecting every little thing throughout the season. Whatever the latest faux pas was, that's the whole reason for the disintergration of the team from here on out. I don't think that's necessarily the case

"If you come in this business expecting respect, you're going to be let down Add the money up and the points up and whatever you've got that's about what you deserve. This is the same game I've been playing. It just takes longer to put the tires on than it does to put the fuel in. I'm having a great time. I don't need a translator for these guys, they don't show up with stupid haircuts every other day. They don't require as much per diem, either.

"I'd like to be at every race the rest of the way, but I think these guys would get a little tired of me if I started hanging around every day. I don't have that much to bring to the deal. Once in awhile, they'll ask me for advice. I guess it's better than them not asking me for advice. It means they've got a little respect for me. They might value my opinion every now and then. They don't always follow it though. If they always followed the advice of the man with the money, it would be interesting. Everybody would be listening to Mark Cuban, the guy who owns the Dallas Mavericks. He has all the money. Maybe he needs a race team, too."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmy Spencer , Sterling Marlin , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates , Mark Martin
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing