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Voices from the Heartland: Well, That About Wraps It Up For Ganassi – The Sequel

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’s and McMurray’s defection, all that was left was 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.

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 racecar 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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