Dario Franchitti and the No. 40 Texaco/Havoline-The Hartford Dodge Team (NSCS) Franchitti at Infineon: This weekend will mark Dario Franchitti's first NASCAR Cup Series start at Infineon Raceway. It will not be his first time at the road...
Dario Franchitti and the No. 40 Texaco/Havoline-The Hartford Dodge Team (NSCS)
Franchitti at Infineon: This weekend will mark Dario Franchitti's first NASCAR Cup Series start at Infineon Raceway. It will not be his first time at the road course. In three IndyCar starts at the track, Franchitti averaged a ninth-place starting position and averaged a fourth-place finish. His best start came in 2007 where he earned a pole. The year before that, in 2006, he scored his best finish of second place.
Texaco/Havoline and The Hartford On Board: CGRFS welcomes two familiar sponsors to the No. 40 Cup car, Texaco/Havoline and The Hartford. The Hartford is back after having sponsored the car at Bristol with Franchitti behind the wheel. For 200 years, The Hartford has been a leading insurer of homes and autos. Texaco/Havoline, one of the primary sponsors on the No. 42 Cup Series car driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, will also sponsor the No. 40 car this weekend.
Franchitti Race Rewind: Dario Franchitti was poised for a good weekend at the Michigan International Speedway. After posting top-10 practice runs, Franchitti was eager to qualify the No. 40 Dodge. Unfortunately, rain swept in washing out qualifying, leaving Franchitti with a 41st-place starting position. After posting good practice times on Saturday, the team went into Sunday confident with the car. By lap 25, Franchitti reported the car was misfiring and it was discovered it had a broken valve spring. Franchitti pulled the car behind the wall on lap 30 and was relegated to a 43rd-place finish.
Scott Pruett and the No. 41 Target Dodge Team (NSCS)
Pruett steps into the No. 41 Target Dodge: CGRFS announced the team's road-racing veteran driver Scott Pruett will make the switch from Daytona Prototypes to stock cars to compete in the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series road course race of the season at Infineon Raceway this Sunday. Pruett, the California native who currently leads the Rolex Sports Car Series championship for CGRFS with teammate Memo Rojas, will pilot the No. 41 Target Dodge entry for the Cup race around the 1.99-mile track in Sonoma, Calif., on Sunday.
Pruett's NASCAR History: Pruett is no stranger to NEXTEL Cup racing with 39 career starts under his belt. He has had six starts at Infineon Raceway, with a best showing of third in 2004. Additionally, the California native has a total of nine career starts in NNS competition, which include two pole positions (one was earned in March 2007 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and the other driving for Kevin Lepage at Watkins Glen International in July 2001), one top-five and three top-10 finishes. Pruett has made a total of 11 stock car starts on road courses for CGRFS in both NNS and Sprint Cup Series, scoring one pole, four top-five finishes and six top-10 finishes.
Wingo at Sonoma: Crew Chief Donnie Wingo led the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Juan Pablo Montoya to his first NSCS victory at Infineon Raceway last year. That trip to victory lane was not Wingo's first at the California road course. He led Geoffrey Bodine to a victory in 1993. More recently, Wingo coached the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team to a second-place finish in 2004 with former CGRFS driver Jamie McMurray.
In the Points: Last weekend's 34th-place finish at Michigan International Raceway kept Sorenson 32nd in the championship driver standings, with a post-Michigan total of 1179 points. The No. 41 entry is 32nd in the series' owner standings with 1179 points, 358 points out of the top 20.
Happy Birthday, Wheldon!: Target teammate and IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon will turn 30 this Sunday, June 22. This is Wheldon's third season driving for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series. Wheldon will celebrate his birthday this weekend at Iowa Speedway.
Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge (NSCS)
Return to Sonoma: This weekend marks the anniversary of Montoya's historic win at Infineon Raceway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Montoya drove the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge to a 4.097-second victory over Kevin Harvick in the NSCS road course race in Sonoma. It was Montoya's first Cup victory in just his 17th start, and a first for the pairing of Texaco/Havoline and CGRFS. Other notables:
* Became the first rookie to win at Infineon Raceway
* First Latino to win a race in NASCAR's top series
* Set a record for winning from the deepest starting spot -- 32nd
* Joined racing legends Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win races in the Cup, IndyCar and Formula One
* The Bogota, Colombia-native became just the third foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR Cup event
"Last year, I felt a ton of pressure heading into Infineon because everyone expected me to run well and win because of my background," said Montoya. "It was also the headquarters of my sponsor Texaco/Havoline. This year I don't feel any pressure. We are focused on making our race cars and our race team better. We had a great test at VIR a couple of week ago and we found a few things that should help us this weekend. Our goal is to run well, and if we have a shot at the win obviously we are going to take it."
Pattie on the Road Courses: Crew Chief Brian Pattie is no stranger to success on road courses. Pattie has three victories at Watkins Glen International (WGI) in the Nationwide Series as well as four poles positions - three at WGI and one at Mexico City. He also sat atop the pit box in one Cup race at WGI with driver Ron Fellows, the duo started seventh and finished second to Jeff Gordon in the Joe Nemechek-owned car. Pattie also competed at Infineon with Fellows in 2001. He started 13th, led 20 laps but was involved in an accident that dropped him to 38th.
In Preparation: Pattie, Montoya and members of the No. 42 crew tested at Virginia International Raceway on June 3 in preparation for this weekend's road course race.
Three to Go: 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. Montoya has contributed to 15 of Ganassi's victories over five series: 10 CART, one IndyCar, one Sprint Cup, one Nationwide and two Grand Am.
2008 Standings: Montoya slipped two spots in the NSCS driver standings after his second-consecutive 38th-place finish. He now sits 22nd and 276 points out of the 12th position, the cut-off for the "Chase for the Sprint Cup."