Michigan: Dodge - Chip Ganassi interview

CHIP GANASSI (Owner Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) NOTE: Ganassi announced Sunday morning that Discount Tire Co. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) have joined forces. Discount Tire Co. will become the "Official Sponsor...

CHIP GANASSI (Owner Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)

NOTE: Ganassi announced Sunday morning that Discount Tire Co. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) have joined forces. Discount Tire Co. will become the "Official Sponsor of Talent Development" for CGRFS. Discount Tire will be an associate sponsor on all three CGRFS NEXTEL Cup Series cars and the primary sponsor of a NASCAR Busch Series Dodge for eight races in 2004. The Busch Series car will be driven by Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears and ASA driver Reed Sorensen.

COMMENT ON STERLING MARLIN'S FUTURE WITH THE 40 TEAM

"Sterling is not going anywhere. I asked him yesterday if somebody else was throwing him out besides me. I ain't throwing him out. I'm just going to send our young guys to language class so they can understand him (said in jest)."

COMMENT ON MAKING CUT FOR FINAL 10 RACES "It's important to do that. On one end, I can tell you sponsors are asking about it if we're going to be in the top 10. Our other partners are asking if we're going to be in the top 10. I think we have a shot at it. On the other hand, I think you could not be in the top 10 and still win races at the end of the season and still grab headlines. I'm confident we'll have at least one car in there."

COMMENT ON PROGRESS CASEY MEARS IS MAKING "Obviously he's made a big jump in his career from last year to this year. We're certainly happy with that, and if he makes a jump like that again we'll be looking pretty good. You expect him to do better. He couldn't do much worse. Maybe he's the most improved guy out there. We would have been happy if he were in the top 25. It looks like he's headed for something much better than that. We're happy with his progress at this point of the season."

CAN YOU ELABORATE ON YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE BASED ON WHAT YOU ANNOUNCED TODAY? "Well, any time you make long, long, long range plans you get surprised. Our plan is to keep making solid steps and growing our business and being involved in all facets of the sport whether it's Cup, Busch, ARCA, you never know. It could be trucks. I don't know where it's headed. You've got to make solid steps. I've got a lot of ground to make up. Until I can qualify all my cars like Rick Hendrick, I've got a lot to make up and a lot to learn. I had dinner last night with all three drivers and all three crew chiefs. We were discussing some challenges we have within the team, and at the end of the night they said on the good side we have three drivers that get along and three crew chiefs that all get along. Everybody is open book, and I have no complaints there."

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR YOUR TEAMS? "We bit off a lot this year. We're going to be moving our business in a couple of weeks and at the same time we're trying to repair crashed cars. I think with this top 10 points idea you're seeing some crashed cars and some guys taking chances that are changing the Monday through Friday dynamics of our team a little bit. It's not that anybody is hitting the panic button or anything, but we have some work to do to do a better job."

DO YOU THINK THE RACING WILL GET WILDER AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE FINAL 10? "I do. It's racing. It's not called NASCAR driving. It's called NASCAR racing."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PAST TWO RACES? "I think it's dangerous when drivers start using their cars as weapons. I think that's something that needs to be sanctioned strongly by the sanctioning body. I think in terms of the yellow flags and things, I don't know why they can't go back to the last green lap. That takes a lot of judgment out of things and takes out a lot of ambiguity. Just go to the last green lap, realign the field that way and let's go. I think we have to shorten these yellow periods. As soon as we get back to racing the more the fans are going to like it."

WHAT SHOULD NASCAR DO TO MAKE SURE CARS AREN'T USED AS WEAPONS? "They moved those guys to the back of the lead lap last week. I'm sure they're going to want those points back heading into race 26. We're here to race and put on a show, and I think that stinks up the show when guys do that. It's over and done with now. If I had all the answers I'd have my own truck over there. I'd have my own truck and my own series. I don't have all the answers. It'd sure be nice if they could figure out a way to do that (end a race under green). Like I said, I don't have the definitive answer on that."

ARE YOU HAVING FUN WITH ALL THIS? "I'm having a lot of fun. Are you kidding? I was in Watkins Glen on Friday for the Grand-Am. I was at the Formula One race yesterday, and I'm here today. I'm having a lot of fun."

DO YOU SEE THE SPORT CHANGING? "It's always changing. The sport is constantly changing. It just so happens that (point system) is one aspect you guys are looking at right now. It changes every day. The minute it stops changing somebody will take it over. That's why there are so many people out there in campers and so many people here at the ARCA race yesterday. The sport is constantly changing, and that's good."

-dodge-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing