The Frontstretch: Well, That About Wraps It Up For Ganassi - The Sequel by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday September 4, 2008

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Well, That About Wraps It Up For Ganassi - The Sequel

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday September 4, 2008


Being the egotistical sort of creature that I am, I often — upon hearing certain news items come out of the NASCAR garage — go back through my archives to assure myself that I do, in fact, know what I am talking about. Turns out that’s the case once again this week, as another set of my opinions came true after hearing the blithering idiocy recently spouted by none other than Felix Sabates of Chip Ganassi Racing with… Felix Sabates.

Why, it was just over two years ago that the “first” production of this article was written and, looking back, it amazes even a man of my hat size that I can be so darned right all the time!

As the aforementioned article states, after dumping longtime driver Sterling Marlin, CGRwFS pinned their future on David Stremme, Casey Mears, and Jamie McMurray. Long story short, after Mears’ and McMurray’s defection, all that was left was David Stremme and the glory hopes of Juan Pablo Montoya. Reed Sorenson, who had been skipped over by Coors Light at the time because he was underage, was eventually given the nod at the Cup level for 2006 because — to be honest — who else was left?! Coors Light then skipped out on CGRwFS after the ’07 season to become the “Official Beer of Brian France,” leaving only Texaco and Target as primary sponsors for the ill-managed team. Somewhere along the line, Dario Franchitti was added to the lineup, drawn from the ranks of open-wheel racing – something the CGRwFS is actually kinda good at.

All hopes will be on “Juablo” in 2009 at Chip Ganassi Racing after Dario Franchitti’s move to the IRL, coupled with the defection of Reed Sorenson and longtime sponsor Texaco from the onetime NASCAR stronghold.

Now, here we are — two years later — and the Franchitti Cup team (No. 40) has been shut down, Texaco is looking for the nearest exit, and — as I predicted two years ago — Sorenson is giving both Ganassi and Sabates a good view of his rear end too. That pins all hopes for the future of this Cup operation on only “Juablo;” and how has the management at CGRwFS chosen to deal with it all?

“From my point of view, his contract is over,” Sabates said of the young Sorenson’s departure. “I think Reed is today as good as he’s ever going to be. If somebody else wants to put him in a car, fine with us.”

“I wish him good luck.”

Not only did Felix make a stab at Sorenson, but he let his wrath fly at Texaco as well.

“Texaco was a great sponsor for a long time, but for the last year they really have been disconnected with the sport,” Sabates said. “They have focused on other things. We really didn’t get much support from them. The money wasn’t all that great. It is a blessing that we can go out and find somebody who can pay us some real money.”

“Texaco was a liability for us because out of loyalty to them, we weren’t aggressively looking to replace them,” he added. “Texaco management is disconnected from racing. All the new people don’t know what a race car looks like. We kept hoping they maybe would wake up one of these days and decide they need to be in NASCAR. I feel bad for them; they only made $6 billion last quarter.”

Well, Felix, seems to me they have woken up. Maybe they have decided that your second rate team isn’t worth backing anymore!

There is one bright side to the whole CGRwFS saga: Target, a French-owned company, is sticking with them. But that is hardly surprising, since anything that is France / NASCAR connected… well, we know how that turns out!

My prediction for part three of this tragic drama? Montoya will eventually go elsewhere in NASCAR, Target will stick with CGRwFS, but in a venue where they belong — open-wheel racing — somewhere that Chip Ganassi still has some respect. And Ganassi’s Cup teams will finally, mercifully, fall by the wayside; for, along with partner Felix Sabates, they’ve proven themselves to be a class A cluster %@&! here in NASCAR!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer Writing with Baby, Mocha and Taygun (my cats!)

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NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
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Kevin from PA
09/04/2008 08:57 AM

Per Wikipedia: Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) is an American retailing company that was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1902.

Target is not a French-owned company unless of course the government of France has decided to invest in the American Stock Market and has bought all of the Target stock. Target is still headquarted in MN.

The French rumor was started a few years back during a smear campaign by a unknown group (who of course couldn’t be Wal-Mart as, of course, Wal-Mart’s business practices are only on the up-and-up. No Wal-Mart would never try to stop a competitor by making up lies to stroke American opinions.)

I know this is non-NASCAR related but it irks me when internet based myths are spead over and over.

09/04/2008 09:52 AM

Everyone should do something they are good at and have real passion for, Chip should stick to the open wheels he’s good at it and he obviously loves it and should stick to it. The only way out now is to muzzle Felix and hire a tried and true team manager like all the other teams have done and right his ship. When Reed Sorenson catches the train on you that in itself should send a message, when your fired crew chief Jimmy Elledge goes to a go or go home team and has a real shot at getting them in the top 35 yet another message. Chips must have thought it looked easy when Penske his biggest rival drifted over from open wheel and started winning but what he failed to realize Felix is not Don Miller. Chip thought if you throw enough money at something it’s bound to work and so instead of aligning himself with a Hendrick, Rousch, or Childress as a sub team he decided to partner up it was with a racing personality not a racer. I would suspect unless he gets some major outside help his days on Cup are growing shorter by the month. It should be pointed out that Penske with all his success has his own problems in the sport but the chances of him finding a solution are vastly better than those of Chip at this point. He certainly won’t be the first or the last who thought it was doable Raymond Beddle, Kenny Bernstein and Cal Wells are three that come to mind, Beddle did however win a Championship with Rusty Wallace that team went on to become what is now Penske South.

Scott St. Clair
09/04/2008 10:09 AM

Ganassi’s NASCAR problems are two-fold: One — Dodges stink. Penske, GEM, Petty, whoever is running Dodge’s is not running at the front. Since they are #3 in Detroit (4 if you count Toyota) they have less money then the rest to devote to supporting their race teams. Secondly – Coors bailed at the last minute last year, not leaving the team the time to talk to sponsors. Budgets for the following year are usually set in the first quarter of the previous year so how do you attract a sponsor when budgets are already set? It was a stupid move by Coors. I wonder how much beer they’re selling without a driver to promote? Ganassi is a winner. Don’t count him out!

09/04/2008 12:57 PM

Jeff, you’re right about one thing: the size of your ego! It’s rather unprofessional to be patting yourself on the back every other sentence.

Señor Obvious
09/04/2008 01:32 PM

Don’t listen to R, S/he doesn’t have the self-confidence to use more than a single letter for a monicer, much less have the intestinal fortitude to use a tilde.

And Jeff, don’t worry about that French thing. Mistakes happen, however I feel I should warn you, if you wake up in a bathtub full of ice, be sure to do a kidney check. It’s going around.

Jeff Meyer
09/04/2008 02:51 PM

That’s for clearing that up! I shoulda checked. My bad!

09/04/2008 07:13 PM

You know, words can’t begin to describe the arrogance and the sheer stupidity of the twin sisters, Ganassi and Sabates. Dumb and Dumberer. The day these two drag their sorry tails out of NASCAR will be many years too late. I hope Texaco spends their sponsorship savings wisely, like dropping the pump price. They wasted a fortune on those two idiots and that mess they call a race team.

I really wish Reed Sorenson well at GEM. He seems like a decent enough guy and had a pretty good start early on in the Busch Series. Then he made the mistake of signing with the Twisted Sisters.

09/04/2008 07:16 PM

I have ZERO respect for that man and his organization. And if I were a driver I wouldn’t even consider being with him.

May he leave nascar altogether.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
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Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.