Watkins Glen: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Chip Ganassi Racing Centurian Boats at The Glen on Sunday, August 10 (NSCS) Zippo 200 on Saturday, August 9 (NNS) Reed Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Dodge Team (NSCS) Watkins Glen History: Sorenson has made two starts at Watkins ...

Chip Ganassi Racing
Centurian Boats at The Glen on Sunday, August 10 (NSCS)
Zippo 200 on Saturday, August 9 (NNS)

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

Watkins Glen History: Sorenson has made two starts at Watkins Glen International in the Cup Series. In 2006, Sorenson started 40th, working his way through the field eventually finishing in 12th place. At last year's event, Sorenson drove the Target Dodge to a 28th-place finish after beginning the day in 24th. He also has two Nationwide Series starts at the track; his best finish of 28th came in 2006.

Pocono Results: Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Dodge team battled weather and a tight race car this past weekend at Pocono Raceway. They began the 500-mile event 32nd, but experienced tight conditions early on. Thanks to a competition caution on lap 20 the team was able to make track bar and air pressure adjustments. When rain began to fall on lap 126, the team elected to stay out moving them to 15th. Unfortunately, the team ran out of gas on lap 164, falling out of the top 20 and losing a lap to the leader. Sorenson finished the day 35th.

In the Points: The No. 41 Target Dodge fell one position in the NSCS Owner standings to 30th with a post-Pocono total of 1,715 points. The No. 41 Target team is 242 points out of 25th. In driver standings, Sorenson remains in the 31st position with 1,666 points.

On the Verge of History: A win this weekend in the NSCS, NNS or Grand-Am races would mark Chip Ganassi Racing Team's, Inc. (CGR) 14th victory of the 2008 season. The landmark win would beat last year's record for the team's most victories in a single season, which was 13 total. The next victory will also mark the 103rd for the team since 1994. The current tally of 13 is comprised of Scott Dixon's five IndyCar wins, Dan Wheldon's two IndyCar wins, and six Grand-Am Sports Car victories by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. The past three seasons for the team have proved to be the most successful in history (1990-2008), as 37 of the 102 wins have been scored in that stretch.

Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Big Red® Slim Pack™ Dodge (NSCS)

Spicing it up: Juan Pablo Montoya is back in the bold and spicy colors of Wrigley's Big Red this weekend at Watkins Glen International (WGI).

About last week: Montoya and the No. 42 team had issues at Pocono Raceway from the drop of the green flag. Montoya and team were able to overcome an early spark plug wire problem and battle back into the top 20. But a dropped valve on lap 145, ended the team's day. Montoya was credited with a 40th-place finish.

Watkins Glen: Montoya will make his second start at the Upstate New York track this weekend. In his rookie campaign, he was running sixth in the Wrigley's Big Red Dodge when he was hit from behind and sent spinning with less than 20 laps remaining in the road course race.

In Preparation: The No. 42 team and Montoya tested at Road Atlanta last week in preparation for the final road course race of the season at Watkins Glen.

Perfect Combo: Montoya already has two road course victories in NASCAR and will visit Watkins Glen International for the first time with Crew Chief Brian Pattie. Pattie has seen a tremendous amount of success at The Glen when he was a crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS). Pattie has three pole positions, one outside pole, three victories and one second-place finish to his credit at the road course.

2008 Standings: Montoya slipped to 25th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings following his 40th-place finish last weekend at Pocono Raceway.

NY Native: CGRFS Competition Director Steve Hmiel hails from Syracuse, north east of Watkins Glen. Hmiel joined the team last season with over 30 years of NASCAR experience. He has been winning races and championships with some of the most recognized teams in the business including Petty Enterprises, Roush-Fenway Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge (NNS)

FRANCHITTI TO RACE AT THE GLEN: CGRFS announced Wednesday Dario Franchitti will race for the organization in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) with his next run scheduled to take place this weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International behind the wheel of the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge. In addition to Watkins Glen, Franchitti is scheduled to run NNS races at Michigan International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Kansas Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway, and Phoenix International Raceway. Bryan Clauson and the team of CGRFS drivers will complete the balance of the 2008 schedule.

Franchitti commented, "I'm really looking forward to going to The Glen for my first Nationwide race there, as it's a track I have always enjoyed. The No. 40 Fastenal Dodge has been quick all year and as a team we're really looking forward to continued success throughout the rest of the season. I have confidence in Brad Parrott and the boys that we can get it done at Watkins Glen, particularly after a very productive and enjoyable test at Road Atlanta last week."

To date, Franchitti has 26 career NASCAR starts across all three series, 15 of those in NNS competition. His career best sixth-place NNS finish came earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and his best start is third, which he earned at Memphis Motorsports Park last October 2007. Franchitti came to CGRFS after winning the 2007 Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League Championship. In four full seasons in the IRL, Franchitti made 63 starts with eight wins, 30 top fives and 46 top 10s.

Franchitti at The Glen: This will be Franchitti's first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at Watkins Glen International. However, he has three consecutive IndyCar starts at the track, which were in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Franchitti scored his best start and finish in last season's event, qualifying third and finishing third.

Pruett on the Pole: Scott Pruett began his weekend at Montreal strong, putting up the fastest practice run, and then qualifying the car on the pole. He went on to lead 13 of the 48 rain-shortened laps. Unfortunately, impaired visibility from the driver's seat caused by rain conditions pushed the team back in the field. Ultimately, they ended their day in 22nd place.

Fastenal No. 40 at Road Courses: Fastenal has two starts at road courses in their first season as sponsor of the No. 40 Dodge in the Nationwide Series. Earlier this season, Pruett raced to a third-place finish at Mexico City after beginning the day on the outside pole. Last week at Montreal, he put the Fastenal Dodge on the pole, and then a malfunctioning windshield wiper in heavy rain sidetracked his potential strong run and placed him 22nd after struggling in the inclement weather.

Calinoff's Home Track: The spotter for the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge, Mike Calinoff, hails from New York State. His hometown of Smithtown is about 300 miles to the Southeast of Watkins Glen.


No. 41 Target Dodge (NSCS): Chassis #811. The No. 41 team has used this chassis twice this season. It has competed at Phoenix International Raceway and Infineon Raceway.

No. 42 Big Red Dodge (NSCS): Chassis #821. This will be the first time chassis #821 has been used in NASCAR Sprint Cup series competition.

No. 40 Fastenal Dodge (NNS): Chassis #559. This car last raced in Mexico City this past April with Pruett behind the wheel. He started on the outside pole and went on to finish third.

-credit: cgr

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Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing