Contract Status: Driver: 2016+; Primary Sponsor, Target: 2016+
Kauffman says RTA close to NASCAR agreement: Rob Kauffman has partnered with team owner Chip Ganassi Racing after pulling his resources from Michael Waltrip Racing, which closed its competition department after the 2015 NASCAR season. Kauffman arrived in NASCAR from the world of high finance and was picked by an elite group of Cup car owners to chair the Race Team Alliance. The RTA has been tasked with improving series-wide efficiency among race teams - such as saving money on travel and pooling together for things such as health insurance. Last year Kauffman and RTA members started a conversation with NASCAR to create some sort of charter system to give race teams more tangible value, similar to a league franchise. NASCAR and RTA are expected to announce the charter plan before the start of this season, which begins with the Feb. 21 Daytona 500. Daytona Beach News Journal Motorsports Editor Godwin Kelly conducted an exclusive one on one interview with Kauffman during the Rolex 24 At Daytona for NASCAR This Week.
A few of the Q&A's:
Q) Define your function with Ganassi Racing?
Kauffman: Business partner. This is the early days of us figuring it out. Both of us are pragmatic people and we'll see what makes the most sense for me and what areas I can help benefit the team the most. I'm pretty flexible.
Q) Based on your history at Waltrip Racing, you seem to be able to spark performance with a race team.
Kauffman: We achieved some level of success at MWR but not the level that we wanted to reach. Chip is pretty successful and hopefully I can add to the mix. We did combine some parts of (Waltrip Racing) with Ganassi Racing, so some of the people, technology came over and we hope that makes us stronger on the NASCAR side.
Q) Talk about what you have been talking about with NASCAR.
Kauffman: I think it is pretty well known by now, this is a charter system with NASCAR to put more structure around teams so there is more value potentially to teams over time, so that NASCAR racing looks like other sports, which are organized and structured. We'd like team ownership to (look like) that of baseball or football. We are quite optimistic we will have something in place for 2016.
Q) Where does that now stand?
Kauffman: We have worked on this for a while. The teams have been working on it with NASCAR for a number of months. I think we are quite close to getting something done for the 2016 season, and the season starts in three weeks. I think all the major issues have been ironed out at this stage and now it's a matter of dotting the I's and crossing the T's and getting the paperwork sorted out. I'm quite optimistic we'll have something for this season. Read the full interview at the Daytona Beach News Journal (2-2-2016)
Kyle Larson finally meets his crew chief: Kyle Larson has a new crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but it took a while before the driver actually had his first-face-to-face meeting with Chad Johnston, the successor to Chris Heroy on the pit box for the #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy. The delay was understandable. Larson sped through a whirlwind offseason where, among other things, he competed in the Chili Bowl, the premier event for Midget cars, in Tulsa, OK. Johnston, who comes to Ganassi after two years as Tony Stewart's crew chief, paid a visit to the simulator with Larson, who will start his third full season in Cup racing in February. "He could see my driving style a little bit, even though the simulator isn't quite (the same as on-track driving)," Larson told the NASCAR Wire Service a day before he begins his defense of the Rolex 24 title he won with Jamie McMurray, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan last year. "We went through some changes, and the communication was nice. He's a really good guy, really quiet, calm and focused. So I think we'll be really good." Johnston's experience with Stewart should translate well to Larson's effort. "Me and Tony, I feel like aside from attitude, have a pretty similar feel as far as driving race cars and how we communicate about race cars," Larson said. "So I don't think it's going to be too much of a transition, but you don't really know until it actually happens."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-1-2016)
Ganassi receives the Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence: Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi, of Pittsburgh, Pa., has been named the recipient of the 2015 Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence. The announcement was made during the traditional prelude to the Rolex 24 At Daytona - the Grand Marshal Dinner - which was held at the Daytona 500 Club on Friday, January 29, 2016. The Rolex Bob Snodgrass Award of Excellence recognizes a team owner or manager who has demonstrated the qualities of honesty, integrity, passion for the sport of automobile racing and an infinite love of cars altogether. The other candidates for the 2015 award were Bobby Rahal, Kevin Buckler and Bill Riley. A fixture in the auto racing industry for over 30 years as a race-car driver and team owner, Ganassi is considered one of the most successful and innovative owners in the sport. He currently counts two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, four in the Verizon IndyCar Series, two in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, two in the World Endurance Championship and two cars in Global Rally Cross (RRDC/The Road Racing Drivers Club)(2-1-2016)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 28th class of inductees: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) announced its 28th class of inductees at Daytona International Speedway, continuing a long-standing tradition of honoring legendary figures from a wide variety of racing disciplines.
The seven-person class of 2016 inductees: Everett Brashear, Richard Childress, Gary Gabelich, Chip Ganassi, Dave McClelland, Sam Posey and Bob Sweikert. Collectively, the illustrious group represents motorcycles, stock cars, sports cars, land speed records, drag boat records, drag racing and open-wheel racing. They will be enshrined at the 28th Annual Induction Ceremony presented by Bridgestone on the evening of June 29 at Daytona International Speedway, the new home of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Friday's announcement was made in the Daytona International Speedway media center as part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, with domestic and international media in attendance. The MSHFA has previously inducted 223 motorsports luminaries; inductees are selected by a 200-person voting panel that includes past racing greats Mario Andretti, Craig Breedlove, Don Emde, Don Garlits and Richard Petty. Tickets for the 2016 Induction Ceremony can be purchased by calling 248.349.7223 or through the MSHFA website at www.mshf.com.(MSHFA)(1-30-2016)
McMurray and Larson Look to Build on Late Season Momentum: A new season means new opportunities. As Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) anticipates the 2016 season, the team is looking forward to building on what was in many ways a very successful season in 2015. The #42 Target Chevy, #1 Cessna Chevy and #1 McDonald's Chevy will feature new paint schemes for the 2016 NSCS season. Following their 26th season with CGRT, primary partner Target will continue to feature a different paint scheme for day and night races. Primary partner Cessna will see their scheme switch from black to blue and white, which reflects Cessna's branding for their line-up of luxury aircraft. This will be the fourth year that Cessna will adorn the #1 Chevy. Longtime team partner McDonald's will also feature a new design with a metallic feel as they enter their seventh year with CGRFS.
Just as the 2015 season began, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson, along with INDYCAR teammates Tony Kanaan and 2015 series champion Scott Dixon will start the year racing at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, where they look to defend their title. Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced Chad Johnston as the new crew chief for Kyle Larson and the #42 Target team. Johnston joins the team from Stewart-Haas Racing, where he has been the crew chief for three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart and the #14 Chevy since the 2014 season. Johnston also served as crew chief for Martin Truex, Jr. and the #56 at Michael Waltrip Racing from 2011 - 2013. In early December, Kyle Larson embarked on a 13 hour trip to Tokyo, Japan to visit JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. headquarters, makers of the premium synthetic oil brand, ENEOS. Highlights of the trip included visiting the company's R&D center, stopping at the busiest intersection in the world, taking in a local fish market, dining at McDonald's and riding a bullet train. ENEOS has backed Larson in the XFINITY Series since 2014 and continues to be a full-time associate partner on the two CGRT XFINITY Series teams and the Chip Ganassi Racing Red Bull Global Rallycross cars.(CGRFS), see some images of some of the schemes on the #1 Team Schemes page and #42 Team Schemes page (1-21-2016)
Larson wins at Cocopah Speedway: Kyle Larson (#42 Target Chevy in Cup) seemed somewhat surprised at his margin of victory Saturday night at Cocopah Speedway, where he powered to his first victory of the new year during round two of the second annual Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown. Larson, who was driving for Paul Silva, lapped up to 14th place and he won by more than five seconds on the three-eighths-mile oval to score the $12,000 winner's share. It also made him the first repeat winner during seven Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown main events. Larson, who started the 30-lap feature on the outside of the front row, inherited the lead when polesitter Greg Hodnett spun on lap eight. From that point the race was all Larson, who pulled away from the field following restarts on lap nine and lap 11 en route to the triumph. Shane Stewart, who pilots a sprint car for Larson with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, advanced from sixth to second in his Larson-Marks Racing entry. Danny Lasoski, who is the defending champion of the event, used a late rally by running in the middle of the track to round out the podium after he dropped outside the top 10 in the early laps. Friday night winner Dale Blaney, finished fourth with Jason Johnson fifth.(NSSN)(1-4-2016)
McMurray and Larson to run in the Rolex 24 at Daytona: Seven-time IMSA Champions and six-time and defending Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners Ford Chip Ganassi Racing (FCGR) announced that they will field two Prototype (P) class entries at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2016. The addition of the #01 and #02 Ford EcoBoost Prototypes brings the FCGR car count to a team-record four entries for the race after previously announcing a pair of Ford GTs last month. Chip Ganassi Racing Teams' (CGRT) four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon joins teammates Tony Kanaan (2004 Champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 Winner), Kyle Larson (#42 Chevy in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 2014 Rookie of the Year) and Jamie McMurray (#1 Chevy in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 Winner) in the #02 car to defend their 2015 win, while FCGR newcomer and FIA European Formula 3 Championship race winner Lance Stroll will join former Formula One driver Alex Wurz, reigning WEC (World Endurance Championship) LMP1 Champion Brendon Hartley and three-time FIA World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx in the #01 machine.
Kyle Larson will be racing for the third time in the Rolex 24 At Daytona after winning the event in 2015 alongside teammates Dixon, Kanaan, and McMurray.
Jamie McMurray has competed in the Rolex 24 At Daytona seven times with FCGR (2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) and had his best finish in 2015 with an overall win alongside teammates Dixon, Kanaan, and Larson. With his victory in the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona, McMurray joined the exclusive company of two other racing legends, Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt, as the only drivers to win both the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Daytona 500.(CGR)(12-30-2015)
Larson Planning Winter Dirt Return: Kyle Larson confirmed that he will contest a schedule similar to the one he ran last winter, beginning with the 75th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix midget race Nov. 26 at Perris Auto Speedway. Larson also plans to race his winged sprint car during the early January Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown at Cocopah Speedway in Arizona before turning his attention to the Jan. 12-16 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla. "As soon as our season is done I'll go to Perris to do the Turkey Night," Larson confirmed while at Phoenix Int'l Raceway over the weekend. "I'll do the first three nights at Cocopah Speedway and then I'll do the Chili Bowl. So that'll be my open-wheel schedule for the offseason." Larson's focus the last few years has been on his career in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, so he hasn't done nearly as much open-wheel racing as he did while climbing the racing ladder. He said in the future he hopes to do more open-wheel racing when his schedule allows, but he said he needs permission from his team owner Chip Ganassi in order to do that. "I'd like to (run more open-wheel races), but I just don't know about that. I'd have to get permission," Larson said.(National Speed Sport News)(11-24-2015)
New crew chief for Larson in 2016 UPDATE: Chad Johnston will guide Kyle Larson and the #42 Target Chevy at Chip Ganassi Racing, sources say. Johnston, who replaces Chris Heroy, led Tony Stewart and the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing team for the past two seasons. Prior to SHR, Johnston, 35, guided Martin Truex Jr. at Michael Waltrip Racing. He was displaced when MWR lost the NAPA sponsorship following the 2013 season. The second-generation racer graduated from Indiana State with a degree in mechanical engineering. Johnston started his career in the aerospace industry before his passion for racing carried him to the Camping World Truck Series in 2004. After a short stint at Evernham Motorsports he joined MWR in 2009 and became Pat Tryson's engineer the following season. Johnston was promoted to crew chief for the 2011 June Pocono race. In his first full season with Truex and the No. 56 team qualified for the Chase. The following year, Johnston guided the team back to Victory Lane with the win at Sonoma - Truex's second career victory. Johnston starts his new role on Tuesday (Motorsport)(11-23-2015)
UPDATE: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (TCGRFS) announced that Chad Johnston has been named crew chief for Kyle Larson and the #42 Target team. Johnston will assume the role effective immediately to begin preparation for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season. Johnston joins TCGRFS from Stewart-Haas Racing, where he has been the crew chief for Tony Stewart and the #14 Chevy since the 2014 season. Johnston also served as crew chief for Martin Truex, Jr. and the #56 at Michael Waltrip Racing from 2011 - 2013. Johnston has one career NSCS race win as a crew chief (2013 Sonoma) and helped guide Truex Jr. into The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup during the 2012 season. Johnston has also worked in NASCAR as a race engineer at Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, Evernham Motorsports, and JTG Daugherty Racing before serving as a crew chief. The Cayuga, Ind. native graduated from Indiana State University with a major in mechanical engineering, and briefly worked in the aerospace industry before his passion for motorsports brought him to NASCAR and the Camping World Truck Series in 2004. Larson will begin his third full-time season in the NSCS in 2016. The 2014 NSCS Rookie of the Year is coming off of a season that featured two top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. In 75 career NSCS starts he has accumulated one pole award, 10 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes.
TCGRFS Quote Board:
Chip Ganassi, Owner, TCGRFS: "We are very much looking forward to having Chad join the No. 42 team, and excited for the fresh perspective that he brings. We fully expect the combination of Chad and Kyle to be the foundation of the No. 42 team for years to come. Chad is a race-winning crew chief and has helped steer a team into The Chase, two goals we have each season for our teams. I think his background and experience with veteran drivers will help as we look to continue to build on Kyle and the team's success in the Sprint Cup Series."
Chad Johnston, Crew Chief, #42 Target Team: "I am very excited for the opportunity to be joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and the opportunity to work with Kyle Larson. The organization has a great reputation in numerous forms of racing, and I'm looking forward to adding to that reputation in NASCAR. Kyle is certainly a unique talent, and I'm eager to get to work with him and the team as we look to build a foundation of success."
Kyle Larson, #42 Target Chevrolet: "I'm excited to get to work with Chad and to start doing what needs to be done to get the team to victory lane next year. As a team, I think we are very close and the addition of Chad should help move our program forward for many years to come. Lastly, I would also like to thank Chris for all he did to help me grow in my first two seasons in the Cup series."(CGR), no word on former crew chief Chris Heroy's plans for 2016.(11-23-2015)
Chip Ganassi Racing forms Generation Ganassi Driver Identification Program: Chip Ganassi and his Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced the creation of the Generation Ganassi (Gen G) racing talent identification program, a mentorship that will look to identify and assist North America's young and talented race car drivers. The program identifies 13-18 year old drivers as "Ones to Watch" in the world of auto racing and offers professional guidance to aid in fostering their growth within the sport of auto racing. The first recipient of the 2016 Generation Ganassi moniker is a 15-year-old driver from Canada named Devlin Defrancesco. Defrancesco has been racing karts since 2006 where he has had much success including winning the Canadian National Junior Championship in 2013, also named Vice-Champion of the CSAI Italian Championship and was third overall in the CIK FIA European Karting Championship. In 2015, he joined British racing team Carlin Motorsports to prepare for races in the FIA Formula 4 Championship.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(11-7-2015)
No third team for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2016: Despite speculation that Chip Ganassi Racing would add a third car for next season, the team confirmed Friday that they will remain a two-car operation. Officials with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates confirmed Friday that the organization will field just two fulltime teams in the Sprint Cup Series next season. Ganassi currently fields cars for #1-Jamie McMurray and #42-Kyle Larson and that won't change next year despite the addition of Rob Kauffman as an investor to the organization.(Motorsport)(8-21-2015)
Kauffman says MWR will cease operations after 2015 season: Rob Kauffman, an amateur racer who is a highly successful businessman, said Friday he had enough of pouring his own money into Michael Waltrip Racing without seeing results and announced that MWR would cease operations after this season. Kauffman, who saved MWR from closing in 2007 by purchasing half the team from Waltrip, announced Wednesday that the team would not field Sprint Cup cars in 2016. "Michael Waltrip Racing wouldn't have existed through today without substantial and continued financial support from me," Kauffman said Friday before Sprint Cup practice at Bristol Motor Speedway. "From a business standpoint, that didn't make sense any longer. You can't have a top-10 budget and top-10 resources and not be in the top 10 for a sustained period of time. It's a performance-related business. It's all about performance. It's a great sport but a very difficult business model. From a business decision, it just made sense to not go forward with that organization, which is not commercially viable." MWR expanded from two cars to three in 2012 when it added Bowyer, but that lasted only two years after Bowyer and MWR were embroiled in a race-manipulation scandal at Richmond in the final regular-season 2013 race. "Certainly that was a pretty heavy body blow to our organization," Kauffman said. "It caused a big restructuring; 2014 was at some level a large reset year for everybody, also [on the] financial [side]. As we got into the late spring in 2015, from a performance standpoint, the company wasn't where it needed to be, and that kind of forced some decisions and thought processes over the summer." Kauffman wouldn't say whether a three-car organization would have produced better results. "My crystal ball, unfortunately, is not clear," Kauffman said. "In a parallel universe, I'm not sure what would have happened."(ESPN)(8-21-2015)
Sabates says no deal with Kaufman yet: When Rob Kauffman announced at the beginning of August he had purchased an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, many in the NASCAR community wondered what it meant for the future. Kauffman is also a co-owner in Michael Waltrip Racing, but it was made clear the two organizations would operate separately throughout the rest of the year. A source close to the situation indicated this weekend at Michigan International Speedway the deal between Kauffman and the Ganassi organization is far from done, something Felix Sabates confirmed to FOXSports.com Sunday morning. "Basically we're talking. We don't have anything concrete," said Sabates. "We'd like to do something with (Kauffman), because I think he can add a lot to our team. We don't have anything signed." With MWR running Toyotas and Ganassi running Chevrolets, Kauffman has a unique predicament on his hands. The source indicated MWR has already been cut off by Toyota in all areas, with the exception of providing motors. Sabates could not speak to how Kauffman will handle the manufacturer situation, but said believes Kauffman eventually will have a decision to make. "I don't think it will work for him to have both (Chevrolet and Toyota teams), but you never know," he said. Sabates said expanding to a three-car organization has no bearing on the on-going discussions with Kauffman, but the overall goal is to expand the team. "Our goal is to expand either next year or the following year," he said.(Fox Sports)(8-17-2015)
Kaufmann talks to the press: A brief statement by Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman raised more questions than it provided answers about the future of MWR. Earlier in the week, a statement released by MWR indicated Kaufmann was buying into Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, fueling speculation that driver Clint Bowyer and sponsor 5-Hour Energy would move to Ganassi. Standing behind the hauler of the #55 MWR Toyota driven by David Ragan, however, Kauffman gave the impression that co-owner Michael Waltrip was somehow involved in the process and that there might be synergy between the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organizations. "First and foremost, the thing that's important to realize is that Michael Waltrip and I co-own Michael Waltrip Racing together," Kauffman said. "We're business partners and great personal friends, so any idea that I'm leaving or taking anything is actually misplaced. What we're actually doing is integrating the businesses, trying to get the most competitive product on track, do the best for all of our partners-that's really our focus. It's a competitive business, as everybody knows. It's competitive on track as well as off track." Kauffman indicated there are many details still to be determined. "In terms of our plans, whether we have three cars, four cars, two roofs, one roof-that's all yet to be determined, and how we do in the 2015 season will help determine whether that happens," Kauffman said. "If we do a great job, that'll be one outcome. If we do a less great job, probably another." Kauffman stepped into the hauler without taking questions from the throng of reporters clustered outside.(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-2-2015)
Statements from MWR, CGR, Sabates, Waltrip & Toyota:
Statement from Michael Waltrip Racing: "Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has agreed to buy an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The companies will continue to operate separately and compete against each other for the remainder of the 2015 season. They are also currently evaluating ways to field the most competitive race teams possible to provide an excellent platform for their partners and employees for the 2016 season and beyond. More details will follow in due course".(MWR)
Statement from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates "We confirm that Rob Kauffman has agreed to acquire an interest in the team. Further discussions regarding the 2016 season and beyond are underway."(CGR)
Felix Sabates Statement to SXM NASCAR "I'm not going anywhere. This is about making our team stronger, a three car team is stronger than a two car. But the rumors that Rob is buying me out are not true, my last race will be five years from September 9th. I will be 75 years old then and will be done."(SXM NASCAR)
Statement from Michael Waltrip: "My focus is on 2015 and fulfilling the commitment we have made to our partners and Toyota which is placing our teams in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. There are a lot of details yet to be sorted regarding 2016. I will work closely with Rob Kauffman and our sponsors to formulate the best way forward."(MWR)(7-30-2015)
Statement from Toyota on Rob Kauffman Announcement: "We've spoken with Rob Kauffman and understand he has agreed to buy an interest in Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Rob has not disclosed the plans for Michael Waltrip Racing past the 2015 racing season. Toyota and TRD remain focused on winning races and championships with our team partners this year." ~Ed Laukes, Vice President marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS)(7-31-2015)
Larson could run the Indy 500 one day: Team owner [#1, #42] Chip Ganassi is leaving the door open for rising NASCAR star #42-Kyle Larson to someday compete in the Indianapolis 500. The 22-year-old Larson was signed by Ganassi as a developmental driver in 2012, shot through the Truck Series and Xfinity Series, and began racing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series last year. He has also raced for Ganassi in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Ganassi said Friday that he spoke with Larson "just yesterday" about eventually racing in the Indy 500. Ganassi has won the race four times, and has five cars in Sunday's edition. Asked how the conversations with Larson go, Ganassi replied: "They go good all the time. We haven't said no to him. We haven't said yes, either."(Associated Press)(5-23-2015)
Congrats to #42-Kyle Larson and fiance Katelyn Sweet on the birth of their son, Owen Miyata Larson, born Monday night at 11:09pm. He was 7 pound 14 ounces and 19 1/2 in. long.(12-23-2014)
Target Shifting Funds, one Indycar team; one NASCAR team: Three-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon will return for a 14th season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, though he will be one of only two drivers piloting the red and white bulls-eye cars next year. Target will go from two sponsored IndyCar entries to just one in 2015 as the retailer shifts spending to promoting its drivers. Target also sponsors #42-Kyle Larson, who just wrapped up NASCAR's top rookie honors in the Sprint Cup Series. "We are just reallocating dollars, there's no difference in anything else," said Dan Griffis, vice president of experiential marketing and alliances at Target. "I would put our investment in racing as the only full-time sponsor in both IndyCar and NASCAR, against any other sponsor in the sport." Ganassi and Target celebrated their 25th anniversary this year. The partnership began in open wheel, eventually grew to the sponsorship of two IndyCar entries, and expanded into both NASCAR as a primary sponsor and sports cars as an associate sponsor. "You don't know how fortunate I feel to begin another season partnering with Target in both IndyCar and NASCAR," Ganassi said Tuesday. "They have been far more than a partner for a very long time and have been so committed to the sport of auto racing. I am also very much looking forward to their new marketing campaign that supports the racing program. I know it will be fantastic." But as the retailer increased spending on the sponsorship of cars, it got away from the popular commercials it produced in the 1990s starring Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Montoya and an occasional cameo by Ganassi. Target will now try to recapture some of that buzz in new marketing strategies that will debut next year and feature Dixon and Larson. Griffis said the two drivers will not appear together in any broadcast spots, but each ad will have different versions.(Associated Press)(12-10-2014)
Chip Ganassi Racing signs PNC as sponsor: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. announced a new multi-year sponsorship agreement. The agreement is the second between Ganassi and PNC, which have also had a banking relationship that goes back 25 years. With the wide range of racing that CGRT participates in across three national touring series of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), the Verizon IndyCar Series and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSC), the agreement provides PNC with business development and client entertainment opportunities throughout the year. The agreement will focus on the following five racing markets in 2014: Indianapolis, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte and Richmond, Va. PNC, which has a business presence in all five regions, will use the high interest in auto racing and the CGRT relationship to offer unique events and behind-the-scenes activities to clients and prospects.(CGR)(5-23-2014)
Target CGR Partners With the Oscar Mayer: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (TCGRFS) has partnered with the Oscar Mayer brand to help introduce P3 Portable Protein Pack to the NASCAR community. The packs of meat, cheese and nuts are designed for active consumers looking for a snack to help keep them going throughout the day. It is a perfect fit with the on-the-go lifestyle of NASCAR drivers and crews. Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevy, and his pit crew will be carrying the P3 Portable Protein Pack branding on their familiar Target uniforms and car throughout the Southern 500 weekend in Darlington, SC, while Oscar Mayer P3 Portable Protein Pack will use the backdrop of a NASCAR race weekend to teach fans the virtues of the P3 Portable Protein Pack product.(CGR)(4-12-2014)
Ganassi explains why 'Earnhardt' is no longer part of team name: For the first time since 1996, there will not be a team in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series with "Earnhardt" in its corporate name. The string began in 1996 when the late Dale Earnhardt formed Dale Earnhardt Inc. In less than a decade, it had become one of the premier teams in Cup competition, with son and namesake Dale Earnhardt Jr. as its on-track figurehead. But once Junior left DEI for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, the once-feared company began by the man they called The Intimidator began to slowly disappear. Now, the Earnhardt corporate name is essentially extinct. After an ill-fated and short-lived merger with Ginn Racing in mid-2007, team owner Teresa Earnhardt lent her company's name and some of its assets to fellow team owner Chip Ganassi, forming Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in 2009. In the year before Junior left the family fold, Earnhardt's widow also lent her late husband's surname to Richard Childress Racing to form a new business - known as Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technology - designed to build motors for both RCR and other teams that would lease the engines. But as the Earnhardt name lived on with other teams, Teresa Earnhardt withdrew more and more from being active in racing. She continued to oversee the still-thriving souvenir business that memorialized her late husband and kept his name and legend alive, but that was about it.
Now in 2014, what was Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for the last five seasons has reverted back to its original name prior to joining forces with Earnhardt, namely Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. And what was Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technology has quietly become simply ECR, with a team source telling MotorSportsTalk that "the E no longer stands for anything. It doesn't stand for Earnhardt. It's just ECR now."
Ganassi spoke to MotorSportsTalk at Daytona International Speedway on Friday about how the relationship with Teresa Earnhardt essentially disappeared with time, to the point where it no longer made sense to keep her late husband's surname as part of the team. "I wish I could explain it but I can't explain it," Ganassi said. "I don't have a good answer for you. We had a relationship and I don't know what happened. We can't get her on the phone; it's hard to try to communicate with somebody. She obviously has some other things on her plate, I guess, and that's her prerogative. She was never active in the team. I think she wanted to keep the name out there to some extent, and I don't know what Richard's (Petty) relationship is there (to Richard Petty Motorsports), but it's kinda the same thing. There's no ill will, I just don't have an answer, to tell you the truth. She just wasn't there anymore."(NBC Sports)(2-22-2014)
Chip Ganassi changes team name, drops Earnhardt from NASCAR operation: When Sprint Cup testing begins Thursday morning at Daytona International Speedway, there will be one well-known NASCAR name missing among the list of team owners. Earnhardt. The #1 and #42 Sprint Cup teams, which were run the last five years under the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates banner, will now return to their former name: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The sign outside the North Carolina shop already has been changed, and stickers on the cars and patches on the driver and crew uniforms will carry the Chip Ganassi logo instead of the EGR logo. Ganassi officials confirmed the change Wednesday but had no comment on the financial structure of the current organization, which fields Sprint Cup cars for Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson. Teresa Earnhardt, widow of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., has not been involved in the day-to-day operations of the team and with the change apparently no longer has any financial stake in the NASCAR operation. There will be no change in the operation of the Ganassi teams, as Teresa Earnhardt has had little influence on the organization's day-to-day operations. Ganassi began using Hendrick Motorsports engines in 2013 in its two Cup cars.(in part from the Sporting News)(1-9-2014)
Earnhardt Ganassi switches to Hendrick engines: The "Earnhardt" in Earnhardt-Childress Racing won't use the company's engines beginning in 2013. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will use motors leased from Hendrick Motorsports starting next season, a team representative told reporters at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. The move is surprising considering ECR was formed as a joint engine-building effort between Earnhardt Ganassi and Richard Childress Racing. EGR has struggled over the last two seasons with drivers #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #1-Jamie McMurray, and team owner Chip Ganassi apparently felt a change was necessary in the engine program. RCR team owner Richard Childress said he wasn't surprised by Ganassi's decision to pull out of ECR and said he's been aware of the possibility for quite some time. Childress said his team will have "a couple" new customers next season - though he wouldn't say who - and also has an existing sponsor in Furniture Row Racing. ECR will retain its name because the teams "have a different relationship with the engines," Childress said.(SB Nation)(11-2-2012)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 12:15 pm/et
TV: FoxSports1 12:15pm/et
Born in FEBRUARY
9 Jared Irvan, Greg Newman, Brennan Newberry, Todd Parrott, Gary Putnam, Roy H. Weaver III
10 Gray Gaulding, Mike Hill
11 Andy Lally, Eddie Lanier, Burt Reynolds
12 Timothy Barile, Mike W. Davis, Brad Keselowski, Abraham Lincoln
13 Bill Schmitt, Donnie Wingo
14 Sam Ard, Emily Beam, Donnie Brown, Nina Feeney, Banjo Matthews, Cheryl Monteleone
15 Rick Gay, Bud Koehler, Tayler Malsam, Wyatt Sadler, Bill Shallock, Carl Simmons, Jimmy Spencer
16 Danny Lawrence, Don Wade, Patti Wallace
17 Natalie Kate Nadeau, Jim Long, Edith Kenseth, Lori Neisser
18 Wayne Anderson
19 Trevor Bayne, Jeff Purvis, Bobby Kennedy, Landon Smith, John Paul Jr.
20 Roger Penske, Gary Myers, Bobby Unser
21 NASCAR founded, J.D. Gibbs, Jim Reed
22 Marshall Teague, Larry Foyt, Chuck Bown, Grace Kenseth, Logan Styers, Karla Lampe, Scott Robinette
23 Bobby Moody, Dean Combs, Mike Marriner, Dawn Purvis, George Alsobrook
24 Michael Ritch, Jason Schuler, Aaron Daniel, Gilbert King, J.C. Hall
25 Davey Allison, Timmy Hill, Jaklyn Woodland, Derick Jennings, Butch Gilliland, Jonathan Toney
26 Bob Eolin, Brad Coleman, Terry Cook, Kertus Davis, Carl Haas, Colton Meyer
27 Ty Dillon, Todd Bodine, Dennis Setzer, Kevin Sharpe, Mike Warnecker
28 Mario Andretti, Teddy McClure, Jeff Almond, Billy Wade
29 Ralph Earnhardt, Noreen Hofmann, Scott Cluka, Chuck Romeo
1 Jim Horton, Dave Marcis, Travis Kvapil, Tim Steele, Nate Ryan, Bob Pockrass, Stu Hothem, Mike Morrison
2 David Reutimann, Robert "Bootie" Barker, Cully Barraclough, Harold Holly, Erin Blaney, Lisa Price, Blake Mallory, Charles Comstock, Dr. Seuss
3 Bruton Smith, Dave Rodman, Chad Trickle, Tiny Lund, Donald Epling, Bill Snyder, Bobby Lord
4 Buck Baker, Rick Mast, Gary Cogswell, Pat Tryson, Chris Passantino
5 Cale Gale, Sutherlin Marlin
6 Jenny Umscheid, Linda Petty, Bruce Martin
7 Janet Guthrie, Katelyn Benson
8 Buddy Barnes, Mark Green, Tommy Norton, Frank Parrish, Ronnie Thomas, Mark Smith, Kirk Shelmerdine, Wendy Calkins
9 Jeanne Barnes, Kevin Graves, Fred Bickford, Wilma Blevins, Danny Sullivan
10 Matt Kenseth, Mike Wallace, Roy McCauley, Ginny McClure, Kelly Denton, Randy Biggs, Louis Ossinsky Sr
11 Kathy Cindric, Albert Garwood, Derek Daly, Troy Ruttman
12 Casey Mears, John Andretti, Red Byron, Dave Rogers, Terri Brooks, Lorrie Earp, Tara Spil
13 Jeff Spraker
14 Lee Petty, Artie Kempner, Aric Almirola, Bill Rexford, Albert Einstein, Kristen Yeley, Harold E. Holly Jr., David Poole
15 Andy Graves, Matthew Holzbaur, Shayne Pipala