#01/41 Team News Archive

2008 News

Races [1] that Energizer is scheduled to be the primary sponsor::
California [2/24];

Races [1] that Polaroid is scheduled to be the primary sponsor::
Talladega [4/27];
Daytona [7/5]

Races [1] that Tums is scheduled to be the primary sponsor::
Bristol [8/23];

  • Crew Chief change at the #42 UPDATE: Been told that Jimmy Elledge has been released as crew chief from the #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge at Chip Ganassi Racing. Brian Pattie will assume the crew chief role for Lowe's Motor Speedway and beyond. No plans on Elledge's plans.(5-20-2008)
    UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya heads into this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 with his third crew chief in less than a month after Jimmy Elledge was released by Chip Ganassi Racing on Tuesday. And the racer isn't happy about it. Elledge came aboard in late April when Ganassi moved Donnie Wingo, who had guided Montoya's transition from Formula One into NASCAR, to Reed Sorenson's team. Montoya got Elledge and was pleased with the direction his #42 Dodge was headed. But in what Montoya described as a "management decision," Elledge was let go and Brian Pattie was moved from one of the Nationwide Series crews to run Montoya's team. "I wasn't really part of it, so, I am pretty frustrated," Montoya said. "They told me 'We are thinking of getting rid of Jimmy' and I said 'Don't do it.' Next thing I knew, they did. That's what happened. You are going to have to ask somebody else about it, because I wasn't involved in this." Although he didn't think he needed to lose Wingo when that move was made, Montoya said he understood it because he believed Wingo could help Sorenson save his struggling season. And even though the results weren't there yet with Elledge -- they were second in their debut race at Talladega, but struggled in the three after that -- Montoya liked the direction Elledge was taking the team. "We were taking a very different route, and I was willing to see where it led," he said. Montoya said he's spoken several times with Ganassi in the 24 hours since Elledge was let go, and expressed his frustration with the situation. "We talked, and I told him how I felt and that's it really," Montoya said. Montoya said he's got faith in Pattie, "He's a really smart guy," he said, but worries that all the changes over the past month are unsettling to the entire race team. He expects more movement behind the scenes.(ESPN.com)(5-22-2008) Comment here

  • Target leaving Ganassi at end of 2008? UPDATE 2: There are persistent rumors that Chip Ganassi may be in financial deep water, with his long-time sponsor Target [sponsor of #41-Reed Sorenson and sometime sponsor of #40-Dario Franchitti] likely announcing by the end of the year it will be ending its association with the race team.(Yahoo!Sports)(4-10-2008)
    UPDATE: Steve Eastman, Target Vice President: "The 19-year partnership between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the longest consecutive partnerships in motor sports. Our race program has proven successful and we in fact have a solid base of sponsors in place. We continue to build on the excitement and momentum around the program and look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary next year... Any rumors regarding an end to the partnership are simply without merit."(Target Communications)(4-10-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Target, according to sources, may be reconsidering its NASCAR sponsorship. Target has been sponsoring Dodge owner Chip Ganassi [#41 Reed Sorenson] for several years, though still without a major win.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-8-2008) Comment here

  • Polaroid on the #41: Reed Sorenson will document his Talladega weekend through a Polaroid Photo Diary. Polaroid will be making its NSCS debut on the #41 Dodge this weekend in the Aaron's 499. Sorenson's diary will be showcased on Polaroid.com.(CGRFS), see images of the scheme on my #41 Team Schemes page.(4-25-2008)

  • #41 and #42 crew chief swap: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced that Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) crew chiefs Donnie Wingo and Jimmy Elledge will change roles, with Wingo assuming duties on the #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson and Elledge on the #42 Texaco/Havoline/Juicy Fruit Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, respectively. "I really feel that these changes can be instrumental in moving Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to the next level," said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. "I have a lot of respect for both Donnie and Jimmy and the jobs that they do and they both agree that this move can be very beneficial to the entire organization. I have said all along that I believe us to be a championship organization and that Felix and I will do whatever we can to make us better. This is toward that end." Wingo will call his first race for the #41 team with Sorenson, and Elledge with the No.42 team and Montoya, following the NSCS off weekend in Round 9 of the season at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(4-15-2008) Comment here

  • Ganassi promises changes if Cup teams don't improve: Chip Ganassi wasn't pleased with his NASCAR teams long before #40-Dario Franchitti failed to qualify for Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway. Just how unhappy the car owner actually is became clear Saturday when he unleashed a blistering indictment of his team's performance so far this season. "Frankly, there are 46 cars there and if you can't beat three of them, that's pretty pathetic," Ganassi said on Sirius Satellite Radio. "I certainly have all the faith in the world in (Franchitti's) driving abilities. I don't think it's that. The fact of the matter is, we didn't give him a car that was capable of doing it." Although he praised the work Montoya and his # 42 crew has done to rebound from a slow start to the season, Ganassi was particularly upset with the performance of Sorenson's #41 team. The third-year driver has four finishes of 31st or worse."The 41 team, it's the same old things that take them out," he said. "One week its this, the next week it's that, and it's sort of this combination of all of the above. Everybody on the 41 team is going to have to take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are prepared for what's coming down the pike." Ganassi, who was in St. Petersburg, Fla., with his IRL teams, said later Saturday he won't hesitate to make personnel changes if that's what it will take to get his teams turned in the right direction.(Associated Press/CBS Sports)(4-6-2008) Comment here

  • Tums to sponsor fall Martinsville race and #40, #41 cars: TUMS announced that it is using its newest product, the TUMS QuikPak instant dissolve powder, to bring its fastest relief ever to Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., as the entitlement sponsor of the October 19, 2008 Sprint Cup series race – The TUMS QuikPak 500. The TUMS QuikPak 500 will be the first NASCAR race sponsored by the TUMS brand. The race sponsorship will continue to build on the long-standing relationship between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare and the .526-mile Virginia short track. The partnership began in 1983 when Goody’s Headache Powder first sponsored the Goody’s 500 at Martinsville Speedway. In addition to the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway, TUMS will serve as an associate sponsor of the #40 and #41 Dodges for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) throughout the 2008 season. The TUMS logo will appear on the B-post and rear quarter panel. The agreement also includes a primary sponsorship in two races. TUMS QuikPak will serve as the primary sponsor of Sprint Cup series rookie Dario Franchitti’s #40 Dodge Charger for the Aaron’s 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27. CGRFS teammate Reed Sorenson will carry the TUMS QuikPak paint scheme under the lights August 23 for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. TUMS will host 18 fan events at race tracks during the season. For each event, TUMS will bring its blue QuikZone display to the fan concourse area along with TUMS Racing simulators, games and the TUMS show car. Fans will have an opportunity to learn more about TUMS fast relief and simple solutions for heartburn and sample the new TUMS QuikPak. The TUMS QuikZone debuted in Daytona for Speedweeks. The TUMS QuikZone also will travel to community events throughout the country. For more information on TUMS Racing, visit www.TUMSracing.com.(Clear!Blue PR) see images of the cars on my #40 Team Schemes page and #41 Team Schemes page.(3-29-2008)

  • Energizer scheme for Sorenson: The #41 Dodge of Reed Sorenson will sport the Energizer e2 Lithium paint scheme this weekend in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. The dynamic silver and blue paint scheme will feature Energizer e2 Lithium, the World's Longest Lasting Battery in High Tech Devices, as well as the famous Energizer Bunny. The Bunny will be on hand this weekend to support Sorenson and team, and to partake in a number of media opportunities alongside Sorenson.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images on the #41 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2008) Comment here.

  • Dodge re-ups with Penske and Ganassi: Dodge executives have taken team owners Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi out of the Toyota equation by signing new contracts with the two. That keeps Dodge with a four-team lineup, including Petty Enterprises and Gillett-Evernham. When Toyota first announced its NASCAR plans, there was considerable speculation that both Penske and Ganassi would eventually switch.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-18-2008)

  • #41 in black at the Shootout: The #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson will feature an all black paint scheme for the Budweiser Shootout. The car will return to its regular scheme for the Daytona 500.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(2-6-2008) Comment here

    2007 News

  • Montoya, Franchitti, Pruett to Run Rolex 24 At Daytona:Defending Grand-Am Rolex 24 At Daytona winners Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced a two-car effort for the Rolex Sports Car Series' 46th running of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring eight drivers representing some of the best talent the motor racing world has to offer. Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will unite for the twice-round-the-clock classic to form the driver lineup in the #01 TELMEX/Target Daytona Prototype, while Team Target IndyCar pilots Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon join Salvador Duran and Alex Lloyd in the #02 Target/TELMEX Daytona Prototype.(CGRFS PR)(12-11-2007)

  • Fastenal to sponsor Ganassi Racing/Sorenson/Franchitti? hearing that Fastenal Company [which formerly sponsored the #18 Bobby Hamliton Racing CTS team] has signed a deal to sponsor Dario Franchitti and the #40 Dodge in the 2008 Nationwide [was Busch] Series. Fastenal will also sponsor Reed Sorenson in a few select Sprint Cup racess in 2008.(11-20-2007)

  • Sorenson helps raise over $75k for charity: Coming off of his career best Nextel Cup Series finish with a third-place effort at his hometown track Atlanta Motor Speedway, Reed Sorenson has something else to be proud of as well. During the course of the week, he helped generate over $75,000 dollars to be donated to Speedway Children's Charities, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Project Pink House. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Sorenson hosted his Inaugural Reed Sorenson Charity Golf Classic at White Water Creek Country Club in Fayetteville, Ga. The proceeds from the golf outing, that also included a silent and live auction, benefited the Speedway Children's Charities. Additionally, Sorenson drove a pink car in Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway to help raise breast cancer awareness. Prior to the race he developed a donation pledge that his primary sponsor Target agreed to match. Sorenson also auctioned off his signed pink helmet and firesuit from the Atlanta race, with proceeds from the pledge and auction benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Project Pink House.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-2-2007)

  • Hmiel to Ganassi: UPDATE: Steve Hmiel has joined Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Hmiel will be responsible for competition management, race preparation, race engineering and testing. John Fernandez remains managing director. Tony Glover will remain as team manager overseeing race weekend activities.(10-26-2007)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Steve Hmiel, former director of technical operations at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., has accepted a new position with the organization to serve as manager of competition of its Concord racing operation. John Fernandez will continue to manage the long-term strategic direction of the CGRFS race operations while Steve will focus more on the competition management and preparation – including race engineering. Both Hmiel and Fernandez will report directly to Ganassi.(CGRFS PR)(10-26-2007)

  • No more contracts for Ganassi crews: Car owner Chip Ganassi [#'s 40,41,42] is reshuffling his massive operation for 2008, releasing a number of crewmen and saying he will not be signing any crewmen to contracts anymore.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-22-2007)

  • Special schemes for Sorenson and Stremme: Target and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today that the #41 Target Dodge will feature a pink paint scheme for the next two Nextel Cup Series events to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. Reed Sorenson will be running a pink #41 Dodge in this weekend's 500-mile race at Martinsville Speedway and at his hometown track - Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 28. Additionally, Target and CGRFS also announced Sorenson's teammate #40-David Stremme will be driving a Target House Dodge at Martinsville, highlighting Team Target's commitment to cause-related programs. Sorenson has created a donation pledge for the Atlanta race, which Target will match, that consists of a number of levels, with the top amount (including the match) being $36,400. Sorenson will donate $10,000 for a win, $5,000 for a top-five finish, $1,000 for a top-10 finish, $4,100 for a pole and $12.62 for each lap completed, totaling $4,100 if he completes all of the scheduled 325 laps that will make up the Pep Boys Auto 500. He will also auction his autographed custom race helmet and firesuit with proceeds from the pledge and auction benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and Project Pink House.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), more info on the auction on the Racing Charities page, see an image of the scheme on the #41 Team Schemes and #40 Team Schemes pages.(10-17-2007)

  • #41 Team Penalized For Rule Violations At Talladega: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #41 team that competes in the Nextel Cup Series, as a result of rule violations found last Sunday in post-race inspection at Talladega Superspeedway. The #41 Dodge, driven by Reed Sorenson, was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1C (failed to meet minimum front car heights) of NASCAR Car of Tomorrow Technical Bulletin #3 dated April 10, 2007. Sorenson has been penalized 25 championship driver points, while car owner Chip Ganassi has been penalized 25 championship car owner points. In addition, crew chief Jimmy Elledge has been fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR PR)(10-9-2007)

  • Sorenson's Team Collects First Pit Crew Challenge Win: Reed Sorenson's #41 crew earned its first Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season during Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Starting from the pole and on its way to a fifth-place finish, the Target team spent 219.402 seconds on pit road at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, becoming the 11th team to take home pit crew challenge honors this season. Sorenson's crew will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally's for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #41 Chip Ganassi Racing team consists of: Chuck White (jackman), Marty Forcier (front-tire carrier), Bobby Burrell (front-tire changer), Adam Moser (rear-tire carrier), Jason Sheet (rear-tire changer), Randy Hildreth (gasman), Eric "Pee Wee" Hoyle (catch can), and Doug Spees (eighth-man). The team is led by crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the pit crew coach is Phil Horton. Mark Martin's/Aric Almirola's #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally's is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally's is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-1-2007)

  • Sorensen youngest ever pole winner at Indy: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammates #41-Reed Sorenson and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya swept the front row for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Sorenson became the youngest pole winner for a major race in IMS history. Sorenson earned the pole – the first of his Nextel Cup Series career – at age 21 years, 173 days, eclipsing Rex Mays’ 72-year-old record as the youngest pole winner at IMS. Mays won the 1935 Indianapolis 500 pole at age 22.(IMS PR)(7-29-2007)

  • Two Target cars at Indy: Celebrating an 18-year partnership and rich racing history together that includes a win (2000, Montoya-IRL) and a pole (2004, Mears-NNCS) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be running two Target Dodges in the Brickyard 400. Reed Sorenson and the #41 crew will be sporting their usual paint scheme, while David Stremme and the #40 team will run the exact opposite color scheme.(CGRFS PR), see my #40 Team Schemes page for the Target scheme.(7-25-2007)

  • Lauletta Joins Chip Ganassi Racing as President: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. announced that Steve "Jake" Lauletta has been named president of the organization. Lauletta will oversee all aspects of the Chip Ganassi Racing’s business and marketing operations including both its Concord and Indianapolis facilities. Lauletta was formerly the president of Radiate Sports, the sports marketing division of Omnicom’s The Radiate Group. Prior to Radiate, Lauletta enjoyed a successful 11-year career at Miller Brewing Company. He served in a variety of marketing leadership positions with Miller, most recently as director of sports and event marketing.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(7-20-2007)

  • Sorenson gets coffee logos at Chicago; Elledge subs for Knaus...on TV: Maxwell House coffee, a brand of Kraft Foods, will have logo placement on the upper rear quarter panels of the #41 Target Dodge that Reed Sorenson will drive this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. #41 crew chief Jimmy Elledge will be substituting for regular host Chad Knaus on NASCAR Performance while Knaus serves a six week suspension. Elledge's first show was last weekend at Daytona. NASCAR Performance airs on SPEED. Elledge will accompany Nextel Cup Series crew chief Booty Barker and FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds live from the track each week.(CGRFS PR)(7-12-2007)

  • Dan Wheldon thinking about NASCAR UPDATE denied: Dan Wheldon loves to race, and a visit to NASCAR country with the IndyCar Series only highlights that passion - and makes him think more about moving over to stock cars and getting to do just about all the driving he can handle. 'In my position, you always want to be making yourself better and you always want to be involved in a series that's getting bigger and better,'' he said. "I think everybody knows that I certainly would consider NASCAR. For me, I want to look at the IndyCar Series this year and really consider .. is it going to get a lot bigger than this? Are we going to continue to go to races where we fill the grandstands?"(TSN/AP)(7-1-2007)
    UPDATE: team owner Chip Ganassi doesn't foresee open wheel star Dan Wheldon moving to stock cars anytime soon. "I personally don't see it on his radar screen [for] next year," Ganassi told ESPN.com Monday. Ganassi did say he and Wheldon discussed the proposition several months back, but discontinued those talks with the plan to resume them later in the summer. They've yet to do so, Ganassi said. "Having said that, we've had discussions along the lines of 'Hey, let's renew our deal,' and there's some other opportunities within the team for him," Ganassi said. "To be honest, I don't see [NASCAR] as one of the top-five things I'm conversing with him about. I do not consider [a move] imminent." Ganassi said Wheldon's true interest presently is winning a second IndyCar championship. Wheldon won the 2005 crown, then surrendered last season's title to Sam Hornish Jr. by way of a tiebreaker. The drivers finished with an equal number of championship points, but by rule Hornish was awarded the title due to having scored more victories during the year. Wheldon recently expressed interest in NASCAR. In fact, he was especially intrigued by that which deters many open-wheel drivers from jumping to stock cars -- the lengthy schedule.(ESPN.com)(7-3-2007)

  • Ganassi adds name to list of owners interested in Busch: Add Chip Ganassi Racing [#s 40, 41, 42] to the list of teams that are interested in #5-Kyle Busch. Team owner Chip Ganassi said he is interested in talking to the driver. "Who wouldn't be?" Ganassi said when asked if he was interested in pursuing Busch. "A good guy comes along like that, yeah I'm interested." Ganassi said he is not in the position to add a team since the best of his three drivers is #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, who ranks 21st in the points. "Before we can get to a fourth car, we've got to move our three cars up the grid a little bit," Ganassi said.(SceneDaily.com)(6-17-2007)

  • Ganassi cars to feature Father's Day tribute at MIS: As a tribute to the fathers of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) drivers and dads everywhere, the #40 Coors Light Dodge driven by David Stremme, the #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson and the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya will each feature their father's name above the passenger side window in this weekend's race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS).(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-15-2007)

  • Sabates to be recognized at college commencement: Felix Sabates Jr., co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS), will be awarded with an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service by The University of North Carolina at Charlotte during its commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12 at 10:00am/et. Sabates is being recognized for his generous philanthropic contributions, unwavering dedication to the Charlotte community and continual support for UNC Charlotte. He served on the board of directors of The Foundation of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Inc. from 1994-2005. "I have seen this institution grow from Charlotte College to The University of North Carolina at Charlotte," said Sabates. "I am grateful to receive such an honor from such a great university, and it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life." Over the years Sabates has made many philanthropic contributions and has received numerous honors and awards for his charitable efforts. Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.) has a dining hall named for him and Elon College (Elon, N.C.) awarded him an Honorary Doctorate. He also received a "Special Blessing" in writing from Pope John Paul II.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-11-2007)

  • TUMs scheme for Sorenson at Texas: The #41 Dodge will take on a different look this weekend in Texas, sporting a special TUMS paint scheme. A bold, white TUMS logo will adorn the hood of the blue #41 Dodge along with brightly colored TUMS tablets covering the quarter panels and rear of Reed Sorenson's Charger. See image of scheme on my #41 Team Schemes page. The new TUMS Track Tour Guide provides a list of the favorite restaurants at each and every track in racing along with some insight from our experts on each establishment. From well-known spots like the Tobacco Warehouse in Richmond to the local favorites around Lowe's Motor Speedway, the TUMS Track Tour Guide offers a glimpse into all of the racing world's best-kept dining secrets. The TUMS Track Tour Guide is available at www.TUMSracing.com. TUMS will be hosting a campground cook-off for fans to demonstrate their culinary expertise. The event will take place from 11-12:30 pm on Saturday, Apr. 14, at the TUMS "Dinermobile", located in the Fan Concourse area at Texas Motor Speedway. All fans are encourage to enter the event, which will be judged by an all-star panel including Doug Riepe, rear tire carrier on the #40 Coors Light Dodge, and Reed Sorenson's mother Becky. Categories include dishes that are Most Likely to Inspire Indigestion, the Hottest Heartburn and the Most TUMS-worthy. Top prizes include a pit tour for two on Sunday morning and a meet and greet with Sorenson.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR/Clear!Blue PR)(4-12-2007)

  • Sabates leaving in five years: Felix Sabates plans to sell his 20% interest in the Nextel Cup organization he owns with Chip Ganassi in five years. "I'm leaving," Sabates said. "I've told Chip I'm leaving in five years." Sabates got into stock car racing in 1989. He sold 80 percent of the company to Ganassi in 2001. He doesn't want to stay in the sport so long that he can't get over the pit wall by himself. "I'm going to leave at Richmond because Richmond always falls on my birthday," said Sabates, who is 65. "I'm going to walk over and look at Ganassi and say, 'See ya. I'm gone.' And watch it on TV."(ESPN.com)(4-2-2007)

  • AMP on the #41 at Atlanta: AMP Energy Drink will adorn the upper-rear quarter panels of the #41 Target Dodge that Reed Sorenson drives at Atlanta. AMP, a product of PepsiCo, Inc., is based on the original flavor of Mountain Dew, enhanced with energy boosting ingredients.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(3-15-2007)

  • Ganassi to four teams in 2008? Owner Chip Ganassi [#'s 40,41,42] said he would like to expand his Nextel Cup stable to four teams by as early as next season, if he can secure sponsorship. Dan Wheldon, who drives for Ganassi's IndyCar team attended the Daytona 500 and has been fitted for a seat in a Busch car, is intrigued by the possibility. ''It would be perfect, right?'' Wheldon said this week. ``Chip has to let me try the NASCAR first, so I can see if I like that. That would be something I would definitely consider. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I can take the [IndyCar] title back from Sam [ Hornish Jr.]. If I do that, and I'm able to win the Indianapolis 500, it would be very hard to say no to a [Cup] opportunity like that. I've got to do that and have that opportunity presented to me before I can make a decision.''(Miami Herald)(2-23-2007)

  • Sorenson to run Energizer e2 Lithium scheme at California: The #41 Dodge of Reed Sorenson will sport the Energizer e2 Lithium paint scheme this weekend in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. The dynamic silver and blue paint scheme will feature Energizer e2 Lithium, the World's Longest Lasting Battery in High Tech Devices, alongside the famous Energizer Bunny, who will be on hand during pre-race ceremonies and in the pits on Sunday to give "long lasting" support to Sorenson and the Energizer/Target team.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #41 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2007)

    2006 News

  • Bobcat's owner blocks Sabates from donating stock in team: A minority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats wants to donate his share of the basketball team to a charity, but is being blocked by team managing partner Bob Johnson. Felix Sabates [part owner of Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates #40,#41,#42] wants to give his Bobcats stock, which he values at about $1.34 million, to the foundation that supports Carolinas HealthCare System. The Cuban-born Sabates, also a prominent NASCAR team owner, is a member of the system's board. "I was surprised Bob wouldn't approve this, considering it's a donation," Sabates told the newspaper in an interview Friday. Sabates received a letter from Johnson's attorney, Van Sinclair, on Nov. 29 denying his request to transfer the shares, saying the NBA does not allow not-for-profit or charitable entities to own an interest in its franchises. A subsequent letter from Sabates to the health care system quoted Johnson as saying the NBA had nothing to do with the decision, which was made because Johnson "does not wish to have any charitable organization in partnership with the Charlotte Bobcats."
    "I am really surprised at his decision. I thought this would be a great opportunity for the Bobcats to become a real part of this community," Sabates wrote. NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Friday that nothing in the NBA's constitution specifically bars a not-for-profit or charitable organization from owning stock in a team. But, he noted, the league's Board of Governors must approve any ownership change. Sabates' share of the Bobcats is less than 1 percent of the original $300 million franchise fee.(Associated Press)(12-28-2006)

  • Wrigley to sponsor Montoya for 3 races in 2007? UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing will announce that the William Wrigley Jr. Co., through its Wrigley gum brand, will be a primary sponsor for three races on the #42 Nextel Cup Dodge [main sponsor Texaco] driven by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2007 and 25 races as an associate sponsor for the #41 Busch Series car driven by Reed Sorenson.(Sporting News)(11-12-2006)
    UPDATE: The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company will make its NASCAR debut with a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) that features Wrigley's Spearmint, Doublemint, Big Red, Juicy Fruit and Winterfresh brands. Wrigley will sponsor rising stars Reed Sorenson and David Stremme, who will drive the #41 Dodge in the first 25 Busch Series races in 2007, and former Indianapolis 500 champion and Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who will drive the #42 Big Red Dodge in three Nextel Cup races for the 2007 NASCAR season. Sorenson and Stremme will alternate as the driver of the #41 car on the first 25 races of the Busch Series. Their car will feature a rotating paint scheme of Wrigley's Spearmint, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, and Winterfresh brands. Wrigley will be an associate sponsor of the car for the remaining 10 races. When Montoya grabs the wheel of the #42 Big Red Dodge for three Nextel Cup races, his car and uniform will feature a bold black-and-red Big Red color scheme. Wrigley, through its Big Red brand, will also be an associate sponsor of the car for the remaining 33 races.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-12-2006)

  • Chip Ganassi Racing signs Brady Bacon: Open-wheel standout Brady Bacon has signed on to become a part of the Chip Ganassi Racing driver development program. For the remainder of 2006, Bacon will be the feature driver at Keith Kunz Motorsports, filling in for injured teammate and fellow Ganassi prospect Bryan Clauson. The 2006 Southern Midget Racing Series champion, Bacon finished third this past weekend in the USAC National Sprint Car race in what was his first outing at the prestigious Eldora Speedway in Ohio.(Brady Bacon site)(11-10-2006)

  • Tums to be assoc sponsor for Ganassi in 2007/2008: After providing Americans with fast heartburn relief for more than 75 years, TUMS is speeding into Nextel Cup racing as an associate sponsor with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). The brand has signed a two-year deal that begins with the 2007 season. As part of the deal, the TUMS logo will appear on the rear decklid of the #41 Dodge, driven by Reed Sorenson, throughout the season. In addition, the car will feature a TUMS paint scheme during the April race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. David Stremme’s #40 Dodge will carry the TUMS logo on its B post throughout the season and also will feature a full TUMS paint scheme at Chicagoland Speedway in July. TUMS branding also will be visible on driver and crew uniforms and on team equipment. TUMS is already a familiar friend to NASCAR fans. During the past two seasons TUMS has reached out to them with sampling programs at several tracks featuring a fleet of golf carts. Samplers on the golf carts traveled around the track and into the campgrounds, meeting fans where heartburn strikes.(Tums PR)(11-3-2006)

  • Kraft on the #41 at Texas: The Kraft Foods logo will adorn the upper-rear quarter panels of the red and white #41 Target Dodge that Reed Sorenson this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-31-2006)

  • #41 to carry Lysol decals at LMS: The Lysol logo will adorn the upper-rear quarter panels of the red and white #41 Target Dodge that Reed Sorenson this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Lysol Brand surface and air sanitizer products are manufactured and distributed by Reckitt Benckiser, #1 in household cleaning.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-11-2006)

  • Ganassi Racing Hires new VP of Business Development: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc., announced the hiring of Chris Weiller as Vice President of Business Development. Weiller will be based out of the team's Concord, N.C. race shop and will be responsible for creating and implementing new business and marketing opportunities for the team and its drivers across NASCAR, the Indy Racing League and the Grand Am series. Weiller joins Chip Ganassi Racing from the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats where he served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-7-2006)

  • Nicorette scheme for Sorenson at RIR: Reed Sorenson will be sporting a different look this weekend at Richmond, driving the #41 Nicorette Dodge. The special Nicorette paint scheme is another part of the only smoking cessation sponsorship in NASCAR history featuring the brands Nicorette nicotine gum, NicoDerm CQ nicotine patches and Commit nicotine lozenges. This unique NASCAR sponsorship also features the first-of-its-kind "QUIT Crew" program that provides quit smoking counseling and information to the NASCAR community. Over 170 NASCAR team members, officials and media, including several employees from the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates organization, have enrolled in the program. Free quit smoking counseling is also available to race fans at the Winner's Circle Exhibit located in the fan walk area at 30 NASCAR races including Richmond this weekend. For more information on Nicorette and its NASCAR programs, go to quit2winracing.com. The Target scheme will return next weekend in New Hampshire.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the scheme on the #41 Team Schemes page.(9-7-2006)

  • Dodge's Fernandez to Ganassi? UPDATE 2: Hearing that Dodge Motorsports Director, John Fernandez, will assume the General Managers position at Chip Ganassi Racing on July 1st. Fernandez would replace Andy Graves, who stepped down a few months ago.(6-19-2006)
    UPDATE: Dodge’s motorsports czar, John Fernandez, rumored to be headed to Chip Ganassi’s team to replace deposed team manager Andy Graves, is apparently still with Dodge — for the moment, anyway. A Dodge representative said Fernandez was still at his office in Michigan, while Ganassi’s people declined comment on whether Fernandez was going to work for the team.(Speed Channel)(6-24-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Friday John Fernandez, former Director of Dodge Motorsports, has accepted a new position with the organization to serve as Managing Director of its Concord racing operation. "John has been involved in racing for a long time as an engineer with Dodge and as head of its racing programs," said Chip Ganassi. "I am very excited to add someone to the team that has so much experience in a number of different areas. He brings so much to the table." Fernandez will manage all aspects of the organization's racing operation in North Carolina, including overseeing all four teams, as well as the engine, fabrication and paint shops. Fernandez' move to CGRFS follows a long career with the DaimlerChrysler Corporation, where he served for 35 years.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-4-2006)

  • Marco Andretti to Ganassi...in Cup? UPDATE Denied: not much to report...but on the Fox Sports pre-race show at Sonoma, it was just mentioned in their news of the week, IRL driver Marco Andretti could be headed to Ganassi Racing as the driver of one of the three cars?(6-25-2006)
    UPDATE - Denied: Indy Racing League rookie Marco Andretti will be in Kansas City, Kan., this weekend, but he's not going to NASCAR. As he prepared to head for Kansas Speedway for Sunday's Kansas Lottery Indy 300, the 19-year-old third-generation racer seemed truly puzzled when queried about driving NASCAR stock cars in his future. Several print media reports and FOX-TV commentators, during the pre-race segment of last Sunday's telecast from Sonoma, Calif., had Marco being a candidate to join Chip Ganassi's Nextel Cup team. "Absolutely not. No way. No talk about NASCAR with anyone," the youngest Andretti said. "I don't know where that rumor started, but that's a part of our sport." Andretti insisted it was news to him when he received a recent call from his cousin, John Andretti, a NASCAR veteran currently racing in the Busch Series. "Man, you're actually the third person who told me -- next to John," Andretti said Wednesday. "He called me and said, 'Man, why don't you tell me these things?' I told him he just told me for the first time." Marco is a rookie Indy car driver under contract to his father's Andretti Green Racing organization. "Man 19 years old I'm just happy to be where I am. I'm definitely loving to be where I am here at AGR for the next three years," Andretti said.(Express Times)(7-2-2006)

  • Red Target Scheme to run rest of 2006: The Target paint scheme will be switching to a primarily red scheme with a white Bullseye on the hood of Reed Sorenson's #41 Dodge for the remainder of the season starting with the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. The scheme was first introduced during the night races this past May.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) see images of the scheme on my #41 Team Schemes page.(6-27-2006)

  • Wheldon to Ganassi Cup team? UPDATE 2: ESPN's Mike Massaro reported on ESPNEWS Monday Night NASCAR the time could be right for Dan Wheldon, Ganassi's IRL Driver, to move to a Chip Ganassi Racing Cup team in 2007, since the team will have an open seat with Casey Mears leaving the #42 team.(6-13-2006)

    UPDATE: According to an official at Chip Ganassi racing :”There is no truth to the Wheldon story.”(CupSceneDaily.com)(6-13-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Dan Wheldon wouldn't comment directly about reports he would be switching to NASCAR next season, but did say he would consider driving stock cars sometime in the future. Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 champion, spoke to reporters Tuesday during IndyCar testing at Kanasas Speedway. "It's certainly something that intrigues me," said Wheldon. "Everybody knows I went to some of the races last year to look and to see what it was all about. The one thing that does appeal to me is the schedule. I don't have a family or other commitments. All I love to do is be in the race car. Would I be good? Yes, but it would take awhile." Wheldon said it would have to be an owner who knows his ability and would be willing to give him the proper time to perform.(Racinboys.com - Sports Radio 810 WHB)
    AND Car owner Chip Ganassi, who has an unexpected hole to fill on his NASCAR team, said Tuesday that IRL driver Dan Wheldon is not a candidate to replace Casey Mears. "There is no story here," Ganassi said. "Dan has a commitment to Target right now to drive an Indy car and that's where he'll stay."(AP)(6-14-2006)

  • Discount Tire moving to Roush in 2007? hearing Discount Tire is leaving the #41 Ganassi Racing Busch Series team that Reed Sorenson currently drives for and will go to one of the Roush Racing Busch teams.(6-13-2006)

  • Red #41 Scheme: The #41 Target team with driver Reed Sorenson is running the reverse colors of its primary paint scheme for the third consecutive race. What is red is white and visa versa. The scheme will also run in next weekend's race at Lowe's in addition to the October event at the track, and it will run in July at Daytona.(Chip Ganassi Racing w/ Felix Sabates PR), see an image on my #41 Team Schemes page.(5-17/19-2006)

  • Elledge Extends Contract with Ganassi: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge has signed a multi-year contract extension with the organization. Elledge is currently the crew chief for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rookie Reed Sorenson and the #41 Target team. "Jimmy has been instrumental in the development of our young drivers," said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. "He has incredible patience and leadership skills which are an asset to any organization. I'm pleased to have him as part of the present and future at Chip Ganassi Racing."
    "I'm excited about extending my relationship with Chip and Felix (Sabates)," said Elledge. "There are a lot of good people here committed to seeing this team succeed, and if we continue to keep building and working together as one team we'll get there. I'm very pleased with the direction this organization is heading and I'm looking forward to being a part of it. Also, the relationship between Reed and I, and everyone on this team is developing at a rapid pace. We're right on the verge of something very special." Over the past three seasons Elledge worked with CGRFS driver Casey Mears who piloted the red and white Dodge from 2003 to 2005. Elledge led Mears to consecutive pole positions in 2004 at Pocono and Indianapolis, and to five top-10 finishes over the final nine races of 2005.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-26-2006)

  • Fennig to Ganassi? Denied: hearing former #26/97/6 Rosuh Racing crew chief, Jimmy Fennig is the new team manager at Chip Ganassi Racing.
    UPDATE: been to by folks at Ganassi that the hiring of Jimmy Fennig is not true.(4-25-2006)

  • Graves Steps Down as Ganassi Team Manager: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today that Andy Graves has resigned his position as team manager and will be reassigned to a different position within the company. "Andy Graves has been a passionate and valued member of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for the past seven years," said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. "I have an extremely high regard for him both professionally and personally and look forward to his continued contributions here at Chip Ganassi Racing."
    "It has been a privilege to work with Chip, Felix and the whole team over the last seven seasons," said Graves. "These years with the team have been a part of my life that I will never forget and for that I am truly grateful. I am now just looking forward to the next chapter of my career here at Chip Ganassi Racing." Graves was in his sixth season as team manager for CGRFS. He joined CGRFS in 2000 as one of its first employees and was promptly named team manager for the Indianapolis 500 team that would go on to capture the 2000 Indianapolis 500 crown. Graves was also instrumental in the transition from SABCO to CGRFS. On an interim basis the duties of team manager will be absorbed by the current management staff that is in place.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-18-2006)

  • #40 Crew Chief change? UPDATE: hearing that Steve Lane has taken over crew chiefing the #40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge for rookie driver David Stremme, no word on plans to crew chief Jeff Vandermoss who was the crew chief. Vandermoss moves over to the #41 Target team and driver Reed Sorenson as the car chief. Lane was the car chief there.
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today that Steven Lane will take over crew chief duties on the #40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge starting this weekend in Phoenix. "Everyone is excited about the experience that Steve will bring to the #40 team," Team Manager Andy Graves said. "This is Steve's third year with the organization and has been instrumental in the success of this year's #41 car. We are committed to getting all three teams running up front and Steve brings with him the necessary experience to help both David Stremme and the entire team. This is a great opportunity for him and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates." Lane has been the car chief on the #41 Dodge since joining the CGRFS team in 2004. Before coming on board at CGRFS, Lane was crew chief of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge for two seasons. He also served as Jeremy Mayfield's car chief at Penske from 1997 through 2001. Jeff Vandermoss will assume the car chief duties on the #41 Dodge. Vandermoss began the season as crew chief on the #40 car after a successful seven-year career at Roush Racing, four of those years as the car chief for Matt Kenseth.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-17-2006)

  • Fujifilm scheme for #41 at Atlanta: The #41 Dodge will boast a different look in the Golden Coral 500 for driver Reed Sorenson. Fujifilm will serve as the primary sponsor for the event. To coincide with the paint scheme, a Reed Sorenson photo diary will be posted on fujifilm.com, commemorating his homecoming and the week's events. Additionally, Fujifilm is encouraging fans planning to attend the AMS race to wear Fujifilm green, white and red, or other apparel, in support of Sorenson. Brand ambassadors are set to scour AMS this coming weekend in search of the three most enthusiastic and colorful Reed Sorenson fans, and those chosen will receive a complementary prize package from Fujifilm that includes a FinePix V10 digital camera - the same model used by Sorenson to record his photo diary -- a 1GB xD Picture Card and a specially-fitted FinePix V10 camera case.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(3-15-2006)

  • State Farm teams up with Burton and Sorenson: Beginning with the Daytona 500 on February 19, 2006, State Farm will begin partnerships with NASCAR drivers #31-Jeff Burton of Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and #41-Reed Sorenson of Chip Ganassi Racing. During the Daytona 500 on February 19, State Farm will debut two commercials featuring Jeff Burton and his State Farm agent. Throughout the 2006 NASCAR season, State Farm will advertise in nearly every NASCAR race. Commercials featuring Reed Sorenson will begin later this year.State Farm logo will appear on Burton's driver uniform and uniforms of pit crew during Nextel Cup and Busch Series races, on RCR trailer/transporter and pit equipment and in "fan walk" of RCR headquarters, museum, and RCRacing.com. The State Farm logo will appear on Sorenson's driver uniform and uniforms of pit crew during Nextel Cup and Busch Series races. In both cases, State Farm is sponsoring the drivers and not the cars. The State Farm logo will not appear on either car.(State Farm PR)(2-10-2006)

  • Ganassi doesn't want wing: While the wing on the NASCAR "car of tomorrow" is intriguing, team owner Chip Ganassi said that he didn't want to see a wing on the cars. Ganassi said he is happy that NASCAR has had dialogue with the teams and considered their input - and he hopes that could include eliminating the idea of a wing on the cars. Ganassi has had experience with wings in open-wheel and road racing. "There better not be a wing on the car of tomorrow," Ganassi said. "It is an area that is wide open and rampant for cheating, and it's an area that's very hard to police. Why they would want to get involved in something that's hard to police, I have no idea."(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-31-2006)

  • Quit Smoking Program teams up with NASCAR: GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare has launched "QUIT Crew" a smoking cessation program through its 2006 NASCAR sponsorship. The program is designed to help partnering teams within NASCAR to quit smoking and help reduce the number of smokers throughout the sport. Last season, GSK Consumer Healthcare conducted a pilot program with the Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing team [#41 Dodge in Cup]. Sixteen members of the Ganassi Racing Team in Concord, NC participated in the program last year. Thus far, Hendrick Motorsports, Petty Enterprises and Chip Ganassi Racing have signed up to offer the program to their employees. Other teams are expected to join the program as it's offered more broadly over the next several weeks.
    When a group enrolls in the program, interested team members will be invited to an orientation and seminar about quitting smoking presented by Frank Vitale of the University of Pittsburgh Pharmacy School. During orientation, Vitale will explain the process of quitting, the products available to help them and enroll those interested in joining the 10-12 week program.
    Program participants will be counseled and monitored closely by GSK Consumer Healthcare smoking cessation counselors on a weekly basis. Vitale will meet with participants privately the afternoon of the seminar and will be available to them by telephone during the program. GSK Consumer Healthcare is providing counselor services free of charge as well as a starter kit of smoking cessation products. In addition, GSK Consumer Healthcare smoking cessation counselors will be available to crew members in the garage areas at 30 NASCAR races this season.
    To inspire NASCAR fans to quit, each participating team will be given an opportunity to take a video camera provided by GSK Consumer Healthcare to document their thoughts and experiences during the quit smoking process. The challenges they encounter will be documented on the quit2winracing.com web site to help others understand what the quitting process is really like.(Lighthouse Marketing PR)(1-27-2006)

  • Energizer scheme for Sorenson at California: Energizer has announced plans to unveil a special edition paint scheme on the #41 Dodge driven by Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) rookie Reed Sorenson. The new design will be unveiled on January 25 as part of a media day at the CGRFS facility in Concord, NC. This uniquely designed Energizer e2 Lithium Dodge will be featured exclusively in the Fontana, Calif. race on February 26. The dynamic silver and blue paint scheme will feature Energizer e2 Lithium, the World's Longest Lasting AA /AAA Batteries in High Tech Devices, alongside the famous Energizer Bunny.(Yahoo Biz)(1-24-2006)

    IMAGE: see image of the car and more #41's on my #41 Team Schemes page.(1-26-2006)

  • Ganassi's comments about Toyota: Q) Does the new Manufacturer's Lineup [now with Toyota] surprise you and would you consider joining them [Toyota]? A-Chip Ganassi - #40, #41, #42 team owner) "I've been in Phoenix all week, so I'm not exactly sure what they announced or who they announced. Whoever they go with, I think you saw in the truck series they made winners out of teams that were otherwise not. I don't really know what their plans are for teams or drivers, but I can assure you they'll do it right no matter who they're with. We were with them for a lot of years and had some success with them on the Indy car side. Right now we don't have any plans to switch off from Dodge. We'll see what happens down the road, but right now that's not in our plans."(Clear!Blue PR)(1-26-2006)

    2005 News

  • Sorenson in the #09 at Homestead: Reed Sorenson is going to get a badly needed Nextel Cup start next week at Homestead thanks to an old friend who has helped his career in the past. Sorenson will drive the #09 Dodge for James Finch, the same car owner who provided the Busch car that Sorenson drove in his second start in that series last year, at Memphis, and recorded his first top-10 finish. Sorenson is set to move to the Cup circuit next year, but unlike most rookies who run the NASCAR maximum of seven races the year before, he has just one start, at Atlanta. Finch said he's glad to help Sorenson advance his career by offering the car to drive at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-11-2005)

  • Mears to the #42; McMurray released; Ganassi staying at three cars UPDATE 4 OFFICIAL: now hearing that Ganassi is going to remain at three teams with one of the four Cup sponsors they have may change their sponosrship around and appear on more of the Ganassi cars [#40,#41,#42 and #30?]. WIth...McMurray moving to Roush Racing and Kurt Busch to Penske Racing.(11-6-2005)
    UPDATE: hearing Mears to the #42, with Texaco staying as the primary sponsor and Home 123 as a major assocciate and being hte primary in a few races as they were this year on the #42. Expect an announcement early this week and could be as soon as Monday.(11-6-2005)
    UPDATE 2: There is speculation that if Ganassi can't get a top-name driver for the McMurray-Texaco ride, he is willing to promote Casey Mears.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)
    UPDATE 3: been told the deal is done, Ganassi stays a 3-car team, #40-David Stremme, #41-Reed Sorenson and #42-Casey Mears with Texaco.(11-7-2005)
    UPDATE 4: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) and its sponsor Chevron Products Company announced today that they have selected Casey Mears to pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge starting in 2006. In addition, CGRFS has agreed to release Jamie McMurray from his contract to drive for the organization through the '06 NEXTEL Cup Series season. "We've been working hard to find a driver solution for Texaco/Havoline and we are fortunate that we could offer them Casey," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "Some recent positive developments have allowed us to make this move and we couldn't be happier with how things are shaping up for the 2006 season. Casey is a driver and a person that we think a lot of and have a lot of faith in."
    Mears has been with CGRFS since being selected by the organization to drive its #41 NEXTEL Cup Series entry in 2003. He has competed in 106 races and recorded two poles, three top-five finishes and 17 top-10 finishes.
    "I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to drive the Texaco/Havoline Dodge next season," said Mears. "Texaco/Havoline has been a sponsor in this sport for a long time and they've had an impressive list of drivers compete and win in their cars. I look forward to joining that group and taking them and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates back to Victory Lane." In 2006, Texaco/Havoline will embark on its 19th season as a NASCAR sponsor.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-7-2005)

  • Pattie in for Elledge at Atlanta..for a good reason #41 crew chief, Jimmy Elledge is back home in NC today as wife Kelley [Earnhardt] had a baby on Saturday, Kennedy Dale. Brian Pattie will be Casey Mears crew chief at Atlanta.(NASCAR This Morning)(10-30-2005)

  • #30 for Mears in 2006: Casey Mears says he'd love to have the #42 next season if Jamie McMurray leaves, but that's simply "not an option." Owners points for each car number determine provisionals, and Mears' #41 will be given to 2006 rookie Reed Sorenson next season to enable him to make each race. So where does that leave Mears? He'll have to rely on his qualifying prowess--and hope he doesn't run into mechanical issues. Mears was initially expected to drive the #39 next season but now says he'll be in the #30; Richard Childress plans to give up the number [used #30 a few years, switched to #07 for 2005](Sporting News)(10-24-2005)

  • Mears wins Checker-Rally's award: The No. 41Target/Breast Cancer Research Foundation Team with Driver Casey Mears Wins won the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge at the UAW-GM Quality 500 on October 15th at Lowe's Motor Speedway. As the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, Checkers/Rally's recognizes the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team with the best pit road performance each week with a $10,000 prize. At the end of the season, Checkers/Rally's will award the $100,000 grand prize to the team that garners the most Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge wins throughout the race season. Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge takes place at all 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point races. To win, teams must finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time in pit lane. For details on the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge, visit checkers.com/nascar.(MARC PR)(10-21-2005)

  • Ganassi drivers visit the Gulf region: Three NASCAR drivers were shocked by the extent of the damage in the Gulf Coast when they flew down for a visit Thursday. The drivers know they’ve got a lot of fans on the coast and the trip was a chance for them to tell the people down there that they had fans too. The flight went to Waveland, Mississippi, Katrina’s ground zero. The mission was to swap out Charlotte SWAT team members protecting Carolina Medical Center’s (CMC) mobile hospital, MED-1. At MED-1 there was a surprise, drivers Casey Mears, David Stremme and Kevin Hamlin. For the drivers it was a first look at the devastation. “(We wanted) To show our support for the Carolina’s medical team,” said Hamlin. In five weeks, MED-1 has treated over 5,000 patients. “They give you all the time in the world,” said patient Wayne Lander. Down there, every new turn reveals damage. “It’s crazy,” said Mears. “There’s nothing here.”
    “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be able to see something like this, see how it’s affecting people,” said Hamlin. “It’s something I never want to have to experience.” Thursday life in the fast land slowed. Whether you’ve lost everything, are working around the clock, give help or are sick, like patients at MED-1, it helps knowing someone is rooting for you. “It’s nice to at least put a smile on somebody’s face,” said Mears. MED-1 is scheduled to return to the Queen City at the end of October. It has been deployed in the Gulf Coast since early September.(wcnc.com)(9-30-2005)

  • Target, #41 CGRFS and BCRF Team Up in the Fight Against Breast Cancer In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Target, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) and Casey Mears will team up once again to promote breast cancer awareness to racing fans across the country. The #41 Target Dodge will sport a special pink paint scheme for the second year in a row that will carry the logo of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). Mears will take the helm of the pink Dodge Charger for five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in October: Talladega, Kansas, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Martinsville and Atlanta. There are 30 million female NASCAR fans in the United States, and according to the most recent statistics, the chances of a woman having invasive breast cancer during her lifetime is about one in seven. Therefore, over four million of NASCAR's female fans may be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime. Mears will auction his one-of-a-kind BCRF helmet designed and donated by Troy Lee Designs on eBay with all of the proceeds going directly to BCRF. Mears will be wearing this special helmet in all five races in October. The bidding will run from October 1 through the end of month. Target and Action Performance have created a diecast replica of the pink #41 Target Dodge, as well as special Target/BCRF t-shirts and hats. These items will be sold online, at the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates shop and at Mears' trackside trailer. Target, Action, CGRFS and Mears have all agreed to donate the profits from the sale of these items to the BCRF. Target will unveil, for the second consecutive year, an exclusive line of pink-themed products. The pink product collection will be available online at www.target.com/breastcancer with select items available in stores starting October 1 through October 31. For more information about BCRF visit www.bcrfcure.org.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(9-28-2005)

  • Race #100 for Mears: #41-Casey Mears will be making his 100th start in the NEXTEL Cup Series this weekend at Dover International Speedway in the #41 Target Dodge. "I can't believe I'm making my 100th start in the Cup Series," said Mears. "When I had the opportunity to run in the Busch Series four years ago, I thought it might be temporary. I really believed I would be back in an open wheel series. Today, I can't imagine racing in any other series but NASCAR. In 99 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts, Mears has accumulated two poles, two top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. The highlight of his stock car career came at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he captured the pole at a record-setting speed last season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(9-22-2005)

  • Sorenson Cup debut at Atlanta: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that NASCAR Busch Series driver Reed Sorenson will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut during the Oct. 31 race weekend at his home track of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Discount Tire Co., the primary sponsor of Sorenson's #41 Dodge in the Busch Series, will increase its support of the 19-year-old driver by serving as the sponsor on his #39 Dodge Charger. In addition, Sorenson will attempt to qualify for the NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in the #39 Discount Tire Dodge in November. The paint scheme that Sorenson will be running in Atlanta and Texas is also a sneak peek at what his #41 Discount Tire Dodge will look like for the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series season. Discount Tire Company made its foray into racing in 2004 with its sponsorship of a CGRFS entry in the NASCAR Busch Series. After running eight races in 2004, Discount Tire expanded its sponsorship to a full season this year. Discount Tire will continue its support of Sorenson in the Busch Series in 2006.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(9-13-2005)

  • Mears to run #30? hearing the car number for the fourth Ganassi Racing team will be the #30 Home 123 Dodge for driver Casey Mears.(9-13-2005)

  • Lysol on the #41: The rear quarter panels of the #41 Target Dodge of Casey Mears will not be sporting the familiar bullseye logos this weekend in Richmond, but instead will carry the Lysol logo. Lysol is an associate sponsor on the #41 Dodge and has been part of the Target Racing NASCAR and IndyCar programs for the past four years.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(9-7-2005)

  • Mears going surfing: #41-Casey Mears will be hitting the waves of the Pacific Ocean with professional surfer Pat O'Connell while in California. O'Connell, the star of the movie "Endless Summer II," will be giving Mears surfing lessons at the Huntington Beach Pier on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. Later that afternoon, O'Connell will be switching gears by receiving a ride-a-long at California Speedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(9-1-2005)

  • The Softball Champs: Chip Ganassi Racing Won the NASCAR Softball Championship 22 to 9 against Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday night [Aug 23]. Team photo and players names are on www.racecitymarketing.com/softball.(8-25-2005)

  • Chef on the Pit Box: Iron Chef: One of the most recognizable chefs in the country, Mario Batali, will be sitting atop the Target pit box at Bristol on Saturday night. Batali owns and operates several New York City restaurants, appears regularly on the Food Network and is an avid NASCAR fan. Batali is currently working on a cookbook called “Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style” in conjunction with The Sporting News.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(8-25-2005)

  • Ernie Elliott Re-Ups with Ganassi: Ernie Elliott, the engine-building expert from Dawsonville, GA who provides the power for several NASCAR teams including the Chip Ganassi-owned operation, won't be retiring to his Montana ranch anytime soon. He recently signed a multiyear extension with Ganassi, his principal customer. Although Elliott, the older brother of Bill Elliott, has been building racing engines on the Cup circuit since the early 1970s, he said he still relishes the competitive nature of his job. "I wish we were running better, but Chip and his people will get that worked out," he said. "Our Busch cars are running good, but there have been too many Cup races since we've won." Ganassi's last Cup victory was in 2002 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but Reed Sorenson has driven a Ganassi car to two victories on the Busch Series this season.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-19-2005)

  • Ganassi Announcement on Friday UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi will be on hand for a special announcement at Watkins Glen International regarding sponsor activities and plans for the 2006 season on Friday, August 12, 2005 at the Watkins Glen International Victory Lane.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
    Hopefully this will help clear up some of the Silly Season rumors, such as does Casey Mears stay in the #41 Target Dodge? move to a 4th team, #39? go back to Busch so Reed Sorenson can move up to the #41? does Jamie McMurray get out of his contract? if so, then who goes in the #42 Texaco Dodge? Mears? Sorenson? someone else? So far the only thing we know for sure is David Stremme in the #40 Lonestar/Coor Light Dodge in 2006...supposedly #41 crew chief, Jimmy Elledge will be his crew chief.(8-10-2005)
    UPDATE: been told that Ganassi will expand to a full four car team in 2006, with Casey Mears moving to the Home 123 Dodge, possibly #39, with Ganassi Busch Series driver, Reed Sorenson going to the #41 Target Dodge and also running the #41 Discount Tires Dodge on the Busch Series. The fate of the #42 Texaco Havoline team is unknown, but at present Jamie McMurray is expect to drive the car unless he can get out of his contract for 2006 and move to the #6 Roush Racing Ford, the team he signed to drive for in 2007.(8-11-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Home123 Corporation, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation , together with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS), today announced plans to expand their partnership to sponsor a fourth NEXTEL Cup Series entry in 2006 with current CGRFS driver Casey Mears taking the helm. Mears and his Home123 Team will take to the track in 2006 in an all-out pursuit to win races and build awareness of one of America's premier providers of home mortgage loans.
    Home123 Corporation, the official mortgage company of NASCAR, joined forces with CGRFS prior to the 2005 season as a major associate on both the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray in the NEXTEL Cup Series and the #41 Discount Tire Dodge piloted by Reed Sorenson in the Busch Series. In addition to Home123's NASCAR involvement, New Century Mortgage Corporation, also a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation, is the primary sponsor on Chip Ganassi Racing's #02 Rolex GrandAm Series team with drivers Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson. Casey Mears has been driving for CGRFS since joining the NEXTEL Cup Series ranks in 2003. To date he has amassed two pole positions, two top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes in 93 starts. Prior to moving up to NASCAR's elite division, Mears cut his racing teeth competing in the NASCAR Busch Series, CART, IRL, Indy Lights Series and USAC Triple Crown, along with many other forms of motorsports. To find out more about Home123 or New Century, please visit www.Home123.com
    AND UPDATE 2 1/2: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today its complete 2006 driver line up for its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup programs. The multi-car team will expand its Concord-based racing stable to four NEXTEL Cup Series teams in 2006 with drivers Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Jamie McMurray and David Stremme piloting the Dodge Chargers.
    "I'm extremely excited about our 2006 driver line-up," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "We began working toward this goal in 2002 when Felix and I signed David, and it continued with the addition of Reed, Jamie and Casey in 2003. This is a testament to Lorin Ranier and our driver development program as well as our unparalleled sponsor services team and the investments we've made over the past few years to achieve our goal of a four-car operation. It is my belief that these four drivers will help us accomplish our mission of winning races and adding value to our sponsor partners."
    4th Team: Mears will continue his driving duties with CGRFS in 2006, but will pilot the Home123 Dodge Charger for a full season with backing from one of America's largest providers of home mortgage loans, New Century Mortgage subsidiary Home123. Mears is set to begin his fourth year with CGRFS next season after serving as driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge since 2003.
    #41: Having already notched victories at Nashville and Gateway, and establishing himself a championship contender in his first full season of NASCAR Busch Series racing for CGRFS in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge, Sorenson's reward will come in the form of a full-time NEXTEL Cup Series ride in 2006 behind the wheel of the #41 Target Dodge. The 19-year-old rookie will remain the driver of the Discount Tire Busch machine next season, and will benefit significantly from running a full slate of Busch and Cup Series races in 2006.
    #40 ream: As previously announced, Stremme will be piloting the #40 Coors Light and #40 Lonestar Steakhouse & Saloon Dodges for 2006 in the NEXTEL Cup Series for CGRFS. Stremme, the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, will be making a run at the NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year honors alongside Sorenson. And if last weekend's Busch Series performances at Indianapolis Raceway Park were any indication of things to come, the two will have plenty for the competition as they stand third (Sorenson) and eighth (Stremme) in the championship standings.
    #42 team: As the team's leading contender for 2005's edition of "The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup," McMurray (11th) will again pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in his fourth year of tenure at CGRFS. The former NEXTEL Cup Series race winner will return to the familiar black and red Dodge Charger with the Texaco/Havoline sponsorship he's enjoyed every season at CGRFS since joining the squad in 2003.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-12-2005)

  • Mears to run Cancer Awareness scheme in Oct: during Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning, Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodge, said he will driver a pink Cancer Awarenss scheme in the October races.(8-8-2005)

  • Mears speaks about McMurray, 2006 plans: Brandon Mudd of 590 the Fan, KFNS, (www.kfns.com), spoke to #41-Casey Mears, who was in the St. Louis area yesterday for a Victory Junction Gang Camp function at Kenny Schrader's dirt track in Pevely, MO. When asked about the situation between his car owner, Chip Ganassi and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, #42-Jamie McMurray, Mears said, "I guess I would be lying if I said it didn't (affect my focus) a little bit, not so much my focus as a driver, but but maybe it just distracts the organization a little bit. I think it's very clear now what Jamie's going to be doing for next year, he'll be running with us, the year after that, he's not." When asked where he (Mears) will be next year and if a certain blue deuce car is in his future, he said he believes he will still be with Ganassi. "As of right now, I'm going to be with Ganassi (next year). We haven't gotten any solid answers or solid information on exactly what it's going to be or where at, but every indication I get from Chip is that he wants me next year. We're hoping to get that all settled soon."(Brandon W. Mudd/590 The Fan, KFNS)
    AND have heard that Mears could be driving the #39 car, sponsor unknown, but supposedly close to signing, with Reed Sorenson heading to the #41, the 4th Ganassi full-time team has been rumored before, but denied, as has Sorenson moving up from Busch.(8-5-2005)

  • Mears to stay at Ganassi? UPDATE Sorenson in? #41-Casey Mears appears to be safe in Chip Ganassi's Dodges for another season, according to sources familiar with the situation. Mears has been anxiously awaiting official word from Ganassi about his future. Word that rival team owner Roger Penske is interested in Mears as #2-Rusty Wallace's replacement may be spurring Ganassi to exercise his option to keep Mears. Ganassi could expand to a four-car operation next season, with sponsorship available, although it's unclear who Ganassi might have at the wheel.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
    UPDATE: Word is that Busch rookie sensation Reed Sorenson will get the nod for the #41 Dodge in 2006. Possibilities mentioned for Mears include the #2 at Penske Racing and the #10 at Evernham. There also has been the suggestion that he'll drive Sorenson's Busch car.(Sporting News)(7-19-2005)

  • More on Mears to Penske: With McMurray out of the picture, Casey Mears' name has popped up as replacing the retiring Rusty Wallace at [#2 Miller Lite Dodge] Penske Racing South. Mears, who drives the #41 for Chip Ganassi Racing, said yesterday he is waiting to hear from Ganassi on next year. "I've been told they want me around next season, but that's the extent of it," he said. "I just haven't seen anything solid that says I'm going to be there. I'm happy with my team. I think we can improve and do a lot better than we're doing now, so if I stick around, I'd be happy with that. If not, I'm keeping options open to go do something else. But right now it's their option, and as soon as they let me know I can make a decision. . . . The longer they wait to tell me anything hurts me.".(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-9-2005)

  • Kraft on the #41 at Chicago: The Kraft logo will replace the Target bullseyes on the rear quarter panels of Casey Mears #41 Dodge this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. This is the first year Kraft has partnered with Target to be a season-long associate sponsor of the #41 Dodge. Kraft Foods' worldwide headquarters are located in Northfield, Ill., just 50 miles north of Joliet.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(7-6-2005)

  • Mears back with Ganassi in 2006 more: during an interview on Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning, Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, says he has been told that Chip Ganassi 'has plans for Mears', but Mears has not been told what those plans are.(NASCAR This Morning)(6-19-2005)
    AND Is #41-Casey Mears the next driver headed out of the Ganassi stable? "We were hoping for a little more performance," Ganassi said of Mears' season before the race. "That's not to say that he's not going to be here next year. I talked to Casey the other day and I said, 'Hey, I've got a plan and you're in it.' That's what's going on right now. Is it nailed, nailed, nailed? No."(Detroit Free Press)(6-20-2005)

  • Marlin and Ganassi, Sorenson to a 4th team, Mears to stay: As a result, at a press conference later today Chip Ganassi will start reshaping the future of the team by formally announcing long-rumored changes that will yield Marlin's #40 Dodge to driver David Stremme. "It wasn't an easy decision, I'll tell you that," Ganassi said. "I'm sure if you were to ask Rick Hendrick if Tim Richmond or Geoff Bodine contributed to his team's overall success, he'd answer 'yes.' Sterling's done that for us, too, and that's why I'm not just cutting him loose, even though at the end of this contract I didn't owe him anything." Engineered by Ganassi, Marlin will get a substantial, six-figure, three-year personal services contract -- the money coming in equal parts from Ganassi and Coors. According to Ganassi, the changes won't stop with the #40 Dodge -- though such aren't scheduled to be formally announced today. Reed Sorenson, also recent grist in the rumor mill, will be moving up to Cup, too -- but not at the expense of Casey Mears, as many have predicted. Though all the parts have yet to fall perfectly into place, Ganassi is working toward fielding a four-car Nextel Cup effort in 2006. There's even a fairly substantial chance of Ganassi's Rolex Series effort growing from two to three DP cars in 2006.(Daytona Beach News Jourmal)(6-19-2005)

  • Sorenson to the #41? Mears to the #91? #2? sources tell me it is a lock that Gannasi Busch Series driver, Reed Sorenson will drive the #41 Dodge in 2005. Where Mears will end up, last rumor had him possible at the third Evernham team #91, also hearing that Mears could end up in the #2 Penske Racing Dodge, as Penske does have a history with the Mears family [Casey's Uncle Rick won 4 Indy 500's for Penske and still works for Penske](6-15-2005)

  • and More on Ganassi possible changes: How big a shakeup is in the works in the Ganassi Racing camp? Busch driver David Stremme is considered the heir apparent in the #40 to replace Sterling Marlin. He could do so for the last seven races of the season, and not jeopardize his rookie status for next season. Changes are expected involving the #41 team and driver Casey Mears. Sources say owner Chip Ganassi plans to clean the entire house, making way for Busch Series rookie sensation Reed Sorenson and crew chief Brian Pattie. Mears' crew chief, Jimmy Elledge, has been mentioned as a potential crew chief for Stremme.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-12-2005)

  • Looks like a 3rd full-time team for Evernham in 2006 UPDATE: Ray Evernham, chief of Dodge-backed Evernham Motorsports [#9, #19, #91], says chances are "better than 50%" that he will have a third Cup team in 2006. He said he has tentative agreements with significant sponsors, and he pulled up short when asked who would drive the car [Jayski Note: Brendan Gaughan has been rumored]. Evernham says he has constructed a building for the proposed new team and has personnel aboard. "I think you can get the team started and kind of take it from there. The sponsor is going to have to have realistic expectations. For a first-year team, to jump right up there and win races, there's not too many people who do that. "I'm fortunate enough to say I'm one of the people who have done it, but it's still very difficult. There are [drivers] out there that can win races, and the sponsor has to go into it realistically. Every sponsor says they want a top 10 car, top 10 driver, well, there's 15 top-10 cars out there, which one do you want?(Speed Channel)(6-11-2005)
    UPDATE: another rumor floating around has Casey Mears, current driver for #41 Ganassi Racing going to Evernham, with Reed Sorenson moving up from Busch into the #41 Target Dodge. And Scott Riggs, driver of the #10 MBV team could end up at Evernham.
    AND Valvoline also apparently will become at least partial sponsor of a proposed third team out of Evernham Motorsports, with driver to be determined.(Speed Channel Notebook)(6-12-2005)

  • New 2006 Sponsor for Ganassi....team? #40? Stremme? Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced the signing of Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon to a multi-year sponsorship. The long-term agreement begins with the 2006 NASCAR season. Specific details are to follow at a later date. Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon is a restaurant chain that offers full-service casual dining, featuring Texas-style ambiance. There are over 300 locations nationwide.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)
    AND Though no further details were announced, sources tell the Observer the new sponsor will pair with Coors in sponsoring David Stremme in the #40 Dodges in Nextel Cup next year.(Charlotte Observer/David Poole)(6-9-2005)

  • Ganassi Shake-up imminent? Marlin, Mears out? Is a shakeup in the works in the Ganassi Racing camp? Sterling Marlin still hasn't been officially told what the plans are for the #40 Dodge in 2006, but he says he's not ready to retire. "I'd like to race another two or three years and then go fishing," says Marlin, who'll turn 48 on June 30. Marlin has spoken with several teams and hopes to have a plan solidified in the next two weeks. Busch driver David Stremme is considered the heir apparent in the #40. He could replace Marlin for the last seven races of the season, gaining experience while not jeopardizing his rookie status for next season. Changes are expected involving the #41 team and driver Casey Mears. Sources say owner Chip Ganassi plans to clean the entire house, making way for Busch Series rookie sensation Reed Sorenson and crew chief Brian Pattie. Mears' crew chief, Jimmy Elledge, has been mentioned as a potential crew chief for Stremme.(Sporting News)(6-6-2005)

  • #8 Crew Chief Candidates UPDATE: The two men most prominently mentioned yesterday as candidates [to be #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s new crew chief] were Jimmy Elledge, who is Earnhardt's brother-in-law [married to Kelley] and also crew chief for Chip Ganassi and #41-Casey Mears, and Robbie Reiser, crew chief for 2003 champion #17-Matt Kenseth and owner Jack Roush.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-27-2005)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Elledge, crew chief on Casey Mears' #41 Target Dodge, has risen to the top of the rumor-mill list of candidates to become Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s permanent crew chief. But the same family conflicts that many blamed for the split between Earnhardt and his uncle and long-time crew chief, Tony Eury Sr., would be an issue again because Elledge is married to Kelley Earnhardt, Dale Jr.'s sister. "It can be a good thing, but I could have brother-in-law, my mother-in-law and my wife all mad at me at the same time," Elledge said, emphasizing that his comments shouldn't be construed as proof that he's seeking the job. But, he said, he's up to the challenge of leading a high-profile team like Earnhardt's #8 Budweiser crew. "I feel I'm ready for it and could handle it," he said, adding that the job of preparing a car for NASCAR's highest-profile driver comes pressure-packed. You've got to be ready for all the challenges," he said. "You've got a sponsorship sitting there that obviously the sky's the limit as far as money. You have a driver sitting there that everybody knows can contend to win the championship. So you'd better have your gun loaded when you walk in the door and know that if you're going to do it you've got to step up to that level and be able to produce. Otherwise it's not going to be a fun ride." He also said that Earnhardt is very much like his father and requires a special touch as a crew chief. "He's a strong personality," Elledge said. "I watched Kirk [Shelmerdine] and Andy Petree have to hit [Dale Earnhardt Sr.] with a ball bat every once in a while to keep him straight," he said. "[Earnhardt Jr.] is the same way."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-29-2005)

  • Mears waiting on Ganassi about 2006 contract: #41-Casey Mears is waiting to see if car owner Chip Ganassi wants to pick up the option on his contract for the 2006 season. Mears says “right now all indications are we’re going to run next year [with Ganassi]. All the feedback that I get is they’re happy with what I’m doing and happy with the improvements that we’ve got. I don’t think about that stuff a whole lot, I just want to go out and do the best job I can and if the team I’m with doesn’t want me at the end of the year I’ll do something else…if they do want me then great because I’m happy here."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(4-22-2005)

  • Mears in a Fuji scheme at Texas: Casey Mears will pilot a green and white #41 Fujifilm Dodge this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Mears finished seventh at last year's spring event at Texas in a similar paint scheme with Fujifilm. Mears didn't experience the same luck in this car when it was painted up green at Atlanta three weeks ago. He was involved in a multi-car incident on lap one of the event.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(4-12-2005)

  • The Bunny Returns IMAGE: Casey Mears #41 Dodge will sport its first special paint scheme of the 2005 season this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The familiar red bullseye on the Target hood will now feature the Energizer Bunny. Energizer, a major associate sponsor of the #41 Dodge, will become the primary sponsor for the Las Vegas race and will carry the black and silver colors of Energizer.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR) no images found...yet.(3-8-2005)
    IMAGE see an image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(3-9-2005)

  • Rudd and Mears tangle in practice: #21-Ricky Rudd and #41-Casey Mears made contact during last night's final Budweiser Shootout practice. Mears' Dodge spun without incident, and both cars avoided significant damage. Mears visited Rudd's garage stall to apologize and drew angry words from Michael McSwain, Rudd's burly crew chief. "I thought I was clear, and I wasn't," Mears said. "It was my fault. Ricky was cool, but [McSwain] needs to calm down a little bit. Stuff happens." Rudd said a minor wrinkle to his "super sensitive" right-front fender could affect his Ford's handling tonight but accepted Mears' apology. "It's very easy to make a mistake when you're running three wide like that," Rudd said. "It's intense."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-12-2005)

  • Nicorette to be an assoc on the #41 UPDATE: Nicorette will be both a three-year sponsor of NASCAR and an associate sponsor of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing #41 Team — led by driver Casey Mears. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but are believed to exceed $3 million annually. NASCAR now has no tobacco sponsors at the national level. While there is no ban on them, given the advertising limits set by the terms of the tobacco settlement with the government, a new one would be "highly unlikely," NASCAR spokesman Andrew Giangola says. One cigarette maker, Victory Brands, is sponsoring a NASCAR team this season: #14 ppc Racing, led by driver John Andretti. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, makes Nicorette gum, NicoDerm patches and Commit lozenges, which will jointly sponsor NASCAR.(USA Today)
    UPDATE: During the 2005 NASCAR season, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare's Nicorette gum, NicoDerm CQ patches and Commit lozenges will be an associate sponsor with the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team. Casey Mears will drive Chip Ganassi Racing Team's #41 Dodge with a special paint scheme at the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20. More information about the sponsorship and quitting smoking is available online at www.quit.com.prnewswire.com and see a watermarked image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(1-27-2005)

    2004 News

  • Kovalainen wins ROC, Johnson and Mears lose early: Heikki Kovalainen of Finland beat world rally champion Sebastien Loeb of France to win the Race of Champions on Saturday. Kovalainen downed Loeb 2-0 in a best-of-three legs final at Stade de France after overcoming seven-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher in an elimination heat. The Race of Champions, a yearly event since 1988, featured 16 pilots from various motor racing disciplines, including NASCAR, Champ Car and Indy 500 specialists. The Stade de France, home of the French soccer and rugby teams, was covered by a .6-mile asphalt figure-eight track with a crossover bridge. Kovalainen, 23, selected a Peugeot 307 rally car to take on Loeb in his familiar Citroen Xsara. The Finn is the youngest driver to win the ROC trophy. Some 60,000 fans, hoping to see their countryman force a deciding leg, jeered the time penalty handed to Loeb. In the elimination rounds, competitors were split into two groups of eight -- called the Rally Group and the Racing Group. After quarterfinals and semifinals, the winner of each group met head-to-head for a place in the overall final to decide the Champion of Champions. One key driver who was slated to run in the event -- four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon -- didn't race because of a flu that also kept him from much of NASCAR's year-end celebrations in New York City this week. Casey Mears, who raced in Gordon's place, lost in a heat to Jean Alesi, who then fell to Kovalainen. The other American driver on hand, Jimmie Johnson, also lost early.(ESPN/AP)
    UPDATE: Casey Mears became the choice over Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne mostly because he had a passport and experience in this event last year (then in the Canary Islands). Johnson and Mears left Friday night after NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony in New York, landing at 2 p.m. They changed clothes in the car and got five practice laps. Johnson struck a course barrier to draw a 10-second penalty in each of his two races; Mears split matches with Coulthard in the team events and lost to Alesi in the individual. Gordon's absence was felt more by the competitors than the fans. Schumacher said the opportunity to race the four-time NASCAR champion led him to race outside of F-1 for the first time in four years.(Indianapolis Star)(12-5-2004)

  • Sabates almost on the Hendrick flight: With his helicopter grounded by bad weather, Felix Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing, decided he did not want to take the chance of having the plane diverted and then having to drive to the Martinsville, Va., track in race traffic. Sabates said his helicopter pilot called to say he could have a seat on the plane and he was preparing to leave for the Concord, N.C., airport when Ganassi phoned. Ganassi told Sabates his plane had been diverted from the airport near the track to Danville, Va., 30 miles away. ''Chip said his plane missed its approach in Martinsville because of the weather and he was thinking about going home,'' Sabates said. ''I didn't feel like going to Danville and then having to drive to the track in traffic. If Chip hadn't called me, I would have been on that plane. He saved my life.'' After deciding to pass up the race, Sabates was at his home in Charlotte when he got a telephone call from NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr., telling him the plane was missing and asking Sabates to go to the home of fellow team owner Rick Hendrick. ''When I got to the house, I'm the one that told Rick about the accident,'' Sabates said. ''Then Bill France called to tell me that they had found the wreckage and everybody was dead. I still get chills thinking about it. It's just horrible for everyone.''(USA Today/Associated Press)(10-26-2004)

  • #41 in the Pink for 3 races....for a good cause: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Target Chip Ganassi Racing will unveil new paint schemes for their race cars competing in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Indy Racing League's IndyCar series during the month of October. In partnership with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), Target will use the team's race cars as vehicles to help promote breast cancer awareness to racing fans across the country. Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver Casey Mears will take the helm of a pink #41 Dodge for three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in October, which include Talladega (October 3rd), Kansas (October 10th) and Martinsville (October 24th). "It's great to know that we have the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives and help The Breast Cancer Research Foundation," said Mears. "I've driven a red car, a black car and a green car, but this is definitely my first time driving a pink car. It's an honor to represent Target and play a role in their initiative to raise awareness and money for a foundation that will ultimately save lives." In addition to the pink ribbon paint schemes, the Target team will make a donation to BCRF for every lap completed in each of the four races by drivers Mears, IRL Drivers Scott Dixon, and Darren Manning (NASCAR and IRL) for up to a total of $50,000. All Target Racing team members in both series will also take part in the promotion by wearing pink ribbons on their firesuits or crew shirts to show their support to those touched by breast cancer, as well as raise awareness and encourage fans to help raise vital funds for BCRF. The racing.target.com team website will undergo a pink make-over for the entire month as well. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Target also will unveil an exclusive line of beautiful pink items this October. One hundred percent of the profits benefit BCRF. The full line of products is available online at target.com/breastcancer, with select items available in stores. For donations or more information on The Breast Cancer Research Foundation see www.bcrfcure.org.(Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-27-2004)

  • Mr. Excitement and Casey make up: #4-Jimmy Spencer and #41-Casey Mears, the principals in the multicar crash that knocked Jimmie Johnson out of last week's race at Richmond International Raceway, cordially discussed the incident after yesterday's driver's meeting, ending the conversation with a handshake.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-20-2004)

  • Ganassi signes Lagasse Jr. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today the signing of 22-year-old Scott Lagasse Jr. to its Talent Development Program. The St. Augustine, Fla. native joins the program with impressive credentials as a driver and a person. Lagasse Jr. becomes the fourth driver on the Talent Development roster at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which includes David Stremme, Reed Sorenson and Ryan Hemphill. Lagasse Jr. began running in the ASA series in 2003 where he earned an impressive four top-10 finishes in just six starts. This year, Lagasse Jr. captured his first win in the series at Kentucky Speedway and his first pole at Indianapolis Raceway Park. As impressive as his on-track performance is, Lagasse Jr. is also committed to his education. He attends Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. on a full academic scholarship where he is on track to earn a Business/Marketing degree.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-5-2004)

  • Ganassi Extends Mears: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that they have exercised their option to extend Casey Mears' driver agreement into the future. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed per company policy. "We are excited about having Casey (Mears) as part of the team into the future," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "Casey's been a team player and has worked hard. The #41 Target team has become a contender this year and we're looking forward to Casey and the team winning races soon."(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(9-3-2004)

  • MTV to film Mears and McMurray's Cribs: #41-Casey Mears and his home will be featured on MTV Cribs. MTV will film at his home next week and his segment will be aired later this year.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)
    AND #42-Jamie McMurray will open up his house in Statesville, N.C. next week to MTV to film an episode of MTV Cribs that will air later this year. The television show showcases celebrity's homes and lifestyles.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)

  • Special Scheme for Mears at California: Casey Mears will run a special Target House paint scheme on the #41 Dodge this weekend for the Pop Secret 500. Target House, funded by Target Stores and vendor and celebrity partner contributions, is an innovative approach to long-term housing for families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Mears will also be wearing a special helmet designed by Josh Oehl, a current resident of Target House.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)

  • Energizer Scheme for the #41: The #41 Dodge will sport a new paint scheme for the Sharpie 500 this weekend, and will feature the one and only Energizer Bunny! Energizer, a major associate sponsor of the #41 Target Dodge, will become the primary sponsor for one of the most exiting races of the season. The familiar red and white Target car will now carry the black, orange and silver colors of Energizer.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-25-2004)

  • Mears to drive APR Busch car at Chicago? Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target / Ganassi Racing Dodge, has taken over the wheel this weekend of the #1 James Finch Dodge in the Busch Series. Next week, Mears may be back in the Busch ranks, but not in the Finch car. With Andy Petree Racing still owing sponsor Monaco some races, the plan, possibly, is for Mears to pilot the #33 Chevy in Chicago. The #33 APR entry recently lost sponsorship along with driver Paul Menard, to DEI. When asked what his plans with Petree in Chicago were Mears said, "I'm not even sure what's going on there but it is a possibility." Problems may however arise with the Mears/Petree partnership since Mears drives a Dodge and Petree generally runs Chevrolets. A former APR employee, who left the team at the time of Menard's departure, said Monaco was to be on an Andy Petree backed Craftsman Truck in Richmond with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at the wheel. The ride with Mears may override that plan.(BGNRacing.com)(7-2-2004)

  • Ganassi Racing to have a Busch team in 2005 UPDATE 2: been told that Ganassi Racing will run a full time Busch program next year in house and possibly a second team for 15 - 20 Busch races also. Supposedly the drivers will be some combination of their current three Cup drivers (Marlin, McMurray and Mears) and possibly David Stremme and/or Reed Sorensen. Ganassi Racing also plans to move into their new building by the Concord [NC] Airport in July.(5-10-2004)
    UPDATE: announced at MIS and on Fox Sports Net's NASCAR This Morning, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will field a full-time Busch Series team in 2005 with Discount Tires as the sponsor. Reed Sorensen will drive in four Busch races later in the 2004 season. Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray and Sorensen will drive in 2005.
    AND Chip Ganassi announced Sunday morning that Discount Tire Co. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) have joined forces. Discount Tire Co. will become the "Official Sponsor of Talent Development" for CGRFS. Discount Tire will be an associate sponsor on all three CGRFS NEXTEL Cup Series cars and the primary sponsor of a NASCAR Busch Series Dodge for eight races in 2004. The Busch Series car will be driven by Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears and ASA driver Reed Sorensen.(Dodge Notes/Clear!Blue PR)(6-20-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing on Sunday announced the formation of an in-house NASCAR Busch Series team to assist in its driver development program. The team will debut this season in eight races. Ganassi Nextel Cup drivers Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray will each drive two and 18-year-old up-and-comer Reed Sorenson will drive in four events. Sorenson was rookie of the year in the American Speed Association last season and won Saturday's Automobile Racing Club of America series event at Michigan International Speedway in a Ganassi-prepared Dodge. Ganassi has signed Discount Tire Co. as a sponsor for the team's 2004 races. Team owner Chip Ganassi said he hoped to have Sorenson run most of the Busch schedule in 2005. McMurray will drive the #41 Dodge in the Aug. 21 race at Michigan and Nov. 6 at Phoenix. Mears will be in the car for the Sept. 4 at California and Oct. 15 at Charlotte. Sorenson, currently fourth in the ASA points race, will be in the car Aug. 7 at Indianapolis, Oct. 30 at Atlanta, Nov. 13 at Darlington, and Nov. 20 at Homestead.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-21-2004)

  • Mears Car at MIS: Once again the Target Team will bring chassis #402 to Michigan International Speedway to try and earn #41-Casey Mears his first top-five finish. This chassis has four top-10 finishes this season including a 10th last weekend at Pocono.(Casey Mears Site)(6-18-2004)

  • Mears' Pit Crew Collects Pocono Win; #8 Crew Extends Points Lead: The pit crew for Casey Mears, which has been close many times in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade, can now lay claim to winning the weekly contest with a solid effort in Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. The victory, worth $20,000, was the third of the season for the Chip Ganassi Racing stable. Mears' teammates - the No. 40 team for Sterling Marlin and the #42 team for Jamie McMurray - also scored pit crew victories with Marlin's crew winning in Bristol and McMurray's in Charlotte. Mears' crew gained five spots in the McDonald's/POWERade standings, moving from 17th into a tie for 12th. The #8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues in first place with a 38-point margin over Elliott Sadler's team. In the first 14 races of 2003, the #8 crew has garnered two wins, nine top fives and 13 top 10s. The season champion receives a $200,000 bonus. Mears' #41 Target Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road in Pocono - 233.419 seconds. Busch's Irwin Ford followed with a time of 260.402. Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevy was third at 304.851. "I am really proud of the guys," said Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for the 41 team. "Pit stops have never been our suit, but the Target guys have been working really hard during the week. This just proves that their hard work is paying off and we are getting the results that we've been striving for over the past year." Mears' over-the-wall crew consists of: Dave Gebhardt (front-tire changer), Marty Forcier (front-tire carrier), Jason Sheets (rear-tire changer), Scott Myers (rear-tire carrier), Rick Reling (jackman), Les Huntley (gas man) and Todd Anderson (catch can).(DMF Communications), for the top 10 at Pocono and the standings, see my Pit Crew page.(6-17-2004)

  • Mears to get soapy: Casey Mears will test at Chicagoland Speedway this week in preparation for the Tropicana 400 on July 11. Mears had a season-best starting position of fourth there last season but finished 34th. Mears generally refrains from being a major player in NASCAR's As the Wheel Turns soap opera, but after this weekend's race at Pocono, the 26-year-old driver of the #41 Target Dodge will fly to Los Angeles to play himself in an episode of Days of Our Lives. "We're always looking for more exposure for the sport and more exposure for me," Mears says. "I think it will be a great experience, but the funny thing is I'm really not a soap-opera guy." This won't be Mears' first network experience. Several years ago, after Mears expressed interest in meeting Jennifer Love Hewitt, he was an extra on the since-cancelled Party of Five.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(6-7-2004)

  • Mears didn't lose an engine: heard many reports during the race and on shows later that #41-Casey Mears lost an engine which got oil on the track and some drivers complained that Mears stayed on the track too long, from a team PR: Mears told the team he thought he had a tire going flat as the car was beginning to smoke. He stayed at the top of the track until he could pit. He learned a lap later that he was dropping oil on the track but didn't realize it because the motor was still running. The leader [#9 Kahne] ran through the oil and spun bringing out the final caution on lap 383. The team repaired the oil line and Mears was able to finish the race 28th.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-7-2004)

  • Stremme to Cup by 2006: NASCAR Busch Series driver David Stremme, one of several up-and-comers Chip Ganassi has signed to driver development contracts, should join the Nextel Cup ranks by 2006, said Andy Graves, Ganassi's team manager. "We have David Stremme signed long-term with the Ganassi organization, Reed Sorenson and Ryan Hemphill. We're excited about those three young guys," Graves said. "I think you're going to see David Stremme in Cup in the near future, if not 2005 I'd say for sure in 2006. Reed and Ryan are both getting their feet wet. It's going to take a little more work to get them to that level, but they both have the talent." Stremme is driving the #32 TrimSpa Dodges for Braun Racing this season. Sorenson is running full-time in the American Speed Association and Sorenson and Hemphill are both running Automobile Racing Club of America series events. Graves called Roush Racing among the most successful at developing new talent in the Cup series. "I think those guys have done good jobs bringing up Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth. I think they're the ones that kind of started it," he said. "Both Hendrick and ourselves have kind of caught up with them, and hopefully we've got some young guys to get ready for the future."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-5-2004)

  • Ganassi Shakeup? [no details]: A shakeup may be brewing inside the Chip Ganassi camp, according to insiders. Ganassi's three drivers are all winless over the past year and a half.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-5-2004)

  • Ganassi Being Sued: NASCAR and IRL Team[s] owner Chip Ganassi was accused in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday of failing to pay his share of a $35 million debt linked to the construction of the Chicago Motor Speedway. The multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by the Chicago-based National Jockey Club alleged that Ganassi failed to adequately fund the project and was trying to duck his share of the debt, according to a statement from the club. Ganassi could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.(CBS Sportsline/AP)(6-2-2004)

  • Ganassi Employees get watches: Chip Ganassi Racing is using their new partnership with TAG Heuer to recognize their employees. As part of their partnership, every employee with at least one year of service to the company will receive a free TAG Heuer luxury watch. It was recently announced that TAG Heuer is the Official Timekeeper, Official Watch, and Chronograph and Official Partner for Chip Ganassi Racing for their entries in the Indy Racing League, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, and the Grand-Am Series. TAG Heuer, the benchmark in prestigious sports watches and chronographs since 1860, is the fourth-largest luxury brand in the world watch market.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-27-2004)

  • Mears is versatile: #41-Casey Mears has driven in four different series in two styles of cars at California Speedway. He has raced in CART, Indy Lights, Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series cars at what he considers his home track in Fontana. His most memorable race at California Speedway came in his CART Series debut when he ran a third car for Team Rahal and finished fourth in 2000.(Mearsgang.com)(4-30-2004)

  • #41 to sport different colors at Texas: The #41 Target Dodge will be adorned with the unmistakable green and white of Fujifilm for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. For the first time this season, Casey Mears will not be sporting the Target bullseye on the hood of the #41 Dodge. Instead, his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car will carry the colors of sponsorship partner Fujifilm. Mears ran a Fujifilm car last season at Chicagoland Speedway. In addition to the special paint scheme, Mears will have the opportunity to fly the Fujifilm Blimp above the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on Thursday. Fans will see the blimp soaring high over the Fort Worth area and Texas Motor Speedway throughout the race weekend. The Fujifilm Blimp is over 200-feet long and weighs close to 8 tons, making it the second largest blimp in the world. Powered by two Porsche 930/67/AL/3 6-cylinder, air-cooled, turbocharged engines, the blimp features two rotatable-ducted propellers that give it the ability to hover as well as take-off and land almost vertically. For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-1-2004)

  • 5 Freightliners Hauling Ganassi NASCAR Teams: Five Freightliner Coronado heavy-duty trucks will serve as transporters for racing teams of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Inc. during the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Racing Season. The brightly painted and accessorized Coronado trucks will haul Sterling Marlin's #40 Coors Lite Dodge, as well as drivers Jamie McMurray's #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge and Casey Mears' #41 Target Dodge. Some of the trucks will haul racecars and equipment to the 36 Nextel Cup races, while the other two will transport cars and materials to various test tracks around the country. The Coronado is Freightliner Trucks' flagship Class 8 truck for owner-operators. "Our sponsorship of the three Ganassi teams is a great way to showcase the Freightliner Coronado," said Mark Lampert, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Freightliner Trucks. "With their spectacular appearance, Ganassi Racing's Coronado trucks are sure to turn heads on the road and at the racetrack."(TruckingInfo.com)(3-2-2004)

  • Ganassi team wins pole for 24: Scott Pruett put the #01 CompUSA Lexus Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing on the pole for the 42nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Pruett set a new Daytona Prototype track record with his 1:45.783 lap at 121.154mph, shaving more than four seconds off the previous record held by David Donohue.(Speed Channel)(1-30-2004)

  • Lane goes to the #41: After two seasons as a crew chief with Petty Enterprises, Steven Lane will bring his expertise to the #41 car and Ganassi sophomore Casey Mears. Lane will be the car chief and work with crew chief Jimmy Elledge.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(1-5-2004)

    2003 News

  • Mears Wins: Casey Mears [driver of the #41 Target Dodge], who was in the Canary Islands for the Michelin ROC Nations Cup, won the ROC America Challenge powered by Centrix Financial. The challenge took place Friday night before the Nations Cup and pitted Mears against his Team USA teammates Boris Said and Travis Pastrana, along with the 2003 Baja 1000 winner Ryan Arciero. After winning the ROC America Challenge on Friday, Mears along with Said and Pastrana competed in the Michelin ROC Nations Cup. This race was created to find the “World’s Fastest Nation” and each country is represented by a circuit racer, a rally (or off-road) driver and a motorcycle rider. Team USA powered by Centrix Financial were defeated in the semi-finals three heats to two by the eventual winners the All Stars team.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-4-2003)

  • Ganassi's Move: Mooresville business officials say they hope the Chip Ganassi Racing building, which sits in a prominent location among Race City USA's NASCAR shops, won't be vacant long. "It will be loss, but we're hopeful that another company will buy their existing building," said Melanie O'Connell Underwood, economic developer for the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce. "Although it's not a given, the building is made for racing." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates confirmed last week that it has accepted roughly $370,000 in incentives from Cabarrus County and Concord to move to a new and larger facility closer to Lowe's Motor Speedway. Ganassi Racing, which supports NASCAR Winston Cup drivers #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #41-Casey Mears, employs about 150 people in Mooresville at a high-profile location just inside the main entrance to Lakeside Park. The business park is home to several dozen racing teams. The larger Concord facility, which is already der construction, will have up to 350 employees. The team had also been looking for places to relocate to in Mooresville, having outgrown its Lakeside Park site. In April, Ganassi struck a tentative deal to move into the vacant Matsushita Compressor Corp. plant in Mooresville, but those plans fell through despite incentive offers from Iredell County and Mooresville. Underwood showed the team the high-tech Matsushita building, which manufactured electronics. But Concord's incentive –a 65% property tax return over four years- with an airport and speedway were factors in the decision to move. "They're going to be looking for a hangar at the Concord Airport," Underwood said. Right now the airport, a popular location for NASCAR team jets, is in the process of lengthening a runway to accommodate longer flights. "The airport, I think that's a huge driver in this project," said John Cox, CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. Ganassi racing has occupied its Lakeside Park location since 1994. In 2000, Chip Ganassi bought majority ownership of the team. Previously known as Team SABCO, the organization was initially a NASCAR research and development team that Felix Sabates bought from Rick Hendrick in 1987.(Mooresville Tribune)(12-1-2003)

  • Casey Mears to Participate in Michelin Race of Champions Nations Cup: Casey Mears will spend his Thanksgiving holiday weekend the same way he spent most of his year, racing. Mears, a member of “Team USA powered by CENTRIX Financial”, is in the Canary Islands for the Michelin ROC Nations Cup. ”I am honored to have this opportunity to participate in a race of this caliber,” Mears said. “It is very special for me to get the chance to race for my country against some of the best racers in the world.” The Michelin ROC Nations Cup was created to find the “World’s Fastest Nation”. Each country participating is represented by a circuit racer, a rally (or off-road) driver and a motorcycle rider. As driver of the #41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, Mears brings his off-road experience as well as his NASCAR experience to the table. Mears will be joined on Team USA by Boris Said, 2002 Trans-Am Champion and Travis Pastrana, Gold medalist at the X and Gravity Games. The Michelin ROC Nations Cup will take place on Saturday, November 29th at 10am.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-26-2003)

  • #41 Team Helping Out: #41/#19-Casey Mears will be running a special Target House paint scheme in the Busch Series race as well as the Winston Cup race this weekend at Rockingham. Target House is an innovative approach to long-term housing for families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The apartments allow residents the privacy of a furnished two-bedroom apartment, while offering several common areas to interact with other families and children.
    Special Helmet Design: During this weekend’s races at Rockingham, Casey Mears, will wear a helmet with a design created by one of the kids at Target House.
    Raising Money for Target House: Target is selling the Target House paint scheme souvenir die-cast cars on target.com. All proceeds from the die-cast cars will benefit Target House. A portion of sales from select, specially-marked General Mills snack products sold at Target stores will go toward Target House, with a maximum donation of $50,000.
    Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: The Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Nov. 8 will feature a starting call from the kids at Target House. During the race day, the honorary positions of grand marshal, green flag starter and pace car rider will all be served by cancer survivors who received treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(11-6-2003)

  • Mears will be back in #41: Ganassi Racing G.M. Andy Graves confirmed that Casey Mears, who is 34th in points, will return to the #41 Target Dodge next year. "The sponsor (Target) loves him," Graves says.(Foxsports/Sporting News)(10-20-2003)

  • Ganassi Racing Moving? Chip Ganassi Racing [#40, #41, #42 Dodges] is considering moving its headquarters to Concord from Mooresville, Concord city officials announced Tuesday. The move would add to Concord's racing credentials, giving the city three of the largest NASCAR racing teams. Already, Winston Cup teams Roush Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have their headquarters in Concord. The city is also home to Lowe's Motor Speedway and a NASCAR research and development complex. Ganassi is looking at a 59-acre site at Poplar Tent and Derita roads adjacent to Concord Regional Airport. The land is large enough for expansion or for the company to sell off to related businesses, said City Manager Brian Hiatt. The company would invest $15.5 million and employ 150 initially. That could grow to 350 within five years, Hiatt said. In addition to a headquarters building, the company also would build an airport hangar at Concord Regional, a city-owned airport. Construction is expected to be finished in 2004, according to the city. In return, Concord is likely to dangle a total of $242,690 in grants over four years for real and personal property taxes. That follows the city's incentive policy for this size investment. The council will consider the incentives Oct. 20, and Padgett said he expects them to be approved. An official with Ganassi declined to comment.(Charlotte Observer)(10-8-2003)

  • Energizer Paint Scheme: #41-Casey Mears will have a special Energizer paint scheme this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-8-2003)

  • Sabates to own part of the Bobcats: An influential group of local Charlotte investors has joined majority owner Robert L. Johnson as minority partners in Bobcats Basketball Holdings, LLC, the ownership group of the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association and the Charlotte Sting of the Women's National Basketball Association the team announced Monday. Felix Sabates, owner of NASCAR Winston Cup racing teams and the Charlotte Checkers minor league hockey club, and chairman of Trinity Yachts, the largest yacht builder in America, is a member of the ownership group.(WSOC.com)(9-16-2003)

  • NASCAR looks at #41 Car: NASCAR officials weren't sure what they'd found when an accident midway through the Southern 500 tore the side of Casey Mears' #41 Target Dodge open. But they removed a small yellow "brick" with wires attached from inside the side of the car. After the race, Winston Cup technical director Steve Peterson supervised the dismantling of the dashboard of Mears' car. After inspecting the back of the car's gauge package, picking and probing at the wiring, Peterson gave the OK to Ganassi Racing crewmembers to load the car. Later, Winston Cup director John Darby said the device was simply a voltage monitor designed to track the voltage of the car's battery.(NASCAR.com)(9-1-2003)

  • Ganassi going to four teams in 2004? Now that Chip Ganassi has lost the battle for Stewart, he could jump back into the marketplace to find another man to fill that possible fourth Winston Cup team. According to one man familiar with the new game plan, Ganassi is going to the top of the standings and will keep making runs at drivers at the sport's big names until he finds one willing to bite on his $5 million a year deal.(Winston Salem Journal); lets see...top of the standings........Kenseth signed for 2004+; Earnhardt Jr. - not signed; Harvick is signed; Johnson is signed; Gordon is signed; Busch signed; Newman signed; Waltrip signed; Labonte signed.......seems to be pointing at one driver in the 'top of the standings'.(8-30-2003)

  • Good Answer: Car owner Chip Ganassi doesn't appear to be in any hurry to sign reigning Winston Cup series champion Tony Stewart, should he become available. Asked Friday what his timetable was to hire Stewart, Ganassi replied: "Whenever his contract is up." Stewart's contract with Joe Gibbs Racing expires after 2004, but Gibbs has presented Stewart with a long-term contract extension. Stewart has yet to sign off on the new deal and has been the subject of speculation about his future, including a possible move to Ganassi in 2005. Stewart's crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, and sponsor, The Home Depot, have both agreed to extensions but are waiting for Stewart. Ganassi has previously said he would be interested in Stewart.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2003)

  • Changes soon with the #16? Though rookie Greg Biffle won last month at Daytona, his learning curve would be accelerated by the addition of a veteran Winston Cup crew chief. Biffle's crew chief is Randy Goss, who is in his first full Winston Cup season in that job. Roush would not confirm that changes are ahead for any of his teams, but he says he won't wait until the end of the season if he believes a move should be made.(Sporting News), Jimmy Elledge is one possibility.(8-5-2003)

  • Target and General Mills Team Up to Raise Funds for Target House: The first annual Target House 200 NASCAR Busch Series race is scheduled for November 8, 2003, at North Carolina Speedway. Target and General Mills will be working together to raise money for Target House, a home away from home for families and children receiving care at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. "We're grateful to have such a high-profile event to help raise funds and visibility for Target House and the hospital," said Richard Shadyac, National Executive Director of ALSAC/St. Jude, the hospital's fund-raising arm. "I know the kids are looking forward to cheering on their favorite drivers during the race." To help raise funds for Target House, Target will be selling souvenir die-cast racecars on target.com. All proceeds from the die-cast cars will benefit Target House. In addition, a portion of sales from select, specially-marked General Mills snack products sold at Target stores will go toward Target House, with a maximum donation of $50,000. The General Mills snack products include Fruit Gushers, Pop Secret Popcorn, Fruit Roll-Ups and Chex Mix. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing team associate sponsors including Fujifilm, Coca-Cola, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle Purina and Clorox have committed an additional $30,000 to Target House. Target has a long history of supporting motorsports and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing team has supported St. Jude and Target House since 1997 through donations from the race team. The team provides $25 for each lap lead, $1,000 for each pole position and $5,000 for every race win. Over the past six seasons, the team has raised more than $275,000 for the hospital and Target House. "Target House is one of our leading community programs and we're happy this race will heighten the visibility of the ground-breaking work taking place at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," said John Remington, vice president, events marketing and communications, Target Corporation. Fans can order tickets to the inaugural Target House 200 by calling the North Carolina Speedway ticket office at 1-800-PITSTOP or 910-582-2861 or by visiting online at www.northcarolinaspeedway.com.
    About Target House: Funded by Target Stores and its vendor and celebrity partners, Target House is a home-away-from-home for families with children receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As an extension of St. Jude's commitment to care for any child regardless of the family's ability to pay, Target House provides fully furnished apartments, free-of-charge. Based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-4-2003)

  • Paul Tracy to NASCAR? Volatile, hard-driving Paul Tracy, an outspoken Indy-car star, may be looking for place to race next season, with CART going down the tubes. And two Winston Cup team owners interested in Tracy are Chip Ganassi and Richard Childress. Childress has made a career of dealing with hard-to-deal with drivers. It's unclear if Childress might be considering expanding to four Winston Cup teams.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2003)

  • Ganassi expanding to 4 teams? Look for Ganassi to expand to four teams next season, according to team sources. That could be fuel for the report that Robert Yates has expressed interest in selling his teams. But Ganassi is more likely to make a run at Sam Hornish, GM's struggling Indy-car star, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-3-2003)

  • Ganassi and Stewart have spoken: Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart and car owner Chip Ganassi have spoken about teaming up at some point. Ganassi fielded an IRL car for Stewart two years ago in the Indianapolis 500 and said Friday that partnership could eventually lead to a merger. Stewart's current team, Joe Gibbs Racing, offered him a contract extension, but Stewart says he hasn't looked at it. His deal expires at the end of the 2004 season and there's been rampant speculation that Ganassi is trying to land him. "Tony drove for us a couple years ago, and we've had an ongoing rapport since then," Ganassi said. "And we have talked about the possibility of him driving a Winston Cup car for us someday if he ever became available." Stewart has repeatedly denied having any contact with Ganassi, and the car owner was not specific about when the two last talked. The discussion of Stewart's future has followed him to Indy, his home track, where is he preparing for the Brickyard 400 on Sunday. Because Gibbs likes to renew contracts before they expire - teammate Bobby Labonte re-signed last month - the talks have started with Stewart. "Any car owner on top of his game would be remiss not to try to talk to him," Ganassi said. "There's a big difference between a guy who can win races and a guy who can win championships, and Tony can win championships." NASCAR does not have rules prohibiting a car owner from pursuing a driver already under contract, although some owners wait out of respect until deals are expiring before talking to a driver. But because contracts can easily be bought out, others are more aggressive. Gibbs is currently negotiating with sponsor Home Depot and crew chief Greg Zipadelli on contract extensions to keep the team together past 2004. Those deals are believed to be close to done. The speculation over Stewart's future has swirled through the garage area for the past month or so, and is now involving other drivers and teams. Earlier Friday, Dale Jarrett used a news conference honoring former Brickyard winners to tersely deny speculation that he would leave Robert Yates Racing to take Stewart's seat at Gibbs if it opened up. The natural fit for Stewart would be joining Ganassi, who could enter him in the Indy 500 - the one race Stewart truly covets - every year. Stewart has not run Indy since Ganassi gave him a car in 2001, focusing on his Winston Cup effort the past two years. But Ganassi said the two spoke the past two years about entering the race.(Thatsracin.com/AP)(8-1-2003)

  • The rumor that will NOT die: Stewart/Ganassi: According to Winston Salem Journal sources, car owner Chip Ganassi and sponsor Target are offering Tony Stewart five million dollars a year, plus bonuses. That would be nearly three times as much money as he's making with car owner Joe Gibbs, according to sources close to the situation. Stewart has been noncommittal about the situation, but Cary Agajanian, his agent, confirms that a number of people are interested in hiring Stewart. And according to sources the proposed Ganassi-Target contract for Stewart is a five-year deal starting at $5 million the first year, plus bonuses, and a 20-percent increase each year, with a significant part of that salary paid by Dodge. The conventional wisdom is that Stewart is simply trying to driving the price up with Gibbs, but throughout the weekend, reports have been rampant that a Stewart-Ganassi deal is all but done. And in the Indy-car world, the word is it's a done deal. Jimmy Makar, Gibbs' general manager, said, 'It's obvious he hasn't signed a contract (with Gibbs), but they're negotiating and working through it right now. They just finished up Bobby Labonte's a few weeks ago, and now they're working with Tony. But that's really between Tony and Joe. It can be a distraction, if you're not careful. It hasn't been in the past though.' One question - if Stewart leaves Gibbs, would Home Depot follow? Sources say Gibbs and Home Depot officials have all but signed a new deal in the past three weeks.
    And there are unconfirmed reports that Gibbs is already studying the market to see who's available if Stewart leaves, and rival owners expect Gibbs to make a run at Dale Jarrett if Stewart were to move. Jarrett once drove for Gibbs, and Jimmy Makar, Gibbs' manager, is married to Jarrett's sister, Patti. There are also unconfirmed reports that Gibbs is looking at Greg Biffle, and there is a push from the Indy-car world for Gibbs to take a look at Sam Hornish Jr. and even Sarah Fisher.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)

  • Mears wins 1st weekend ARCA race; UPDATE sweeps and wins the bonus: #41 Cup driver Casey Mears began his long weekend at Pocono Raceway with a victory Friday in an ARCA series race. Earlier in the day, Mears qualified his Winston Cup car in 10th position for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500. He also will drive Saturday in another ARCA event [he starts 2nd]. The one ran Friday was postponed from last month.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)
    UPDATE: Giant Foodstores, the sponsor of the ARCA 200 race on Friday night, posted a $25,000 bonus for a driver who could sweep the Friday race, postponed from June, and the ARCA Pennsylvania 200, to start 1:00pm/et today [actually it is $12,500 for the drive and $12,500 donated to the Children's Miracle Network]. Kyle Busch is on the pole. Busch and Christian Fittipaldi are favorites today but were not in the Friday field. With pole-sitter Casey Mears winning the Giant 200, outrunning runnerup Frank Kimmel to the finish, the Winston Cup rookie, who qualified 10th for the Pennsylvania 500, can pocket the cash with a win today.(Express Times)
    UPDATE 2 - Mears Sweeps ARCA at Pocono: Casey Mears made it two victories in two days at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, winning the back end of an ARCA series doubleheader at the 2.5-mile track. Mears had started from the pole and led virtually all the way in Friday's race, which had been rained out in June. For Saturday's race, he qualified second but had to start at the rear of the field after an engine change. He held off David Reutimann over the final laps to complete the sweep. ARCA points leader Frank Kimmel was third. "It's awesome," said Mears, who earned a $12,500 bonus from a chain of food stores for winning both races over the weekend. "We did this to gain experience and I've gained a ton. Hopefully, a lot of it will apply to tomorrow." Mears will start 10th in Sunday's Winston Cup Pennsylvania 500. Busch started from the pole Saturday and ran strong throughout the race until, with 24 laps to go, he was involved in a crash on the frontstretch. Busch, coming back through the field after a pit stop, went to the inside to make a pass when Ron Cox dove to block him. Their cars eventually made contact, sending Busch spinning and knocking him out of the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-26-2003)

  • Andretti and Ganassi? UPDATE and more on Stewart: Rookie Casey Mears may be on the hot seat at Chip Ganassi's, and crew chief Jimmy Elledge said he realizes the team will have to pick up its performance the second half of the season [seems to have done pretty good at Chicago so far]. Mears' best finish is a 15th at Las Vegas, and his average is 29.0. 'I'm sure the boss isn't too happy this team is on this side of the garage (34th in the standings),' Elledge said. 'I haven't heard anything ... but if we don't pick up, we may all be looking for jobs.' John Andretti [sure won't be Michael] is one name being mentioned for the ride. Andretti was under consideration for the ride last fall.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-12-2003)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi was adamant: Casey Mears will not be released in the near-future, nor is Tony Stewart signed to be his replacement. “As far as I know, Tony Stewart is still under contract,” Ganassi says. “But who in his right mind wouldn't consider hiring a former Winston Cup champ if he was available?” Ganassi, whose Cup teams use Dodges, says Joe Gibbs, Stewart's current boss, can offer the driver more, but that's rubbish. Sterling Marlin proved last year that Ganassi's equipment is capable of winning a NASCAR championship. The bigger prize for Stewart could be winning the Indy 500, a feat Ganassi accomplished with Juan Montoya in 2000. Stewart already is building his relationship with Dodge through his World of Outlaws team, and DaimlerChrysler would be thrilled to have him behind the wheel of an Intrepid in Winston Cup.(Sporting News)
    AND As quickly as that buzz was killed, a new one emerged: Ganassi was supposedly working on a deal with John Andretti, who was released in June by Petty Enterprises. The rumors are fueled in part by Casey Mears' mighty struggle as a Winston Cup rookie. Yesterday in the Tropicana 400, he started a five-car chain-reaction crash before eventually going into the wall himself on lap 233. "I read all the same rumors," said Ganassi, who also fields cars for Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray. "That's what they are -- rumors. We like the job all the guys are doing. I wouldn't be surprised if you would see all three of them back here next year."(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)(7-14-2003)

  • Fuji Film Scheme for #41 at Chicago: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced a new paint scheme for the #41 Target Dodge in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The green, white and red of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., will be the featured artwork on the #41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears for this one event. Fujifilm is recognized around the world for its technological innovation and high quality, offering a complete portfolio of imaging and information products, services and e-solutions to retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. Fujifilm has been a valued partner of Target Chip Ganassi Racing for over six years and the Tropicana 400 will mark Fujifilm's second primary sponsorship of a Winston Cup car. "Fujifilm has been riding along with me all season and I'm proud to carry the company's colors as the primary sponsor for the Chicagoland race," said Mears. "Race fans instantly identify with the Fujifilm green so I'm sure I will have plenty of fans behind me at the Tropicana 400."(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(7-3-2003)

  • A Dream Date with Mears: Into the rugged adventurer, sultry music lover or international soap opera star? How about an incredibly fast NASCAR driver or a professional NBA star? Whatever type strikes your fancy, Regis and Kelly have got ‘em. Ready for the chance to go on a dream date with one of these five eligible bachelors? The NASCAR driver is....Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodge in the Cup seires. See more at Dream Day Search, what? no Jayski....more like a mightmare...(7-2-2003)

  • Ganassi Closing Down IRL team? Dixon to NASCAR? UPDATE: AutoRacing1.com [love how they 'hear it first' a day after the team press release is out on stuff - LOL] is reporting that the IRL series will be loosing one of its top teams at the end of the season. Target Chip Ganassi Racing will be closing its Indianapolis offices at the end of the IRL season. No CART team, no IRL team. They are currently looking at offers on the property and equipment. They are looking to take Scott Dixon with them to NASCAR land. There is a very small chance, that if they win the championship, they would continue on for one more season. There are some at Ganassi, that are looking for funding to buy the operation, and continue on in open wheel racing, CART or the IRL.(AutoRacing1.com need subscription to read)(6-17-2003)
    UPDATE - from Ganassi Racing: "We're fully committed to the IRL and fully committed to the operation and my employees in Indianapolis this year and in the future, " owner Chip Ganassi stated.(6-17-2003)

  • Pruett in Target car at Sonoma: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that road-course specialist Scott Pruett will drive a fourth entry for the team at Sonoma this weekend. Pruett will be entered to drive the #09 Target Dodge [listed as the Phoenix Racing/James Finch #09 team] in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 22, 2003. This is in addition to Ganassi's current stable of drivers: #40-Sterling Marlin, #41-Casey Mears and #42-Jamie McMurray. "I'm excited to put Scott behind the wheel of the Target Dodge this weekend in Sonoma," owner Chip Ganassi said. "Scott has a proven track record on road courses and has had great finishes with our team in the past two years. This team is committed to winning and adding value to our sponsors." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has hired Pruett on two other occasions. Last year, Pruett drove the #41 Target Dodge to a sixth place finish at Watkins Glen. In 2001, Pruett qualified eighth and finished 11th at Watkins Glen in the #01 Ganassi entry. "It's great to be able to work with the Chip Ganassi racing team again," Pruett said. "This is a first class organization that's out to win races. I'm hoping to take the Target Dodge to the Winner's Circle in Sonoma." Pruett has one full season of NASCAR Winston Cup experience under his belt, racing in 2000 for #32 PPI Motorsports in its first season in the NASCAR Winston Cup series. Pruett's best finish was 10th place in the Brickyard 400. In addition to racing in the Trans Am Road Racing Series for Rocketsports Racing in 2003, Pruett also serves as a race announcer for Speed Channel's CART races.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-16-2003)

  • Mears on the pole again....for ARCA race UPDATE Mears wins race at MIS: Casey Mears and Team Target are two for two. Mears, driving his #77 Target Dodge, set a new track record while earning the pole at Michigan International Speedway for the ARCA race. This is the second ARCA pole in a row for Mears. He won the ARCA pole last weekend at Pocono but the race was postponed due to rain [will run July 25th]. Mears' lap was recorded at 188.073 mph (38.283 seconds). His lap was three miles faster than the old track record set by Jason Jarrett (185.000mph). Mears qualified 22nd for the Winston Cup race later Friday afternoon. His fast lap was recorded at 187.446 mph (38.411 seconds). The Michigan ARCA race will be broadcast on Speed Channel at 8:00pm/et.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-14-2003)
    UPDATE: Casey Mears won his first career stock car race today in his #77 Target Dodge in the Michigan ARCA race. This is the first win for Team Target in a stock car as well. Mears set a new track record while earning the pole at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. His lap was recorded at 188.073 mph (38.283 seconds), which was three miles faster than the old track record set by Jason Jarrett (185.000mph). Although Mears won the pole, he had to start 26th due to a misunderstanding in the garage area before the race. Team Target did not get their car through tech in the allotted time. Team Target was not the only team who had the misunderstanding, seventeen other cars had to move to the rear of the field for the start of the race. The 26th place start was no problem for Mears; by lap 13 of the 100-lap event he was in fourth place. Mears took the lead on lap 45 and never looked back. Team Target dominated the race and took home their first stock car victory.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-15-2003)

  • Mears on ARCA Pole: Casey Mears set a new one-lap ARCA RE/MAX Series track record Thursday at Pocono Raceway. Mears, in Chip Ganassi's #77-Target Dodge, won the Old Milwaukee Pole with a speed of 169.802mph surpassing Stuart Kirby's old mark of 169.329. #9-Hideo Fukuyama starts 10th.(ARCA Racing site)(6-6-2003)

  • New driver for Ganassi? in Trucks? Shelby Howard, a 17-year-old who is expected to join the NASCAR world very shortly - perhaps racing a truck for Chip Ganassi - won Sunday's ARCA 200 at Kansas. Howard, that tour's youngest-ever winner, was quick to praise Ernie Elliott's motor [Ganassi' s engine builder].(Winston Salem Journal)....a Toyota truck maybe?(6-3-2003)

  • Mears testing at Pocono: Casey Mears is testing at Pocono Raceway on May 28 and 29 in the #77 Target Dodge. Mears is preparing for his upcoming ARCA race at Pocono.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-27-2003)

  • Bigger for Ganassi: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and its trio of [#40, #41, $2] teams now based in Mooresville's Lakeside Business Park, is looking for an $11 million facility that would more than double the size of its operation, says Gene Haskett, executive vice president. Haskett recently gave a serious look at the vacant, 427,000-square-foot former Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. building, also in Mooresville, but found it too large. "We are still looking," he says. Ganassi needs about 220,000 square feet for its three Winston Cup teams -- featuring drivers Sterling Marlin, Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray.(Charlotte Business Journal)(5-20-2003)

  • #19 Team in trouble? UPDATE 5 Blount Out, Mears In: hearing that the #19 Braun Racing team and driver Chad Blount may be without a sponsor soon, hearing that APP-American Petroleum Promotions may be leaving.
    UPDATE: A reliable source inside Braun Racing reports that the #19 car with Chad Blount will not be going to Nazareth this week due to sponsorship issues. As a result, Blount asked for his release and it was granted. The team will have a new sponsor announcement next week for Lowe's. Rumor has it it will be a current Cup driver in the seat. These developments do not affect the #30 with Steadman Marlin and Keystone Light at all.(BGN Racing.com)
    UPDATE 2: on Fox Sport's Net's Totally NASCAR, it was reported that Chad Blount asked for and was granted his release from the team. The team will not be going to Nazareth. Hearing one of the Ganassi Racing drivers will be in the car at Charlotte.(5-15-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Casey Mears will drive the #19 Dodge for the remainder of the 2003 season.(Speed Channel's coverage of Wonston qualifying)(5-16-2003)
    UPDATE 4: Chip Ganassi Racing officials confirmed Saturday rookie Winston Cup driver Casey Mears will enter at least two Busch Series races this season, including next weekend's Carquest 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Mears will drive the #19 Dodge fielded by Braun Motorsports. The team's former driver, Chad Blount, asked for and received a release from the team after it developed sponsorship problems. Braun Motorsports currently gets car bodies and engines from Ganassi. Mears is also running in four ARCA races this season with Ganassi for additional seat time. Mears drove full time in the Busch series last season.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-18-2003)
    UPDATE 5: plans are to run at Lowe's Motor Speedway and Dover with Microsoft as the sponsor, and then see where things stand after Dover and if a full sponsor can be found.(Fox Sports Net - Totally NASCAR)(5-20-2003)

  • Casey Mears to run four ARCA races Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver #41-Casey Mears will compete in four ARCA races starting at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 21, 2003. The remaining three races will include Pocono (June 7), Michigan (June 14), and Pocono (July 26). Mears will drive a Target Dodge in all four races. In order to obtain existing owner's points, Braun Racing will enter Mears' #77 Target Dodge for the ARCA races. Matt Chambers, CGR test team manager, will serve as crew chief and the crew will be compiled of the CGR test team.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-14-2003)

  • Toyota Stuff - Ganassi and Davis? Things have been pretty quiet on the Toyota front lately, but work on the Japanese company's new NASCAR Tundra racer is well under way. The two NASCAR teams expected to play a big role in Toyota's truck venture next season are the ones owned by Chip Ganassi and Bill Davis, although neither is willing to confirm anything. Davis' suspected Toyota truck operation, according to team sources, is being run at a secret shop that is being called Area 54, a take-off on the U.S. government's top-secret flight base, Area 51. Where might that shop be? According to sources, it's probably at Davis' old Busch shop in Thomasville, NC.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)

  • Board OKs public funding for Ganassi expansion: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which fields three NASCAR Winston Cup [#'s 40, 41, 42] teams out of Mooresville, N.C., received an economic incentive grant Tuesday to expand in town at an abandoned factory. Iredell County commissioners awarded the group $47,000 to $122,200 over three years for a $2.5 million investment in the county. The grant would help the race group buy and retrofit the former Matshushita Compressor Corp. of America building. The move would allow Chip Ganassi Racing to add another race team and create 65 to 75 jobs.(Charlotte Observer)(4-3-2003)

  • Team Ganassi Tested: Chip Ganassi Racing's Winston Cup drivers #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #41-Casey Mears joined IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tomas Scheckter in getting baseline assessment tests at the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The drivers had comprehensive physical fitness testing, sports performance training and other specialty consultation by UPMC's sports medicine and sports performance team. The exams included assessment of vision and hearing, pulmonary function, cardiac stress, oxygen consumption and physiologic response to exercise. They also got blood screening and tests for balance and rotator-cuff strength. They were tested for strength, flexibility and agility.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-2-2003)

  • Testing at Darlington UPDATE: The testing schedule at Darlington Raceway this week has changed slightly. #42-Jamie McMurray will not be testing this week, #41-Casey Mears will test instead. #15-Micheal Waltrip will also test, alomg with a few Busch Series teams.(Darlington Raceway PR)(3-4-2003)
    UPDATE: Rookie Casey Mears picked up his first "Darlington stripe" during Tuesday's test session at the Darlington Raceway. The #41 Target Dodge driver scrubbed the turn 4 wall during practice and it took the crew an hour to fix the damage. Mears was not injured. Michael Waltrip.is at Darlington however did not test because he is under the weather. Waltrip is schedule to turn laps on Wednesday.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-5-2003)

  • Toyota, new shop? Ganassi? Toyota is buying a 240,000-square-foot building in Charlotte on a 124-acre plot of land for part of its NASCAR venture, according to NASCAR sources, who report that car owner Chip Ganassi has already gotten a check for $35 million to crank up a Toyota operation. Toyota officials are pushing NASCAR to OK fuel injection and eliminate the old-fashioned carburetors used on these 358 cubic-inch racing engines for many years. Ford also is pushing for fuel injection, in large part because the company has developed - and patented - a solid-fuel injection system for race cars, a system better than anything General Motors or Dodge has. The GM system has a significant delay when drivers try to get off the gas. NASCAR has been so eager to get Toyota involved in stock-car racing that Detroit manufacturers believe that NASCAR might approve fuel injection.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-1-2003)

  • Ganassi announces new sponsorship program for all teams: Chip Ganassi Racing is proud to announce an innovative new sponsorship program that includes several of the world's top technology companies. Through their long-standing partnership with Target Corporation, Chip Ganassi Racing has finalized sponsorship agreements with Microsoft, Dell, EMC, Syntel and Avaya. The technology consortium will become the official technology partners to Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the Indy Racing League with drivers Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon, and for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with drivers Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, and Sterling Marlin, and will benefit the programs of team primary sponsors Target, ChevronTexaco, and Coors Brewing Company. The alliance marks the first time that major IT companies have united to work together with a racing team in the U.S. In addition to dedicated intellectual capital, as part of the sponsorship Microsoft will provide consulting services and software solutions based on their .Net platform, Dell Corporation will provide computer hardware, EMC will provide data storage solutions, Syntel will provide customized software development and Avaya will power TCGR's converged communications network and wireless infrastructure.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(2-18-2003)

  • Spencer Suing Ganassi UPDATE: Attorneys for Jimmy Spencer have filed a lawsuit in Mecklenburg County Superior Court seeking damages from Chip Ganassi, Spencer's former Winston Cup car owner, for breach of contract and interference with Spencer's racing career. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, seeks $600,000 for the difference between the salary Spencer says he was to be paid for 2003, the second year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing, and what he is to make this year as the driver for Ultra Motorsports. Spencer drove the #41 Dodges owned by Ganassi last season, but says he was told over the telephone on or about Nov. 5, 2002, that he was fired. Casey Mears will drive the #41 cars in the 2003 season. The lawsuit also charges that Ganassi made an agreement to monetarily assist James Finch, the owner of a Busch series team for which Spencer drove 23 races last year, with fielding Finch's Busch team for 2003. Part of the terms for that agreement, the lawsuit alleges, was for Finch not to employ Spencer as a driver this year. The suit seeks damages of no less than $10,000 for Spencer for his lost opportunity for employment with Finch. It also seeks payment of money Spencer says he is owed for souvenir and collectibles sales for the third and fourth quarters of 2002. Ganassi said he had neither read nor seen the lawsuit and would not comment on it. Spencer referred questions to Bill Diehl, his Charlotte attorney. The lawsuit offers a rare glimpse at the details of a Winston Cup driver's contract, spelling out the terms of Spencer's employment with Ganassi's team. In 2002, Spencer's base salary was $1 million payable in 12 monthly installments of $83,333.33. He also received 45% of the prize money earned driving the car. Additionally, the team was to pay up to $35,000 per year in premiums for disability insurance for Spencer. Spencer's salary would have gone up to $1.1 million this year. Spencer, the lawsuit says, will make a $500,000 as driver of the #7 Dodges at Ultra Motorsports. The contract also included bonuses of $25,000 per race victory, $12,500 per second-place finish, $6,250 per third-place finish and $5,000 per pole. Spencer would have earned $25,000 bonuses for winning either the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, the Texas 500 or Las Vegas 500 or the pole for the Brickyard 400. He also could have earned an additional $100,000 bonus for winning four races in a season or for winning the Winston Cup championship.(Charlotte Observer)(2-7-2003)
    UPDATE: Spencer is referring all questions to his North Carolina attorney, but according to Felix Sabates, who is a partner in Ganassi’s Winston Cup operation, Spencer has no contract that covers the 2003 season; and that the team’s obligations to Spencer were fulfilled at the conclusion of the 2002 season. “We don’t have a contract with Spencer. He never signed it,” Sabates insisted. “He’s got no argument with us. He never signed the contract.”(Ford Racing)
    AND Reacting to the allegations in a lawsuit filed this week by Jimmy Spencer, team owner Chip Ganassi said the driver has no valid claim. "`It's ridiculous, we never even had a signed contract,'' Ganassi said. ``We kept bartering back and forth during our original negotiations and we never got to a final agreement. I don't owe him anything and he knows that.''(Tampa Tribune)(2-8-2003)

  • Medical Tests for Ganassi Drivers: Car owner Chip Ganassi is sending his Winston Cup drivers for a three-day medical test so his organization will have detailed health records in case of injuries. #40-Sterling Marlin spent 25 straight weeks on top of the Winston Cup standings last season before he was sidelined for the final seven races with a cracked vertebra in his neck. Now Marlin and rookies #42-Jamie McMurray and #41-Casey Mears are being sent in April to the University of Pittsburgh's Medical Center in Ganassi's hometown for "a baseline-operation program." "It's just one more tool for us to have, just in case things like Sterling's injury happen again in the future," Ganassi said. "I hope we don't need the information, but it can only help." Teams are constantly working on improving the safety aspects of racing, but Ganassi said he is not a pioneer in sending his drivers' in for the test. "Everyone is always trying to be proactive, but this is something I read about somewhere else," Ganassi said. "The Steelers do it, the Pirates do it. It can't hurt for us to do it."(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-23-2003)

  • Graves off to Spain: Ganassi team manager Andy Graves left Wednesday for a four-day trip to Spain, where he plans to observe Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya during a test session. Graves, who became friends with Montoya when he headed his Indianapolis 500 winning team for Ganassi in 2000, plans to use his time in Valencia, Spain, learning as much as he can from the Williams team. "There are always new technologies that you can try to pick up and bring back to our program," Graves said. "Juan had been asking me the past two years to come to a test and see what it's all about, so I'll go and watch how Williams performs and see what I can learn." Montoya made his first visit to a NASCAR race in November's season finale, when he spent the weekend in Homestead, Fla., as a guest of Graves and the Ganassi team.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(1-23-2003)

    2002 News

  • McMurray to run part time in BGN UPDATE and the other drivers: hearing from a few readers that on the local news in Panama City, FL, #1 BGN team owner, James Finch said they would run entire BGN season and that Jamie McMurray [driver of the #42 Cup car] would be driving car along with four other drivers [others not mentioned]. Finch will also run a limited Cup schedule, no driver mentioned. Supposedly the team will run Dodge's.(12-20-2002)
    UPDATE: After car owner Chip Ganassi let Jimmy Spencer go as his Winston Cup driver [of the #41], a deal has now been worked out with BGN owner James Finch that has cost Spencer a second ride. Ganassi has put up some extra money so Finch can run the full schedule with four different drivers in the #1 Yellow Freight machine. Jamie McMurray will run 15 races, Casey Mears up to seven, the others are going to be split between CTS driver Ryan Hemphill and ASA competitior David Stremme. Crew chief Marc Reno says they would like to pick the driver they feel most comfortable with this season and take a shot at the BGN championship in 2004. As for Spencer, he was caught off guard when he learned he wouldn't be driving the car. Spencer told PRN's Garagepass, "I was shocked in a way because the.way it went down. It was a business decision on James' part and I can live with that. I can't agree with the way it was handled with who he sided with, but that's life. Yellow has been a great company for me and I wish them the best of luck."(PRN's Garage Pass)(12-21-2002)

  • #41 Driver? UPDATE 6 Official - Mears in the #41: .....have heard that Chip Ganassi hired Jimmy Elledge to be the crew chief for the 41 car, which is the car that Jimmy Spencer drove, and Ganassi is attempting to sell to Target that they need to put a veteran, Bobby Hamilton, in that car. Elledge/Hamilton is the package that went together at the 55 car.(FoxSports)
    UPDATE: However sources tell me that Hamilton will NOT be the new #41 driver.(11-26-2002)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing that Hank Parker Jr and Todd Bodine are out of the running for the ride.(11-27-2002)
    UPDATE 3: stated in a Fox Sports column by Larry McReynolds (contradicts a source): With Bobby Hamilton landing at the #41, the final few pieces of the Silly Season puzzle are: What is Casey Atwood going to do? (Busch) Where's Ken Schrader going to go? (APR or without a ride)(FoxSports)(12-2-2002)
    UPDATE 4: being told the driver being looked at is BGN driver, Casey Mears maybe??.(12-4-2002)
    UPDATE 5: hearing BGN driver, Casey Mears will be the driver of the #41 Tagret Dodge, with an announcement coming today or tomorrow.(12-5-2002)
    UPDATE 6: Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that Casey Mears will drive the #41 Target Dodge in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series with veteran Jimmy Elledge performing the crew chief duties. "The addition of Casey adds a lot of excitement and energy to the team," team owner Chip Ganassi said. "Our company is about winning races and adding value to our sponsor's investments and we're confident that Casey's work ethic and talent coupled with Jimmy's experience can help us do just that for Target." The 2002 season marked Mears' first year in the BGN [#66 Phillips Dodge] and his first full season running stock cars. He captured two top-10 finishes in his first season and finished 21st in driver points. Mears' racing background includes CART and IRL racing from 1996 to 2001. In 1995, he captured the Jim Russell USAC Triple Crown Championship after finishing third in 1994. Casey is the nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Rick Mears. "I'm excited to be starting my Winston Cup career with Target Chip Ganassi Racing," Mears said. "This is a great opportunity for me to be a part of a first-class organization that is dedicated to winning championships. I am especially excited to drive for Target. They have had a long, successful relationship with Chip Ganassi Racing and I'm looking forward to giving them more success in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series." Jimmy Elledge comes to Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates after spending four years in the crew chief role at Andy Petree Racing.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-5-2002)

  • Elledge to the #41? UPDATE 4 official and...: hearing that #55 crew chief Jimmy Elledge could be moving to the #41 team, especially if Hamiton goes there as the driver.(11-13-2002)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Elledge has said he won't return as crew chief for Andy Petree's #55, and it's possible that if Ken Schrader moves to that car, he'll bring Newt Moore, his chief from the #36.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Elledge has been hired as the new #41 crew chief, no word on Randolph's 2003 plans.(11-20-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Elledge has been hired as the crew chief for the #41 Target Dodge, also leading to speculation that Bobby Hamilton, who worked with Elledge at the #55 could be the next driver if the #41 car.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-22-2002)
    UPDATE 4 - officially named and Ganassi crew moves: Jimmy Elledge started work Monday as the crew chief for Chip Ganassi Racing's #41 Target Dodges. Ganassi, who has made several crew moves among his three NASCAR Winston Cup teams, hopes to announce a driver for the #41 within the next two weeks. In other moves at Ganassi Racing, Mike Brill, the car chief for Sterling Marlin's #40 Coors Light Dodge, has been moved over to serve the same role for Jamie McMurray on the #42 Havoline Dodge. Long-time #40 general mechanic Todd Osborne has been promoted to work with crew chief Lee McCall as Marlin's car chief. Ganassi also expects to announce a veteran crew chief for McMurray's program by early next week.(NASCAR.com), Donnie Wingo is rumored as the #42 crew chief.(12-4-2002)

  • Randolph to crew chief at ppc Racing? UPDATE: hearing former #41 crew chief Doug Randolph will be the new crew chief of the #10 ppc Racing Ford and driver Scott Riggs in the BGN series.(12-3-2002)
    UPDATE: Doug Randolph has been named Crew Chief of the #10 Nestlé Nesquik Ford Team at ppc Racing. Randolph comes to ppc Racing from the #41 Winston Cup Team of Chip Ganassi. Randolph will assume crew chief duties effective immediately to prepare for the upcoming 2003 BGN season. Greg Pollex, co-owner of ppc Racing, is impressed with Randolph's credentials and is confident that Randolph will be the perfect fit for the ppc Racing. "Doug will be a great addition to the No. 10 team roster," said Pollex. "He is driven to succeed like the rest of the guys on the Nestlé Nesquik Ford Taurus and I believe his professional manner will be an asset to the entire team. He has proven his level of commitment to the teams he has worked with and I think he is the leader we need to take us back to victory lane." Randolph returns to the Busch series where he began his racing career working part time for L.D. Ottinger. "I am thrilled to work with a team that has such a winning tradition," said Randolph. "I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with a driver like Scott Riggs and the ppc Racing organization."(ppc Racing PR)(12-3-2002)

  • Sad News: condolences go out to Andy Graves of Ganassi Racing who recently lost his grandfather.(11-29-2002)

  • Hamilton in the #41? UPDATE 2, no Hamilton, Parker or Bodine either: .....have heard that Chip Ganassi hired Jimmy Elledge to be the crew chief for the 41 car, which is the car that Jimmy Spencer drove, and Ganassi is attempting to sell to Target that they need to put a veteran, Bobby Hamilton, in that car. Elledge/Hamilton is the package that went together at the 55 car.(FoxSports)
    UPDATE: However sources tell me that Hamilton will NOT be the new #41 driver.(11-26-2002)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing that Hank Parker Jr and Todd Bodine are out of the running for the ride.(11-27-2002)

  • Andretti still not signed UPDATE: John Andretti still has not signed the contract offer Petty Enterprises gave him months ago, but the organization is certain the driver will be back in 2003. "There are a couple of issues that still need to be resolved, but as far as we're concerned, he is the driver of the No. 43," chief executive officer Kyle Petty said. "We have a verbal agreement, just no signature." Andretti, one of the few remaining free agents, was less committal. "Anything is possible," he said, smiling. "Who knows what will happen?" Petty said there was no issue over Andretti's participation in the Indianapolis 500, a race the company forbid him to compete in this year. Andretti, the first of three drivers to compete in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, wants to do the double again and was disappointed he was not allowed. "As far as we're concerned, he can run the Indy 500 every year," Petty said. "We said no this year because the issue came up 30 days beforehand and there wasn't enough time. As long as he plans on it in advance, he can run it and we'd love to partner up and help his efforts."(CNNSI/AP)(11-17-2002)
    UPDATE: Minor contract details are holding up John Andretti signing for a sixth season with Petty Enterprises. Team officials discounted rumors of the Indianapolis native pursuing the Ganassi Racing vacancy created by the firing of Jimmy Spencer.(Indianapolis Star)(11-18-2002)

  • Randolph back with Blaney? UPDATE: hearing Doug Randolph, who worked with Dave Blaney at Bill Davis Racing, could move from Ganassi Racing's #41 to the #77 Jasper Motorsports team.(11-13-2002)
    UPDATE: Doug Randolph, crew chief for the #41, in which Jimmy Spencer will be replaced, has two weeks left on his contract and has not been told whether he will be back.(Sporting News)(11-18-2002)

  • More Blaney: Chip Ganassi wanted Dave Blaney to replace Jimmy Spencer in the #41 Dodge next year, but Blaney said Sunday he's committed to returning to Jasper Motorsports and the #77 Ford. With Blaney off the market, Busch Series driver Hank Parker Jr. now is the leading candidate at Ganassi.(Augusta Chroncile)(11-18-2002)

  • Spencer/Gannasi Talking about contract issues: Jimmy Spencer, who was abruptly fired last week by team owner Chip Ganassi and says he won't soon get over the shock of that event, said Thursday at Homestead-Miami Speedway he has had conversations with Ganassi about resolving the issue of the final year of his contract. Spencer says he received a phone call informing him he would be released as the driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge following Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead. Last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Spencer insisted he had another year, plus an option year, remaining on his contract.(NASCAR.com)(11-15-2002)

  • Hamilton to BAM? hearing Bobby Hamilton could end up in the #49 BAM Racing Dodge in 2003, other rumors have Hamilton in the #41 Target Dodge and if John Andretti goes to the #41 (but is supposedly close to re-signing with the #43) Hamilton coiuld end up in the #43 Dodge.(11-13-2002)

  • Randolph back with Blaney? hearing Doug Randolph, who worked with Dave Blaney at Bill Davis Racing, could move from Ganassi Racing's #41 to the #77 Jasper Motorsports team.(11-13-2002)

  • Elledge to the #41? hearing that #55 crew chief Jimmy Elledge could be moving to the #41 team, especially if Hamiton goes there as the driver.(11-13-2002)

  • Ganassi in no hurry UPDATE: Chip Ganassi says he's in no hurry to select a replacement for Jimmy Spencer in the #41 Target Doddge next season but characterized his candidates as the usual list of suspects. Garage sources say the list includes drivers who are looking for jobs -- such as Bobby Hamilton and Todd Bodine -- and others who are still under contract -- such as Dave Blaney, John Andretti and Scott Wimmer, a young BGN regular who drives for Bill Davis. Ganassi says he hasn't ruled out a younger driver, citing the success Jamie McMurray has had subbing for Sterling Marlin in the #40. But a more true test for McMurray will come next season -- as a rookie, he will be driving for Ganassi full-time but with a brand new team in the #42.(Sporting News)(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE: Ganassi's new driver appears to be Dave Blaney, although Blaney might remain with car owner Mark Harrah if the two can find the right crew chief to take the spot that Ryan Pemberton will leave vacant in a few days when he moves back to the Jay Frye-Thomas Beard team. If Blaney joins Ganassi, he could be teaming again with his former crew chief, Doug Randolph, who worked for Blaney at Bill Davis'.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-12-2002)

  • Wingo to Ganassi? Another crew chief apparently on the move is Donnie Wingo, currently the crew chief on the #26 Fords owned by Travis Carter. Wingo is expected to join Lee McCall and Randolph as crew chiefs on the three Ganassi teams in 2003. Wingo would most likely be the crew chief for McMurray, although team manager Tony Glover said the crew lineup for the team next year won't be decided until the driver for the #41 is decided.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE: As early as Monday [didn't happen], teamfordracing.com expects Chip Ganassi will make his hiring of Crew Chief Donnie Wingo official. The word could have come today, but a meeting between Ganassi and Carl Hass kept Ganassi from addressing the situation. Wingo, long time crew chief for Travis Carter, is expected to handle the car driven by Jamie McMurray in the 2003 campaign.(Ford Racing)(11-12-2002)

  • Spencer not happy with his release, maybe to the #7 in 2003? UPDATE 2 Furr or Baldwin as #7 crew chief? Jimmy Spencer said Friday he's upset about how he got the word - via a phone call - that he'd be out of the #41 Dodges owned by Chip Ganassi at the end of the 2002 Winston Cup season. Spencer said he is also angry that the decision came so late in the season after he had been assured several weeks ago that his contract to stay in the #41 in 2003 would be honored. Spencer declined to comment further about his dismissal. He is already looking for another ride for next season. Spencer has made contact with Jim Smith, owner of the #7 Dodges that will be driven by Jason Lefler for the final two races of this year after Casey Atwood was moved out of that ride.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2002)
    UPDATE: Spencer might not be out of work long. Jim Smith would love to have Mr. Excitement behind the wheel of the Ultra Motorsports #7 Sirius Dodge in 2003. "We need to get this car in the top 20 next season," Smith says. "We need stability. Spencer has a lot to prove, and so do we." Smith plans to meet with crew chief Tony Furr to determine whether Furr will return in 2003. If not, expect Tommy Baldwin, who started the season with Ward Burton, to take the job.(Sporting News)(11-11-2002)
    UPDATE 2: Car owner James Smith is looking at his options after his co-ownership deal with Ray Evernham went south earlier this week. Smith and Evernham shared the #7 car to give Casey Atwood a place for to drive, after being displaced from the #19 ride at the end of the 2001 season by Jeremy Mayfield. Smith, who was getting his engines from Evernham as part of his Atwood deal, is “99 percent sure” that he’ll run Mike Ege Racing Engines in 2003 as the team rebuilds. Smith’s short list of drivers includes Jason Leffler, who drove the #7 car this week at Phoenix and will also run the car at Homestead; Ted Musgrave, Kevin Lepage and Jimmy Spencer. Smith also confirmed that Tony Furr left the team mid-race at Rockingham last week because he was disgusted with Atwood’s performance. Atwood’s name is floating around the garage for several possibilities, including an Evernham-prepared car.(Ford Racing)(11-12-2002)

  • Jimmy Spencer out of the #41? UPDATE 4 at end of season; Hamilton? Mears?: hearing rumors that Jimmy Spencer will not return to the #41 Target Dodge/Ganassi Racing team, not sure if it is immediate or at the end of the season or at all. If released, the only rumored driver I have heard is Jimmy Vasser of CART but could be an opening for Bobby Hamilton to get in that Dodge program.(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that Jimmy Spencer, driver of the #41 Target Dodge, will be released from his contract at the end of the 2002 season. Spencer will continue his driving duties for the team for the remainder of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. "When we first made this deal, Jimmy and I agreed about what would happen if the results were not what either of us were happy with," owner Chip Ganassi said. "Obviously, both of us are not happy with the results. I feel bad we weren't able to get the most out of our relationship, but I'm sure I'll remain friends with Jimmy. We all know he's a colorful character that no one can help but enjoy being around. No one can deny Jimmy has a lot of energy and excitement about him." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has not announced a driver for the #41 entry for the 2003 Winston Cup season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The driver rumored to replace Spencer in 2003 is Bobby Hamilton. Other rumors indicate that longtime Travis Carter crew chief, Donnie Wingo, would join the Ganassi’s three-car stable to wrench Jamie McMurray’s Dodge in 2003.(Ford Racing)(11-6-2002)
    UPDATE 3: during an interview with Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR, Jimmy Spencer said he was shocked by the being released from the #41 ride and it was not a mutual decision.(11-8-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Casey Mears was mentioned as another driver in the rumor mill with the #41 car.(SC's Happy Hour Coverage)(11-9-2002)
    UPDATE 5: also add Scott Riggs of the BGN, Scott Pruett and CART driver Max Papis to the mix of rumored drivers.(11-10-2002)

  • Spencer not happy with his release, maybe to the #7 in 2003? Jimmy Spencer said Friday he's upset about how he got the word - via a phone call - that he'd be out of the #41 Dodges owned by Chip Ganassi at the end of the 2002 Winston Cup season. Spencer said he is also angry that the decision came so late in the season after he had been assured several weeks ago that his contract to stay in the #41 in 2003 would be honored. Spencer declined to comment further about his dismissal. He is already looking for another ride for next season. Spencer has made contact with Jim Smith, owner of the #7 Dodges that will be driven by Jason Lefler for the final two races of this year after Casey Atwood was moved out of that ride.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2002)

  • Vasser doubts he'll be in the #41: during an interview on ESPN2's RPM 2Night (still can't believe they are canceling this show) CART driver Jimmy Vasser said doesn't think Chip Ganassi is considering him for the #41 Target Dodge ride that Jimmy Spencer will be released from at the end of 2002. Vasser said he is looking for a BGN ride or to stay in CART. Vasser drove for Ganassi in CART before parting ways a few years ago.(11-7-2002)

  • Spencer out? UPDATE at end of season; Hamilton?: hearing rumors that Jimmy Spencer will not return to the #41 Target Dodge/Ganassi Racing team, not sure if it is immediate or at the end of the season or at all. If released, the only rumored driver I have heard is Jimmy Vasser of CART but could be an opening for Bobby Hamilton to get in that Dodge program.(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that Jimmy Spencer, driver of the #41 Target Dodge, will be released from his contract at the end of the 2002 season. Spencer will continue his driving duties for the team for the remainder of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. "When we first made this deal, Jimmy and I agreed about what would happen if the results were not what either of us were happy with," owner Chip Ganassi said. "Obviously, both of us are not happy with the results. I feel bad we weren't able to get the most out of our relationship, but I'm sure I'll remain friends with Jimmy. We all know he's a colorful character that no one can help but enjoy being around. No one can deny Jimmy has a lot of energy and excitement about him." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has not announced a driver for the #41 entry for the 2003 Winston Cup season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-5-2002)
    UPDATE 2: The driver rumored to replace Spencer in 2003 is Bobby Hamilton. Other rumors indicate that longtime Travis Carter crew chief, Donnie Wingo, would join the Ganassi’s three-car stable to wrench Jamie McMurray’s Dodge in 2003.(Ford Racing)(11-6-2002)

  • Ganassi wants Spencer in full face: #40/41 team owner, Chip Ganassi, said he's been bugging driver Jimmy Spencer all season to start using a full-face helmet for safety reasons.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(10-14-2002)

  • Fuji Film Scheme on the #41 at Lowe's: Target Chip Ganassi Racing will feature a new paint scheme for the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 13. The recognizable green, white and red of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., will be the featured artwork on the #41 Dodge driven by Jimmy Spencer for this one event. The UAW-GM Quality 500 will mark the first time that Fujifilm has had primary sponsorship on a NASCAR Winston Cup car. To support Target and Chip Ganassi Racing, Fujifilm will bolster its presence at Lowe's Motor Speedway with the FinePix "Picture of America(tm)" Tour truck and the famous Fujifilm blimp. Race fans can stop by the FinePix truck for a hands-on digital photography learning experience and catch a glimpse of the blimp overhead. "It's great to have a company like Fujifilm on board for our home-race in Charlotte," Spencer said. "It's a cool paint scheme and it will really stand out on the track. I'm hoping we'll drive it to Victory Lane and that all the photographers will be taking my picture with Fujifilm products." For more information on Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images of the car at my Paint Scheme Gallery.(10-9-2002)

  • Spencer says he is staying at Ganassi: during Sunday Morning's NASCAR Today show on Fox Sports Net, Jimmy Spencer was asked about his status: Steve Waid: What's the status between you and Chip Ganassi? Will you be part of the three-car team next year? Jimmy Spencer, No. 41 Dodge: I went to him about two weeks ago and asked him, "What about all these rumors?" And I had some ride offers, and these other car owners wanted to know what I was going to do. I said, "I need to know." And he says, "Man, you ain't going nowhere. I like what's going on."(FoxSports - NASCAR This Morning)(9-30-2002)

  • Energizer Scheme? the Bunny? UPDATE: hearing Jimmy Spencer will run a Energizer Battery scheme sometime this season on the #41 Dodge, will be at Kansas.(4-30-2002)
    UPDATE: Target Chip Ganassi Racing will feature a new paint scheme for the Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway on September 29. St. Louis-based Energizer will be the featured artwork on the #41 Energizer Dodge driven by Jimmy Spencer for this one event. The black and silver trim paint scheme will feature the famous Energizer Bunny® on the hood of the car.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery(9-17-2002)

  • Spencer in trouble? Kyle Petty is waiting on John Andretti's decision whether he will return to Petty Enterprises next year. It's possible Andretti, along with Bobby Hamilton and Jerry Nadeau, are both waiting to see if anything happens with Jimmy Spencer's job at Chip Ganassi Racing. Spencer, who's struggled all year, apparently needs a couple strong finishes in the next few weeks to keep his job. Because of that, several drivers seem content with waiting it out. Hamilton said he's not in any hurry to find work in 2003. He's already tendered his resignation at Andy Petree Racing, effective at the end of the year. Petree hasn't found a replacement, and he's probably waiting to see who's available if and when Ganassi makes the next move.(Augusta Chronicle)(9-16-2002)

  • Ganassi third team drivers? John Andretti and Jerry Nadeau are believed to be the leading candidates to drive a third Dodge Intrepid for Winston Cup team owner Chip Ganassi next season. Ganassi had hoped to sign Ricky Rudd, who last week announced he would drive for the Wood Brothers beginning in 2003.(Las Vegas Sun)(8-28-2002)

  • Ganassi Third Team UPDATE 3: Car owner [#40, #41] Ganassi said he's committed to fielding a third Dodge Intrepid next season alongside the two Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer currently drive, but would not confirm that Texaco-Havoline will be the sponsor. Texaco-Havoline was expected to go with Rudd to Ganassi, along with the #28, and the company has confirmed it will be in NASCAR next season. But Ganassi needs a driver for the car, which could switch to #42 to stay in succession with his other teams, and he said he'd prefer to hire someone already in stock car racing. Jerry Nadeau has said he'd love to drive for Ganassi, even offering to forfeit his pay should he not meet expectations, and John Andretti also is an option if he decides to leave Petty Enterprises. A remote option would be Jason Leffler, who was a rookie for Ganassi last season but was let go at the end of the year and now drives in NASCAR's truck series.(CNNSI/AP)(8-25-2002)
    UPDATE: been told that the team is not considering Leffler and Leffler is not considering the team.
    UPDATE 2: The sponsorship deal for next year is done between Chip Ganassi Racing and ChevronTexaco. But there has been no official word on a pilot for the expected third Ganassi team. Word is that Ganassi may make the plans for driver, sponsor and car number known at Richmond International Raceway in two weeks.(NASCAR.com)(8-26-2002)
    UPDATE 3: Chevron/Havoline has completed a deal to sponsor a third car at Chip Ganassi Racing next year. No word on the driver.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-29-2002)

  • Ganassi Third Team? Spencer back: Chip Ganassi still envisions having a three-car team next season, despite rumors a potential that a deal with Texaco/Havoline as a sponsor for the third team may be in doubt. Ganassi said Sunday that Sterling Marlin and, most likely, Jimmy Spencer would drive two of those cars, but wouldn't speculate on who might drive the third. A deal with Ricky Rudd was believed to be close a week ago. Ganassi said Rudd is "a driver who can win at any track he goes to," but wouldn't speak directly about whether Rudd would be part of his team next season. "There's no deal yet," Ganassi said.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-19-2002)

  • Spencer back with Ganassi? or is it Hamitlon? Whispers in the garage at The Glen said [Jimmy] Spencer might have made himself an uncomfortable bed with Ganassi. When asked about the buzz, Ganassi personnel were hardly supportive of the Berwick, Pa. native. Now, word from the Charlotte-area is telling teamfordracing.com that Bobby Hamilton is scheduled to have a sit down with Chip Ganassi when the tour arrives at Booklyn, MI [MIS] this weekend. Hamilton, who is being steered by Dodge executives to drive a Dodge in Winston Cup due to his ties to that company in the truck series, might be a logical piece to the very fluid Ganassi puzzle. After all, Ganassi said of Spencer last week that if he wanted to race like a kid, he should go race with kids.(Ford Racing)(8-15-2002)

  • NAPCM Pit Crew Of The Week: High performance pit stops on pit road by the #41 Target Crew took the #41 team from a 19th place starting position to a 6th place finish. Congratulations #41 Target Crew on being selected this weeks NAPCM "Pit Crew Of The Week" sponsored by Toxabsorb, 21st Century Spill Magnet and the "Official Spill Response Agent" of the National Association Of Pit Crew Members". Visit www.toxabsorb.com for Toxabsorb's performance info (on and off pit road). Check out the latest Mechanix Wear "Pit Crew of the Year" finalists and standings available only at the NAPCM website, www.napcm.com.(National Association Of Pit Crew Members PR)(8-14-2002)

  • Spencer in or out? Speculation in the garage is that Spencer won't be back in the No. 41 Dodge next season. Last weekend at Watkins Glen, Spencer was relegated to a third team car so road specialist Scott Pruett could drive the 41. Spencer failed to qualify, and Pruett finished sixth in the race. Spencer also didn't make the field for the Daytona 500.(Sporting News)(8-12-2002)

  • Spencer in for Pruett...to start? UPDATE doesn't sound like it: it was mentioned on the Sports Channel coverage of qualifying and during an interview with #'s 40/41/42 car owner Chip Ganassi, that there is a chance that Jimmy Spencer could start the race at Watkins Glen in the #41-Dodge that Scott Pruett qualified 19th but that it was unlikely. Pruett qualified the #41 Dodge instead of regular driver Spencer to help get the team higher in owners points. Spencer was in a sister #42 Dodge but was the slowest and failed to make the race as that team has no owners points and couldn't use a provisional. If Pruett would had used the #42 and Spencer the #41, both would had made the race, but with Pruett having a real shot to win the race, Ganassi opted to switch the drivers. If Spencer was to start the car to get driver points, it would only be for a few laps, but the time to get a driver in and out of a car with all the safety devices would probably cost the team a lap, plus the drivers are not similar in stature.
    UPDATE: from what was said during Happy Hour coverage on Speed Channel, Spencer will be home and at Watkins Glen, so looks like Pruett will start and run the full race.(8-10-2002)

  • Spencer-Busch and owners meet with NASCAR: #97-Kurt Busch and #41(42)-Jimmy Spencer and their respective car owners, Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi, met with NASCAR President Mike Helton and series director John Darby Friday morning to help “clear the air” between the drivers. Busch and Spencer have been involved in several on-track incidents over the past year, including last weekend at Indianapolis when Spencer hit Busch from behind, putting Busch into the wall. Busch got out of his car and waited for Spencer to come back around and made several gestures toward Spencer. NASCAR required the drivers and car owners to meet before track activity started on Friday. “The meeting went as expected. We’re here in Watkins Glen. What happened in the past is the past,” Busch said before practice started. “Things aren’t necessarily true about certain situations that didn’t come about. We ran real well in Sears Point. Now we’re here in Watkins Glen to go race our car.” Spencer offered only a terse, “That was last week’s news,” on leaving the NASCAR hauler.(ThatsRacin.com) AND "It was a real good meeting. Anytime you get people in there and hash out all your past history and the future what you have to do and what you don't have to do --- time tells. I don't even know what the meeting was for, I don't think I did anything wrong," Spencer continued. "Yet, on the other side of it you have to respect NASCAR for addressing issues. I respect Mike Helton (NASCAR president) and his staff and when you get called to the trailer, you listen to what they have to say."(NASCAR.com)(8-9-2002)

  • Spencer and Busch Together Again: #41-Jimmy Spencer and #97-Kurt Busch tested Tuesday at Lowes Motor Speedway just two days after their lastest on-track confrontation. Spencer and #26-Todd Bodine shook down cars with the so-called bigger greenhouse while #10-Johnny Benson, #32-Ricky Craven and Busch tested tires for Goodyear. Busch told PRN's Garagepass radio show...."My body is in a state of a little bit of shock with a stiff neck and some bruises on my right side, even though I hit on my left side, a lot of things ricochet around." During the wreck, Busch's right arm struck the outside of the seat which was not padded. Busch says he's real, real satisfied with the safer wall at Indy. Busch and Spencer have not spoken. "We're going about our business today" said Busch, and "The way that he (Spencer) made some remarks on TV was that it was accidental, but if it was accidental he would have stopped by today to say sorry". When asked about the Indy incident Spencer said "Everybody keeps saying.it's from Bristol but there's no truth to that at all. I've raced him (Busch).all year long, we raced hard at Richmond, Martinsville, a lot of places. I moved over (at Indianapolis) and let him go down the back straightaway and we drove down in the corner and I put my throttle to the car and I don't know what happened. I did bump him and I'm sorry for it, but yet I don't know if he lifted.....if he didn't get on the gas that quick.....I really don't know what happened and I sure didn't mean to hit him but it's a part of the sport. You go to some of these tracks....Texas, Kansas City, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta.....you do not want to get into an altercation with anybody, especially knowing that they could get hurt. I can't believe somebody is saying that I deliberately spun him out, especially at those speeds. I just don't drive that way.".(PRN's Garage Pass)(8-7-2002)

  • Ganassi says Spencer will be back, and a twist: Chip Ganassi still isn't saying much about his plans for next season, but insiders say that Ganassi has told #41-Jimmy Spencer he'll be back next season as #40-Sterling Marlin's teammate. Ricky Rudd is expected to announce shortly that he will also drive for Ganassi next season. The question now is who Rudd and Ganassi will pick for a crew chief. [The Twist]: There are reports that Ganassi is already planning yet another team, which he hopes to get Tony Stewart to drive for.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2002)

  • Meeting with NASCAR at Watkins Glen: After the race, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said #97-Kurt Busch and #41-Jimmy Spencer [who had an altercation at Indy] and their respective team owners, Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi, will have to meet with NASCAR officials next Friday before being allowed on the racetrack at Watkins Glen International.(ESPN/AP)(8-5-2002)

  • Sabates House Burns UPDATE: A $2 million home under construction in southeast Charlotte burned down early Wednesday morning, one month before a prominent local businessman was to move in. Flames broke out at the home at 7414 Baltusrol Lane around 5 a.m. The 10,000 square feet home is owned by racing team {part owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Flex Sabates #40 and #41 cars] owner Felix Sabates, who also owns a part of the Charlotte Checkers hockey team. It took nearly three dozen firefighters about 90 minutes to contain the blaze, but not before the roof caved in, according to Charlotte Fire Captain Rob Brisley. No one was injured in the fire. Sabates says this was going to be his family's " last house," so he's upset about ehf fire, but glad no one was hurt. He says he spent a year-and-a-half building the home. Around 5 a.m., a neighbor told police he woke up to the sound of a ringing doorbell. When he answered the door, he found a man, who told him that the house next door was on fire and to call 911. The neighbor never saw the guy again, and authorities have no idea who he was, or what he was doing in the neighborhood at that hour. Arson investigators are now on the scene, looking for a cause of the fire and talking with construction crews who were building the house.(nbc6.com)(7-31-2002)
    UPDATE: A fire that destroyed a $2.5 million home being built for NASCAR team co-owner Felix Sabates was intentionally set and may be connected to other unsolved arson cases, fire officials said. The home was engulfed in flames just after 5:00am/et Wednesday. The house was about 30 days from completion and unoccupied at the time. On Thursday, Charlotte Chief Fire Investigator David Lowery said accidental ignition sources had been eliminated. He said the front door of the home was open and a padlock had been removed, but declined to reveal other evidence suggesting arson. "I don't know what to think," Sabates said after hearing the fire was intentionally set. "Hopefully, it's a random thing. I don't know of anyone who would want to hurt me or my wife." The Charlotte (N.C.) Fire Investigation Task Force is investigating whether the blaze is connected to other intentionally set fires at vacant or partially built homes in the surrounding area. Lowery said investigators are looking closely at three or four unsolved fires set at unfinished homes in southeast Charlotte last year. Lowery said Wednesday's fire was started inside the 10,000-square-foot house and spread through the attic and roof before being noticed. Flames were shooting through the roof when firefighters arrived. Residents reported seeing a man who doesn't live in the neighborhood about the time of the fire, but fire officials had no description of him. Lowery said investigators are interviewing contractors, subcontractors and laborers who worked on Sabates' house and others nearby. He also said nothing outside the house indicates that it belongs to Sabates, so it is unlikely the person who set the fire knew who owned it. Sabates said he was at the house near Quail Hollow Country Club the night before the fire to look at wallpaper recently hung in his home office. He said he secured the front door with a padlock when he left. The padlock was gone when firefighters arrived, but its key was still in its hiding spot, an electrical box on the front porch. Sabates said anyone who required access to the house knew where to find the key. He and Chip Ganassi own a Winston Cup racing team that fields cars for Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer. Sabates is also part owner of the Checkers, Charlotte's minor-league hockey team. He was an original investor in the Hornets. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, police and fire officials announced a $10,000 reward offered by the N.C. Arson Awareness Council for information leading to an arrest. They said anyone who might have information should call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600. Fire officials estimate the fire caused $1.6 million in damage to the house in 7400 block of Baltusrol Lane. Sabates said he plans to rebuild - hopefully in time for the Wachovia Championship, a PGA Tour event scheduled at the country club in mid-May. "I have a perfect view," he said.(Charlotte Observer)(8-2-2002)

  • more Rudd and Ganassi: Add the Target/Ganassi team to possible landing sites for ironman Ricky Rudd, who reportedly wants $2 million a year--more than his current owner, Robert Yates, is willing to pay. Target owner Chip Ganassi, who's employing drivers Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer this season, wouldn't rule out adding a third car. It's also possible Rudd could replace Spencer, who's 23rd in the points list. "I guess that possibility does exist,'' Ganassi said when asked about hiring Rudd. "From top to bottom, everything about our organization is about performance, and that includes drivers.'' There also has been speculation Rudd might wind up at Dale Earnhardt Inc.(Chicago Sun Times)(7-24-2002)

  • Rudd to stay in the #28 next year? to Ganassi? Spencer out? Despite rumors to the contrary, Ricky Rudd could be back in Robert Yates' #28 Ford next season if a deal can be worked out with Chevron [Havoline], the sponsor, and "if I can keep my team together," Rudd says. Though crew chief Michael McSwain will not be back with the #28 next season, the rest of the crew appears solidly behind its driver. Rudd says he has received pressure from other teams to make a decision, and sources at Ganassi Racing say they thought they would hear from Rudd last week. Whether Chip Ganassi would add a third team to accommodate Rudd or replace Jimmy Spencer in the #41 is unclear.(Sporting News)(7-22-2002)

  • Third Ganassi Team? Andy Graves, team manager with Chip Ganassi Racing, said the team continues to look at forming a third team to join those of #40-Sterling Marlin and #41-Jimmy Spencer. Graves said the team has talked with potential sponsors and drivers. Graves said if the team decides to add another team, it would need to be done in about the next 45 days to prepare for next year.(Roanoke Times)(6-25-2002)

  • Ganassi Racing on the pole at Indy: Chip Ganassi Racing kicked off a busy two weeks of racing with Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver, Bruno Junqueira, winning the pole for the Indianapolis 500. Chip Ganassi has three cars entered in the Indianpolis 500 and two cars entered in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. While Junqueira, Kenny Brack and Jeff Ward work towards an Indy 500 win; #40-Sterling Marlin and #41-Jimmy Spencer will compete in The Winston Open/The Winston and the Coca-Cola 600. Junqueira was the first driver to make a qualifying attempt and his speed of 231.342 mph held up for almost 7 hours. This is the second straight pole position for the 25-year old Brazilian, who won the pole at the last CART event in Motegi, Japan. The pole for Junqueira is worth $1,000 for St. Jude Children's Hospital and Target House. So far this year, Target Chip Ganassi Racing has donated $8,525 to St. Jude Children's Hospital and Target House. Fellow Team Target pilot Jeff Ward qualified 15th with a speed of 228.577 mph, and Kenny Brack qualified his No.22 Target car in the 21st position with a 4-lap average of 227.240 mph.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-15-2002)

  • Third Ganassi Team? Team manager Andy Graves said that car owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates have talked about expanding the team to make it a three-car organization. "It's something that if a good driver becomes available and we can find money to do it, that they would be interested in doing a third team," Graves said. "We'd have to add on some people and space might be a little bit of a concern, but as far as equipment and everything, we're basically geared to handle it pretty easily." The key could be sponsorship since, based on talk in the garage, there could be a few quality drivers available for next season. Graves said a third team could provide additional resources for the team's research and development program. Such departments can be the difference between a team winning and one struggling. Sterling Marlin continues to lead the points standings after Sunday's rain-delayed Richmond race, while teammate Jimmy Spencer is 20th. Graves said that if needed, the organization could run a few races this season with a third team, using personnel from its test team.(Roanoke Times)(5-6-2002)

  • Spencer's Dad faces charges: The father and brother of NASCAR racer Jimmy Spencer [#41 target Dodge] are facing conspiracy charges for what police say was a scheme to steal truck tires for resale at their junkyard. The Luzerne County district attorney's office approved conspiracy charges Thursday against Edgar Spencer and Edgar Spencer Jr., who own and run Ed Spencer Auto Parts in Berwick. Facing the same charges are the racer's uncle and cousin, Edgar W. Spencer and Edgar W. Spencer Jr. of Spencer's Auto Parts in Hunlock Creek. Authorities said they received a complaint from officials at a Wilkes-Barre business alleging that truck tires from their plant were being sold at the Spencers' businesses. McCarthy Tire identified its tires through a code at the plant, a police report says. Edgar Senior and Junior are in Richmond this weekend to watch Jimmy race. Investigators expect all four Edgar Spencer's to surrender either Monday or Tuesday and face theft charges in court.(CNNSI/AP and Newswatch 16)(5-4-2002)

  • Energizer Scheme? the Bunny? hearing Jimmy Spencer will run a Energizer Battery scheme sometime this season on the #41 Dodge, possibly at Kansas.(4-30-2002)

  • Spencer Hauled in: Before his team was allowed to unload his hauler and begin race preparations, driver Jimmy Spencer had to meet Friday morning with Winston Cup officials regarding his participation in last Sunday’s 11-car accident at Darlington. Event director David Hoots had asked that Spencer report to the NASCAR hauler following the Darlington race, but Spencer left the track without doing so. He was asked to come to the hauler Friday morning before practice and his team was not allowed to bring their car out until the meeting was over. “They wanted to talk to him about some stuff, about what he saw in the wreck and was there any way they could have prevented such a big pile-up,” said Tony Glover, team manager for Chip Ganassi Racing. “I guess they’re getting different answers from different drivers. I don’t think they were trying to punish him for being in the wreck. I think they just wanted his idea on what happened in the wreck.”(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND While neither Spencer nor NASCAR officials would speak directly to the issues, sources close to the situation said that NASCAR was concerned about Spencer going to Stewart's car after the wreck and trying to help Stewart, while track safety crews were already there. However, Stewart, who had been knocked out, said that when he came to, the only man he recognized was Spencer and that he asked Spencer to help him. Stewart confirmed that to NASCAR. John Darby, NASCAR's Winston Cup director, insisted that Spencer isn't really in any trouble, that he just wanted to talk to Spencer about the Stewart crash.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-23-2002)

  • Brack at the Brickyard 400? Andy Graves, team manager for Ganassi Racing, says he'd like to put Kenny Brack behind the wheel of a Ganassi Dodge in August for the Brickyard 400 if the team secures the necessary funding. Graves says he was pleased with the progress Brack, who drives for Chip Ganassi's CART team, made at Daytona.(The Sporting News)(3-4-2002)

  • Spencer unhappy with TV coverage at Daytona: #41-Jimmy Spencer said he watched last week’s Daytona 500 on television after missing the field for that event. “That was the first race I’ve watched live on TV since 19-whatever it was,” he said. “I’m not proud of it and I’m not planning on watching any more.” Spencer said he sat with his wife and their two dogs, watching the race and pulling for Dodge teammate Sterling Marlin. He also had some criticism for the coverage. “I really wished the TV would have told what happened to Michael Waltrip and why did he get to the back,” Spencer said. “What happened to Ken Schrader? Why did he get back there? ...Instead of focusing on the top one or two cars, they need to explain what happened to everyone else. ...If a guy’s been in the top 10 and now he’s 18th or 20th, why is that? They should focus on that and they really don’t.” (ThatsRacin.com)(2-23-2002)

  • Another Muppet: hearing that #18-Bobby Labonte has been added to the Chicagoland Muppet paint scheme promotion along with previous rumored, #88-Jarrett, #10-Benson(Flozzy) and #41-Spencer(2-12-2002)

  • Pruett at Daytona UPDATE drive for Ganassi?: Scott Pruett, who drove for PPI Motorsports in team owner Cal Wells' rookie season [2000] on the Winston Cup circuit, and Paul Gentilozzi are teaming up for this year's Feb. 2-3 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Pruett and Gentilozzi are two of the drivers who won the 24-hour race in 1994. In addition to Pruett, Gentilozzi, a Trans-Am driver whose Rocketsports Racing team is fielding a Jaguar XKR in the race's GTS class, will be joined by Brian Simo and Michael Lauer.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read)(1-31-2002)
    UPDATE: As for what's ahead in Pruett's racing career, it will be a little of this and a little of that. "I probably will do a couple of Winston Cup road courses for (Chip) Ganassi, probably end up doing a little bit of TV stuff, maybe do a few Trans Am races, and who knows, maybe you might even see me in a few Busch races," said Pruett.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-2-2002)

  • Jarrett special Chicago paint? UPDATE Muppets?: hearing that #88-Dale Jarrett will have special schemes for the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland and the scheme will be unveiled in Feb or March 2002(1-26-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing the Dale Jarrett Chicago scheme is supposedly Muppets Kermit/Ms Piggy and that besides the #10 Fozzie Bear scheme, there will be two other Muppet schemes at Chicago with one rumored to be #41-Jimmy Spencer(1-30-2002)

  • No Brack at Daytona: from a Chip Ganassi and Jimmy Spencer conference call transcript: "I would say it's pretty much put to bed now (running Kenny Brack in Daytona 500). It's getting a little late. We've got to be at Daytona in the next 10 days or so. I would say that's unfortunately gone by the wayside. We have a relationship with Kenny for a few years, and if something happens down the road, it would be great. I know he's done some testing with us, and he certainly enjoyed it and gave some good feedback. I know the guys were pumped up about working with him. It's a work in progress I'd say, but nothing is going to happen in the short term." Chip Ganassi, onwer of the #40 and #41 Cup cars, Brack tested the #42 Dodge at Daytona in the hopes of getting a sponsor to run the race(1-30-2002)

  • Another Mears in NASCAR: Roger Mears, former off road racing champion and brother of four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears, has gone to work for Ganassi as operations director for Ganassi's stock car team.(Daytona Beach News Journal), Roger's son Casey is driving in the BGN for Welliver-Jesell Motorsports as driver of the #66 Phillips Dodge(1-18-2002)

  • No Brack at the Daytona 500? Kenny Brack’s testing session this week at Daytona is apparently as close as the CART star is going to get to running in this year’s Daytona 500 according to team owner Chip Ganassi. Ganassi said that it appears that the funding will not allow him to run in the Feb. 17 race. "I think the point there is that the business is tightening up and we had high hopes of finding the money for that but it doesn’t seem to be coming," Ganassi said Thursday. "I don’t foresee that happening and it’s too bad because we thought Daytona was a place where he might do well." The team’s managing director Mike Hull said Thursday that all hope had not been lost for the Brack Daytona effort, but that it indeed all depends on the financing that Ganassi said is unlikely to appear(SpeedChannel/SpeedVision)(1-17-2002)

  • Brack in NASCAR? UPDATE 4 will be #42: Kenny Brack, of CART, in the field at Indy for IROC's season finale, has been mentioned for a Winston Cup ride, possibly with A. J. Foyt. With the CART series in the middle of a sharp decline, the 1999 Indy 500 winner and 1998 Indy Racing League champ, at 35, is looking at his options. "Sure, I'm interested in NASCAR in the future, but right now I'm focused on the CART championship," Brack said. That tour's points leader won at Chicago Sunday, so he's clearly on top of his game. "Through the IROC series, I've made several friends in the NASCAR circuit, and if there would be an opportunity for me to go NASCAR, I would look very seriously at it. NASCAR in the future, yes, but not next year." NASCAR intrigues Brack: "I am very humble for the fact that it is a different series with different cars and everything, and there are a lot of good drivers in NASCAR," he said. "So if I would go to NASCAR, I know it wouldn't be easy. I never underestimated any series I've gone into. Yes, if you practice enough you can get good, but there will be 50 drivers there and they're all good. So you're not going to come in and do anything unless you've done your homework. And even then it's difficult(in part from a column in the Winston Salem Journal). NOTE: Robin Miller also metioned Brack to Foyt's #14 Conseco car in the future a few nights ago on ESPN2's RPM 2Night(8-4-2001)
    UPDATE: on Monday's RPM 2 Night show (ESPN2 at 7:00pm), Dr Jerry Punch said not to be surprised to see Brack run at the 2002 Daytona 500(8-7-2001)
    UPDATE 2: ESPN.com has learned that CART driver, Kenny Brack has already signed with Chip Ganassi for the 2002 CART season and Indianapolis 500. Meanwhile, neither Brack nor Ganassi would confirm or deny a deal on Monday. Besides the money and Indy, another enticement for Brack to go to Ganassi could be NASCAR. Chip fields a two-car Winston Cup team and Kenny has declared he definitely wants to try stock cars in a couple years.(ESPN)(8-14-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Kenny Brack is going to get a full-blown look at life in NASCAR in two weeks when he tests Target/Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dodge Intrepid at the NASCAR Open Test session at Daytona International Raceway January 14-16. "We're trying to find the money to do Daytona with Brack," Ganassi told Autosport magazine. "He'll do the test just to be ready. It's also possible he'll run later in the year."(SpeedVision)(1-3-2002)
    UPDATE 4: Kenny Brack will test a NASCAR Winston Cup car for the first time next week at Daytona, but Chip Ganassi Racing’s CART Indy car driver will not make his first Cup start unless sponsorship is secured. Ganassi has said he would like to run Brack in additional stock car races this season, pending sponsorship. Brack will test a #42 Dodge that has been built independent of the fleet prepared for regular Ganassi stock car drivers #40-Sterling Marlin and #41-Jimmy Spencer. Matt Chambers, Jason Leffler’s crew chief in 2001 that heads Ganassi’s test program, will be the crew chief for Brack’s effort.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(1-7-2002)

    2001 News

  • Spencer in CART? No, just a bet and a test: NASCAR Winston Cup star Jimmy Spencer tested Chip Ganassi's Toyota-powered Lola Champ Car Tuesday at Sebring International Raceway. Seems Ganassi and Spencer, who has signed to drive for Ganassi's Target-sponsored [#41] Dodge team in the 2002 Winston Cup title chase, were talking recently when the subject worked its way around to Champ Cars and wound up with a friendly wager between the two. Spencer did three laps around the Sebring testing circuit, never getting any further up the gear ratios than third. Team manager Mike Hull explained that, since the Cup team was doing a commercial shoot on the airport runways nearby and the Champ Car team was on hand to try out its 2002 Lola, things just happened to come together nicely.(SpeedVision). Ganassi's CART driver, Kenny Brack is expected to attempt to run the 2002 Daytona 500 in a 3rd Ganassi Dodge(12-19-2001)

  • Spencer, Ganassi and Target? UPDATE 2 #41? YEP Official: Chip Ganassi will announce this weekend (Saturday) that Jimmy Spencer will drive the #01 Dodge next season with Target as the primary sponsor.(Sporting News)(11-12-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the number of the #01 Dodge will change to #41? The #41 Target Dodge(11-13-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing from readers that the Friday edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution has a Target ad with a picture of the #41 Target Dodge in it(11-16-2001)
    UPDATE 3: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced that Target Stores will serve as primary sponsor of the #41 Dodge Intrepid R/T in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and NASCAR veteran Jimmy Spencer will drive the Target car. Target Stores and Jimmy Spencer are not the only newcomers to the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team. Doug Randolph will take over crew chief duties for the #41 Target Dodge in 2002. Former crew chief Matt Chambers will move into a new role overseeing the team's testing program.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Site), see an image of the car on the Paint Schemes Gallery(11-16-2001)

  • #93 Crew Chief on the move? UPDATE: hearing #93 Bill Davis Racing crew chief, Doug Randolph will be moving over to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2002, supposedly as the crew chief of the #01 car (Jimmy Spencer?)(10-21-2001)
    UPDATE: Beginning with this weekend's race at Rockingham, Philippe Lopez has joined the #93 Amoco/Siemens Dodge team as Crew Chief for driver Dave Blaney. Lopez, 38, comes to the Bill Davis Racing Team after serving in the same capacity for several NASCAR Winston Cup Series standouts, including three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, Steve Park and Ward Burton. Lopez and new BDR driver for 2002, Hut Stricklin will again join forces in the 2002 Cup season as Crew Chief and driver of the Hill Brothers Coffee Dodge at BDR. Stricklin will also join Burton and Blaney in a third BDR Dodge Intrepid for the Winston Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in two weeks. In addition to Lopez, Jimmy Penland will take over as Car Chief for the #93 Dodge, replacing Car Chief Tom Hubert who assumed the job on an interim basis in mid-summer. Penland moves to the #93 team from a similar role with Crew Chief Tommy Baldwin, Jr. with the #22 Caterpillar Dodge team at BDR. Doug Randolph, Crew Chief for the #93 team since July, 2000, has left BDR for another position in the sport. Lopez joins the #93 Amoco/Siemens team on a weekend when they return to a track (NCS) where Blaney performed well during in the spring, qualifying 16th and finishing ninth. The team will also feature its green-and-yellow BP car design at Rockingham for the fourth and final time during the 2001 season.(BDR PR)(11-1-2001)

  • Leffler to the CTS: Ultra Motorsports [#7 Cup, #1 and #2 in the CTS] owner Jim Smith may be ready to introduce Jason Leffler as the driver of his #2 Dodge in 2002. Leffler, a rookie with Chip Ganassi Racing this season, is losing his ride in favor of veteran Jimmy Spencer and has been told he can search for another team. Smith said the deal is virtually done, but won't be announced until the contracts are signed.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read)(11-1-2001)

  • Leffler to the CTS? Reports have Jason Leffler (current driver of the #01 Cingular Dodge and rumored to be out of that ride for Jimmy Spencer) taking over the #2 Dodge Truck in the CTS next year. The #2 CTS team is owned by Jim Smith [who also owns the #7 Ford -- to be Dodge in 2002] and he is losing Scott Riggs to the #10 BGN Ford of ppc Racing(NASCAR.com Buzz)(10-22-2001)

  • Leffler in 2002? #01-Jason Leffler could be out at Chip Ganassi's unless Ganassi can land yet another sponsor for that team. Jimmy Spencer is expected to join Ganassi next season with an unnamed sponsor, and it appears unlikely Ganassi would run a three-car deal. However, Ganassi is expected to field a Daytona 500 car for Kenny Brack(Ganassi's CART driver in 2002)(Winston Salem Journal)(10-14-2001)

  • Spencer/Leffler UPDATE: during an interview on TNT's Cup Qaulifying coverage, Jimmy Spencer said his new deal that starts in 2002 is for three-years with his new team (supposedly Chip Ganassi Racing) but he won't say. Plus from a That's Racin/AP story: "Jason Leffler then all but confirmed it when he said team owner Chip Ganassi let him go earlier this week. "I was told I was free to start looking for a new ride," said Leffler, who won his fist career pole last week at Kansas Speedway. "It came as a little bit of a surprise because I have two years left on my contract, but I'll be OK." And Spencer said in that his new team was still trying to secure a sponsor for next season(10-4-2001)
    UPDATE: Car owner [#01 and #40] Chip Ganassi is disputing driver Jason Leffler's account that he told the rookie he was free to look for another job. Ganassi confirmed the two talked this week over concerns Leffler had with his security. The #01 Dodge is losing its sponsorship at the end of the season. "I am continuing to look for a sponsor for that car and for Jason," Ganassi said. "He came to me and asked about the situation and that's what I told him. He then asked if he should look for something else and I told him if he found something, I wouldn't stand in his way." Leffler apparently interpreted it as he was being let go from Ganassi despite having another two years left on his contract. That fueled the speculation that Jimmy Spencer has left his Haas-Carter Motorsports team to drive for Ganassi. Ganassi declined to address that, saying only he would announce his drivers for next year at the end of the season. Another scenario could be that Ganassi will field a Grand National car next season and put Leffler in that. Ganassi said that wasn't imminent(That's Racin'/AP)(10-7-2001)

  • Spencer on the Move? UPDATE 2 Spencer leaving: Dodge is making a run at Jimmy Spencer, who could be moving from Travis Carter's #26 team to Chip Ganassi's next season, according to sources close to the situation(Winston Salem Journal)(9-29-2001)
    UPDATE: Car owner [#26 and #66] Travis Carter says Jimmy Spencer has told him he won't be back next season, after five years together, a move that caught Carter by surprise and that has him scrambling for a new driver as teammate with Todd Bodine next season. "Jimmy just told me he's going to drive for somebody else next season," Carter said yesterday. "But I intend on having two teams again next season. So now I need a new driver." Spencer's apparently will move to Chip Ganassi's operation [#01 and #40] as teammate to Sterling Marlin(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND Jimmy Spencer says this is his last season in the #26 Ford. Those moves will launch discussions about other drivers -- Joe Nemechek, Jeremy Mayfield, Kevin Lepage and Hut Stricklin among them(Sporting News)(10-1-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Although there is no official word, Spencer has been rumored to be interested in either the #12 Ford currently driven by Jeremy Mayfield or the #33 Chevrolet piloted by Joe Nemechek(NASCAR.com)(10-1-2001)

  • Leffler Subs for Buckshot: #01-Jason Lefflerm who fell out of the Southern 500 early, was able to gain experience and get some track time at Darlington Raceway in the #44 Dodge as he took over for Buckshot Jones on lap 197 and finished the event bringing the team a 35th place finish. Jones has the flu and was feeling bad so they asked Leffler to take over driving the 44 car because Leffler is about the same size as Jones(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-3-2001)

  • Ganassi Says Leffler safe, 3rd team? no BGN: #01 and #40 Dodge owner, Chip Ganassi said rookie Jason Leffler's Cup future with the operation is secure, but didn't rule out adding a third team. And if he does add a team, what about the rumors Tony Stewart might be the driver? Stewart drove for Ganassi in the Indianapolis 500 this year, immediately fueling speculation he might leave Joe Gibbs Racing, with whom he has a long-term contract, for Ganassi. Ganassi happily played along when asked what he thinks of Stewart. "He's a good driver," he said. Asked if Stewart could drive "this or that" for Ganassi next year, the owner simply said, "maybe" with a grin, then added, "probably just a little bit of this and mostly that.'" Asked if "this" meant Winston Cup and "that" meant CART, Ganassi replied: "I didn't say that." For now, Ganassi dismisses reports he'll start a third team as "just a lot of talk right now." The owner has yet to announce a new sponsor to replace Cingular Wireless on Leffler's car, but doesn't seem concerned. Target, which backs his CART team, sponsored Marlin at Bristol, but Ganassi says there's only a slim chance the company would be on Leffler's car next year. Ganassi said he would not start a Busch Series team in 2002, and said it's possible open-wheel standout Kenny Brack could run a Winston Cup race or two next year. Brack is joining Ganassi's CART program and has said NASCAR is an avenue he wants to try at some point in his career.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read online)(8-30-2001)

  • Sad News: (#01 Dodge driver) Jason Leffler's father passed away of a heart attack on Aug. 24th, Condolences to family and friends - Additional Info: Charles Leffler, father of NASCAR Winston Cup rookie Jason Leffler, died from a heart attack on Friday, Aug. 24, 2001. The funeral was held at Fitz Henry Funeral Home, 44-635 San Rafael; Palm Desert, Calif. 92260; (760) 776-8866 on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2001 at 1:00pm/et. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame at P.O. Box 234; Marshall, Indiana 47859. Jason Leffler, driver of the #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will compete in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 this weekend at Darlington Raceway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-30-2001)

  • Leffler Expects to be back in the #01: #01 Driver Jason Leffler said Aug. 18 that he has every intention of being behind the wheel of his team's No. 01 Dodge in 2002 and that his car owner hasn't say anything to indicate that that might not be the case(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to read)(8-23-2001)

  • Ganassi to BGN? Stewart to the #01? Wally in the #01? Target? UPDATE: Dodge sources say Ganassi Racing visited Kentucky Speedway and tested the new Intrepids that will be driven in the Busch Series next year. Stedman Marlin, who finished 19th in the Busch race at Michigan, reportedly will drive one of the cars and share the Coors Light sponsorship on father Sterling's Cup car. AND Another Ganassi rumor: Jason Leffler will join Stedman Marlin in the Busch ranks, and Tony Stewart will move into the #01 Cup car in 2002 with sponsorship from Target(Sporting News)(8-20-2001) BUT back in June it was reported: Tony Stewart held a team meeting last week to tell his crew he had no plans to leave for the Chip Ganassi operation(Winston Salem Journal) and Stewart is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing thru 2004(6-9-2001) and sources say he is committed to Home Depot and the Joe Gibbs operation through 2004
    AND hearing a BGN team is set up to give Leffler more seat time in 2002. Target comes in and sponsors the BGN team AND a Winston Cup team. Driver? Wally Dallenbach. Why Dallenbach? Two reasons. One, the NBC hook. Target likes what they have seen. Two - Dallenbach runs the full Winston Cup season AND a double on Memorial Day Weekend: The Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600(8-20-2001)
    UPDATE: Rumor has it that Target might be wanting to get into Winston Cup and Busch Series racing with Chip Ganassi. The word around the garage is that the company might tap Wally Dallenbach to run the full season, along with the Indy 500 in May. Jason Leffler would get some seat time in a Target-sponsored Busch car. Leffler raced full-time in 2000 before jumping into Winston Cup in 2001. Ganassi lost Cingular Wireless as sponsor of the No. 01 Dodge last week to Richard Childress Racing, opening the door for a possible Target entry. Target has been the longtime backer of Ganassi’s CART powerhouse. Ganassi has ran the Indy 500 in each of the last two seasons with Target on those cars as well.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(8-20-2001)

  • Cingular Sponsorship moving? UPDATE 6 to RCR #31? Gordon in - 3yr deal?: At least four teams are vying for a major sponsorship with Bell Atlantic/Cingular Wireless (Actually it is BellSouth not Bell Atlantic which is Verizon), according to NASCAR sources. The company currently sponsors Jason Leffler and car owner Chip Ganassi. Among the car owners expected to be talking with the company are Richard Childress and Bill Davis. Childress and Mike Skinner are assessing their situation, Childress says, but an announcement could still be a month away, according to Childress. Childress has made it official that Jeff Green will drive an AOL-sponsored car for him next season, ending months of debate(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the #33 Andy Petree Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek and currently with sponsorship by Oakwood Homes (who will leave at the end of 2001) will get the Cingular sponsorship in 2001. Cingular currently sponsors the #01 Dodge driven by Jason Leffler(8-8-2001)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing Cingular could end up on the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy's that Jimmie Johnson will drive in 2002(8-9-2001)
    UPDATE 3: The battle for the Cingular Wireless sponsorship is down to Bill Davis vs. Richard Childress, according to sources close to the situation. That would leave Chip Ganassi and Andy Petree still searching for sponsors for next season(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2001)
    UPDATE 4: hearing there was a teleconference today in which it was announced that Cingular Wireless will sponsor a RCR car next season, didn't say which car, but hearing it'll could take the place of Lowes on the #31 and Lowes could go to go to the Hendrick Motorsports #48 and Jimmie Johnson? Chip Ganassi said on FSN's Totally NASCAR that the Target car at Bristol is a one race deal only and he has two sponsors Cingular and Coors
    AND from a Cingular Newsletter - Cingular Wireless will take the green flag in the 2002 Winston Cup Series with Richard Childress Racing. Cingular, the country's second largest wireless company, will be a primary sponsor of Richard Childress Racing, and will compete nationally in the 36-race series in the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. Cingular and RCR have agreed to a four-year sponsorship. The driver and the number of the Cingular Wireless/Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet will be announced in the near future.(8-15-2001)
    AND "We hope to be ready to give everybody all of the information about our teams and drivers at the first of next week," Childress said (That's Racin')(8-16-2001)
    UPDATE 5: Richard Childress said that he wouldn't make the announcement or talk about it until the first part of the week, but it has been learned that the Cingular Wireless Phone Company will be the primary sponsor on the #31 Chevy currently sponsored by Lowe's. Still no word on who will drive the car. #31 driver, Mike Skinner, still has a year left on his contract with RCR(Insider Racing News) AND hearing Robby Gordon has signed a 3-year deal with RCR to drive the #31 Cingular Chevy(8-17-2001)
    UPDATE 6: It appears that Robby Gordon will be replacing Mike Skinner on Richard Childress's second team next season, with what is reported to be a three-year contract. Childress has told Mike Skinner he is free to look for another ride.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-20-2001)

  • Cingular Sponsorship moving? UPDATE 3 the #33? #93? RCR? At least four teams are vying for a major sponsorship with Bell Atlantic/Cingular Wireless (Actually it is BellSouth not Bell Atlantic which is Verizon), according to NASCAR sources. The company currently sponsors Jason Leffler and car owner Chip Ganassi. Among the car owners expected to be talking with the company are Richard Childress and Bill Davis. Childress and Mike Skinner are assessing their situation, Childress says, but an announcement could still be a month away, according to Childress. Childress has made it official that Jeff Green will drive an AOL-sponsored car for him next season, ending months of debate(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the #33 Andy Petree Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek and currently with sponsorship by Oakwood Homes (who will leave at the end of 2001) will get the Cingular sponsorship in 2001. Cingular currently sponsors the #01 Dodge driven by Jason Leffler(8-8-2001)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing Cingular could end up on the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy's that Jimmie Johnson will drive in 2002(8-9-2001)
    UPDATE 3: The battle for the Cingular Wireless sponsorship is down to Bill Davis vs. Richard Childress, according to sources close to the situation. That would leave Chip Ganassi and Andy Petree still searching for sponsors for next season(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2001)

  • Cingular Sponsorship moving? UPDATE to the #33? At least four teams are vying for a major sponsorship with Bell Atlantic/Cingular Wireless (Actually it is BellSouth not Bell Atlantic which is Verizon), according to NASCAR sources. The company currently sponsors Jason Leffler and car owner Chip Ganassi. Among the car owners expected to be talking with the company are Richard Childress and Bill Davis. Childress and Mike Skinner are assessing their situation, Childress says, but an announcement could still be a month away, according to Childress. Childress has made it official that Jeff Green will drive an AOL-sponsored car for him next season, ending months of debate(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing the #33 Andy Petree Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek and currently with sponsorship by Oakwood Homes (who will leave at the end of 2001) will get the Cingular sponsorship in 2001. Cingular currently sponsors the #01 Dodge driven by Jason Leffler(8-8-2001)

  • Pruett to run at Watkins Glen UPDATE 2: on ESPN2's RPM 2Night, Scott Pruett announced he would drive a Cingular Dodge for Chip Ganassi. No word on if he'll drive the #01 Cingular Dodge that Jason Leffler drivers like Dorsey Schroader did at Sears Point with Leffler attempting (and missing) the race in the #04 Cingular Dodge(7-23-2001)
    UPDATE: hearing Leffler will sit out the Watkins Glen race and that Pruett will run the #01 Dodge(7-25-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Road racing driver for hire Scott Pruett will be driving the Chip Ganassi Racing-owned #01 Dodge at Watkins Glen for the Winston Cup event on Aug. 9. Jason Leffler, the regular driver, will be stepping aside for the event. Leffler also sat out last month's Winston Cup road course event at Sears Point Raceway when Dorcey Shroeder drove his car(NASCAR.com) and Leffler missed the race running the #04 Dodge(7-27-2001)

  • Third Ganassi Team? If Chip Ganassi finds proper backing, he might have a third Cup team in the works for next season(Sporting News)(7-23-2001)

  • Cingular and the Special Olympics: This weekend at the Daytona International Speedway, Cingular Wireless and Special Olympics have teamed up to offer a Special Olympics athlete a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the race track. Cingular is racing towards its four-year goal of raising $40 million for Special Olympics and to showcase its commitment, Cingular’s #01 Dodge Intrepid race car, driven by Jason Leffler, will display a Special Olympics paint scheme for all Winston Cup races during June and July. In addition, through it’s “Winning for Special Olympics” pledge for the Pepsi 400, Cingular will donate $100 to Special Olympics for each lap Leffler completes, $1,000 to Special Olympics for each lap Leffler leads, and if Leffler wins, Cingular will donate $100,000 to Special Olympics. To help raise awareness for Cingular’s ongoing $40 million initiative, Special Olympics athletes have had the opportunity to participate first-hand in America’s fastest growing sport during the past three race weekends. They will continue to do so at Daytona and at the July 15th race in Chicago, IL. In addition to spending the weekend at the track, meeting the athletes and learning about the sport, these Special Olympics athletes have performed such track related tasks as honorary starter, honorary team member, riding in the pace car and honorary pit crew member. At the Daytona International Speedway this Saturday, Victor Stewart, one of 12 Sargent Shriver Global Messengers for Special Olympics, Inc., will get an up close and personal orientation to NASCAR and also serve as an honorary pit crew member at the Pepsi 400. As a Global Messenger, Stewart has the opportunity to tell the world about Special Olympics. Cingular is also selling limited edition, souvenir, die-cast versions of the #01 race car to commemorate its unique paint scheme and raise money for Special Olympics. A percentage of the proceeds generated from the die-cast car sales go directly to Special Olympics. Cars are available in Cingular Wireless retail outlets and at many Special Olympics State Summer Games. In addition, Cingular Wireless has launched a 60-day promotional drive to collect donations on behalf of Special Olympics. During the promotional months of June and July, consumers who donate $20 to Special Olympics and sign up for service at a Cingular Wireless retail store are eligible for: · An exclusive $35 rate plan offer, An Internet-ready Ericsson handset,· A co-branded Cingular/Blockbuster gift certificate for five free movie rentals good at participating Blockbuster stores. Donations raised by Cingular will support year-round training and competitions for Special Olympics athletes, who participate in the activities free of charge as well as help send Special Olympics Team USA athletes to the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland.(Ketchum PR)(7-3-2001)

  • 2nd Cingular Car? UPDATE: hearing there will be a third car for Ganassi Racing at Sears Point with road course driver Dorsey Schroeder driving a 2nd Cingular Dodge
    UPDATE: Schroeder will drive the #01 Cingular Dodge usually wheeled by Jason Leffler, while Leffler will drive a #04 Dodge from the Ganassi stable(NASCAR.com Buzz)(6-19-2001)

  • Ganassi Hire: Team owner Chip Ganassi announced that Bruce J. Mosley has joined Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates as vice president. Mosley will be responsible for overseeing all sales, marketing and communication functions for Chip Ganassi Racing’s two NASCAR Winston Cup Series entries - the #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge R/T driven by Jason Leffler and the #40 Coors Light Dodge R/T driven by Sterling Marlin. For the past five years, Mosley has worked as a director of corporate partnerships for the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in Daytona Beach, Fla. He was responsible for event, series and network marketing for ISC’s 13 motorsports facilities, MRN Radio and the Grand American Road Racing Association. Prior to joining ISC, Mosley worked for Campbell Soup Company as a territory manager in North Florida.(Ganassi PR)(6-11-2001)

  • #01 Special Scheme UPDATE: hearing that Jason Leffler will be running a Special Olympics logo in June on the #01 Cingular Dodge. Cingular is a Special Olympics sponsor and it is part of this years promo(4-24-2001)
    UPDATE: see an image of the 'layout' of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery(5-23-2001)
    UPDATE 2: Cingular Wireless is racing toward its four-year goal of raising $40 million for Special Olympics by painting its #01 NASCAR Winston Cup race car with a Special Olympics paint scheme, and offering customers the opportunity to support the organization through promotional offers. Cingular, an Official Partner of Special Olympics USA and Official Sponsor of Special Olympics Team USA, is in the second year of its support for Special Olympics. To showcase its commitment to Special Olympics, Cingular’s #01 Dodge Intrepid R/T will display a Special Olympics logo for the months of June and July. The new paint scheme will be debuted at the MBNA Platinum 400 at the Dover Downs International Speedway on June 3. Cingular also will sell limited edition, souvenir, die-cast versions of the #01 racecar to commemorate this unique paint scheme and raise money for Special Olympics(www.specialolympics.org). A percentage of the proceeds generated from the die-cast car sales will go directly to Special Olympics. Cars will be available in Cingular Wireless retail outlets as well as at many Special Olympics Summer Games being held across the United States. In addition, Cingular Wireless is launching a 60-day promotional drive to collect donations on behalf of Special Olympics. During the promotional months of June and July, consumers who donate $20 to Special Olympics and sign up for service at a Cingular Wireless retail store are eligible for: * An exclusive $35 rate plan offer * An Internet-ready Ericsson handset * A co-branded Cingular/BLOCKBUSTER gift certificate for five free movie rentals good at participating BLOCKBUSTER stores. Donations raised by Cingular will support year-round training and competitions for Special Olympic athletes, who participate in the activities free of charge as well as help send Special Olympics Team USA athletes to the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Ireland. Through last year’s “Be a Hero” promotion, Cingular customers successfully raised $8.9 million for Special Olympics.(Cingular PR), see an image of the 'real' car on my Paint Schemes Gallery(5-30-2001)

  • Graves to Sub: Andy Graves, team manager at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will replace suspended crew chief Kevin Cram on the #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T after the running of the Daytona 500. Kram is scheduled to begin a four-race suspension, and will remain on seasonlong probation, after NASCAR officials found an illegal substance in the car's fuel cell last week. Cram, who also has been fined $10,000, will resume his duties at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 25(Star Telegram)(2-17-2001)

  • #01 tampered with? Felix Sabates, minority owner in Chip Ganassi Racing's #01 and #40 Dodges, said he has a "gut feeling" that someone outside the team put something in the fuel tank of driver Jason Leffer. On Monday, NASCAR officials disallowed Leffler's first round qualifying speed from Saturday, suspended crew chief Kevin Cram and fined him $10,000 for use of altered fuel. "I believe (the fuel additive) came from some other team," Sabates said. "I have a pretty strong suspicision, but you can't accuse somebody without proof. I don't have proof, but my Cuban belly button is telling me that something is there that ain't kosher."(That's Racin')(2-13-2001)

  • Leffler also DNQ'd? UPDATE yes: hearing from sources at the track that #01-Jason Leffler's 1st round speed will be thrown out as there is some irregularity found in the cars fuel system possibly an additive in the fuel
    UPDATE: Two days after the fact, NASCAR announced Monday that #01-Jason Leffler has been disqualified for use of questionable fuel in Saturday's first round of Daytona 500 time trials. Analysis of a routine fuel sample revealed what NASCAR called "discrepancies", and Leffler's time was disallowed. Leffler had been 36th-fastest in the opening session. Immediately after qualifying, NASCAR disallowed the time of Jerry Nadeau, who had been second-fastest, for failure to meet minimum height requirements. Parts from the car's rear suspension were confiscated, and penalties are expected. Penalties had not been announced in either case as of midday, although NASCAR said it intends to announce its actions Monday. Last year, questionable fuel was found in the car of Jeremy Mayfield. The result was a $50,000 fine, subtraction of 151 championship points, and a four-week suspension for crew chief Peter Sospenzo. Leffler, like Nadeau, will be shown with no time and will start his 125-mile qualifying race Thursday at the end of the field. He would have started 18th in the second 125(SpeedVision)(2-12-2001)

  • Leffler in the Indy 500? Jason Leffler doubts he will run the Indy 500 this year as he wants to concentrate on his new #01 Ganassi Racing Winston Cup ride - per TNN's Raceday(1-21-2001)

  • #01 Test Driver UPDATE: hearing Greg Sacks will serve as the test driver for the #01 Ganassi Racing Dodge at Daytona testing on Jan 16-17th. No word on if he is a candidate for the 2001 #01 ride(1-15-2001)
    UPDATE: Greg Sacks will not test the #01 car since Leffler was released in time to test the car and of course, Leffler was named as the driver of the #01 for the next four year(1-16-2001)

  • #01 Driver...for 2002 UPDATE 7 Leffler is it: BGN driver Jason Leffler confirmed Friday night that he will take over the driving duties of the #01 Dodges for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Winston Cup series beginning with the 2002 season. Leffler has agreed to a three-year deal, but will complete the 2001 BGN series schedule with Joe Gibbs Racing. Ganassi is still looking for a driver for the #01 for the 2001 season. Leffler said he could run a few Winston Cup races this season with Ganassi, but has not worked out the details(That's Racin')(1-5-2001)
    UPDATE: Leffler reportedly had a three-year contract with the Gibbs team, with 2000 being the first of the three. Leffler told the Charlotte Observer Friday night that he intends to drive Gibbs' MBNA car in Busch this season. As for the 01 deal with Ganassi, Leffler told the paper, "It's not official yet, but it's what we're planning." Details are not clear. It is not yet known whether Leffler would drive the 01, per se, in 2002, or whether Ganassi would set up a third team to accommodate him. Another possibility is that Ganassi would hire a driver such as Kevin Lepage, then move that driver to a third team in 2002(SpeedVision)(1-6-2001)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Leffler does not have a 3 year contract with Gibbs (as reported) but that Leffler's contract is up at the end of 2001 and is free to do pursue other options(1-8-2001)
    UPDATE 3: hearing that Leffler went to his Busch shop on Monday and was asked to leave until after owner Joe Gibbs holds a meeting with his BGN sponsor(MBNA) on Tuesday(1-9-2001)
    UPDATE 4: It appears likely that Ganassi is going to name someone Friday to drive the #01 - Lepage or Leffler(1-11-2001)
    UPDATE 5: This season's driver of that car could be named as soon as Friday morning when Ganassi is scheduled for a breakfast meeting on the media tour's final day, which will be devoted to Dodge teams owned by Ganassi, Mark Melling, Petty Enterprises and Ray Evernham. Jason Lefler has signed to drive the #01 for three years beginning with 2002. Lefler was scheduled to drive an MBNA-sponsored BGN car for Joe Gibbs Racing this year, but those plans are in limbo after his decision to sign with Ganassi. Porter Cable has withdrawn as primary sponsor of a second Gibbs BGN team for driver Jeff Purvis. That leaves Gibbs with only the MBNA sponsorship next year, giving rise to suspicions that Purvis could be moved into that car in Lefler's place(That's Racin')(1-12-2001)
    UPDATE 6: Although owner Chip Ganassi passed up an opportunity to make the announcement on Friday, Jason Leffler will be the driver of his #01 Dodge Intrepid this year. Leffler began negotiating with Ganassi over a week ago, and reportedly his Busch car owner, Joe Gibbs, found out Leffler was leaving by reading a newspaper account. It now appears as though Gibbs will cut back from two to one BGN teams, with Jeff Purvis moving into the #18 car being vacated by Leffler. Leffler was not present when Ganassi held a media briefing on Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s media tour. Ganassi’s other driver, Sterling Marlin, was on hand to answer questions(Gaston Gazette) and a story at That's Racin': Ganassi mum amid Leffler's turmoil AND Have heard that Leffler could remain on as a test/back up driver with Gibbs for 2001. Have been told if Lefler is released, several drivers are lining up for the opportunity to drive the #18. Joe Gibbs Racing has also confirmed that they will be running both BGN cars in 2001. The team is seeking sponsorship for a sponsor for the #4 car. Have heard that the incentives for the prospective sponsor could include ties to the championship Cup team and truck program(1-13-2001)
    UPDATE 7: Jason Leffler, a three-time USAC Midget Champion, USAC Silver Crown Champion and former NASCAR Busch Series driver, signed a four-year contract today with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and will immediately take over driving duties of the #01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Leffler, 24, ran in 31 Busch Series events last year in the #18 car with Joe Gibbs Racing(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(1-15-2001)

  • #01 Sponsor: Cingular WirelessSM today announced that we will become the primary sponsor of the #01 car with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Cingular have not named a driver for the #01 car yet, but plan to make an announcement within two weeks. With BellSouth's wireless business now part of Cingular Wireless it was decided to transition the racing program to Cingular(in part from a BellSouth Internal Memo)(1-9-2001)

  • #01 Driver? UPDATE for 2001: now hearing the driver for the #01 BellSouth Dodge may be Kevin Lepage, former driver of the #16 Roush Racing Ford(12-30-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing it'll be Lepage in the #01 BellSouth Dodge (at least for 2001). But I hear he wasn't at Las Vegas testing with the other Dodges over the weekend(1-8-2001)

    2000 News

  • #01 Driver Close? The fact that Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (formerly Team SABCO) has no driver for its #01 BellSouth Dodge team doesn't seem to bother team manager Andy Graves all that much. Graves reported that Ganassi has a candidate for the #01 and was closing in on closing the deal. Even though Ganassi Racing has charted a course, Graves would realize a great comfort level knowing the #01 seat was filled. Many expect Ganassi to make an announcement during the annual Winston Cup media tour which begins on Jan. 8. (Speed Magazine)(12-24-2000)

  • A Mears in Cup? #01? UPDATE 2: hearing Casey Mears, Indy 500 Legend Rick Mear's nephew, tested for the #01 BellSouth/Chip Ganassi Racing team recently at Lakeland, FL and is under consideration for that ride. Mears ran in the CART finale this past season
    UPDATE: hearing the Mears test was for a limited ARCA ride in 2000 with Ganassi(12-19-2000)
    UPDATE 2: actually hearing that Mears has not tested yet but will on Thursday and Friday, Dec 21st and 22nd(12-20-2000)

  • #01 and #7 UPDATE 3: hearing Mike Wallace will accept the #1(could change to #5) CTS ride from Ultra Motorsports and that Philips may move from the #7 team and go with Michael Waltrip on either the #15 NAPA Cup team or Waltrip's own #99 Aarons Rent BGN team. From what I hear, Ultra Motorsports is now looking for another co-sponsor with Nations Rent and may hold off on a driver announcement for a few more weeks
    UPDATE but: am now hearing Rick Mast will be driving the #7 Ford in 2001, no word on the sponsor sitiuation(12-4-2000)
    UPDATE 2: There's still no definitive word - or any substantive trend, for that matter - to report about the open drivers' seats in the #7 Fords and the #01 Dodges for the 2001 season. Rick Mast's name has been rumored for both rides, but apparently, sponsor BellSouth wants a younger driver. It now appears that if Mast is to have a ride for next season it would be in the #7 Fords owned by Jimmy Smith. Mike Wallace's name is also in the discussions about that ride but will probably be back in one of Smith's trucks. Kevin Lepage, ousted from the #16 Fords after the 2000 season, also could be a player in either opening, but it appears that neither seat will be filled until next week at the earliest(That's Racin')(12-6-2000)
    UPDATE 3: hearing Rick Mast will be named the driver of the #7 Nations Rent Ford soon, no word on the #01 BellSouth car yet(12-11-2000)

  • #01 Driver? UPDATE..2: hearing Bobby Hamilton Jr will be the new driver of the #01 BellSouth Dodge for Ganassi Raving in 2001(12-1-2000)
    UPDATE: another source says Hamilton Jr will stay with the #26 Carroll Racing BGN team in 2001 and a sponsor announcement is to happen soon.....Dr Pepper(12-2-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Hamilton and Dr Pepper with the #26 Carroll Racing BGN Chevy, see my BGN Page(12-4-2000)

  • Vasser Looking? UPDATE No - stays in CART: on Sunday's RPM2Night (ESPN2) it was reported that CART driver Jimmy Vasser, who was considered in the recent past as a possible driver for the #01 Ganassi Racing Dodge in 2001, is now without a CART ride again according to Robin Miller (Indianapolis Star). Pat Patrick supposedly backed out of a deal at the last moment and Mo Nunn who was ready to hire Vassar at one point signed Jimmy's ex-Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Zanardi instead. It had been reported in the past that Vasser was a front runner for the #01 ride but decdied to stay in CART as he had a deal close to finalized, but who knows now(11-27-2000)
    UPDATE: Patrick Racing confirmed that 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser will drive a Toyota/Reynard for the team in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series(SpeedVision)(12-3-2000)

  • Alexander to the #01? or is it Mast? of Hamilton Jr? On RPM2Nights last 2000 daily show, John Kernan reported that while Rick Mast has been mentioned as the driver for the #01 BellSouth Dodge in 2001, sponsor BellSouth supposedly wants BGN/ARCA driver Blasie Alexander(RPM2Night) AND Bobby Hamilton Jr. now is the leading candidate over Rick Mast to drive the #01 Dodge for next year. Hamilton, who started just the second career Winston Cup race of his career on Monday, had extensive meetings with team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates over the last couple of days(AJC)(11-21-2000)

  • #01 Special Scheme UPDATE 2 images and a number switch: The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and BellSouth Corporation, a corporate sponsor of the Bowl, unveiled a special Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl paint scheme on the #01 BellSouth/Team SABCO Chevy prior to the Georgia Tech vs. Virginia football game on Saturday. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl paint scheme will be featured in the NAPA 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on November 19. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl logo will appear on the hood of the car and on the side panels. This sponsorship marks the first time that a college bowl game has cross-marketed to the NASCAR audience. Die-cast versions of the special Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl paint scheme on the BellSouth/Team SABCO Winston Cup car will be sold via the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Web site during Bowl Week(SABCO PR)
    UPDATE: got a few images, see my Paint Scheme Gallery to see the car UPDATE 2: the #01 and #40 cars will switch sponsors for the race at Atlanta, #01 will run Coors Light and #40 will run BellSouth/Peach Bowl colors(see story above)(11-13-2000)

  • Musgrave out at Atlanta? UPDATE 3 Hamilton Jr in and A switch: hearing Ted Musgrave will not drive the #01 BellSouth Chevy at Atlanta and that Chad Little may drive the car. Also hearing Rick Mast will be the 2001 driver of the #01 BellSouth Dodge and it was also reported on TNN's Raceday
    UPDATE: have confirmed Musgrave will not drive the #01 BellSouth/Peach Bowl Chevy at Atlanta but hearing it will not be Chad Little
    UPDATE 2: Team SABCO is giving Bobby Hamilton, Jr., the opportunity to compete in only his second NASCAR Winston Cup event. Hamilton, Jr., will drive the #01 Coors Light Chevrolet in the season finale NAPA 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Wanting to keep a more experienced driver in the sponsor’s (BellSouth) hometown market, Team SABCO chose veteran Sterling Marlin to wheel the #40 BellSouth/Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Chevrolet entry(SABCO PR) AND surprise - RPM2 Night reports that Hamilton Jr is being looked at as the possible driver of the #01 Ganassi Racing Dodge for the 2001 season(11-13-2000)
    UPDATE 3 hearing that Hamilton, Jr is not under consideration for the #01 ride in 2001 and that Atlanta is a one race deal only, stong rumor still has Rick Mast getting the ride in 2001. Hamilton Jr supposedly will stay in the #26 Carroll Racing BGN Chevy with Dr Pepper as the sponsor(11-14-2000)

  • Mast to the #01? Rick Mast appears to be car owner Chip Ganassi's pick to drive the #01 BellSouth Dodge in 2001, according to sources close to the team that call it "almost a done deal."(PitNow)(11-6-2000)

  • Vasser in Cup? UPDATE 4 - NO, stays in CART: Ganassi CART driver, Jimmy Vasser is slated to test for Ganassi's NASCAR team next Friday(Oct 6th). Vasser also won Sunday's CART race in Houston(SpeedVision)
    UPDATE: Vasser said he will test Friday in Lakeland, Fla., with Ganassi's Winston Cup team, the former Sabco Racing. The team has an opening because of the death of Kenny Irwin at New Hampshire International Speedway this summer(Dallas Morning News)(10-2-2000)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Vasser tested #01 Ganassi Racing Chevy at Lakeland and did fine, no accidents and may test at Las Vegas in the next few weeks(10-7-2000)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Vasser might yet wind up driving for Chip Ganassi next season. "I'm hoping he'll drive our Winston Cup car next year," says Ganassi, who has bought controlling interest in a NASCAR team. "The job's his if he wants it." Vasser's comments: "It's a little strange that he doesn't think I can do the job in CART, where I won a championship and am going to finish in the top three (in the points standings) four years out of five, and now he wants me to drive in NASCAR where I'd be a rookie," Vasser says. One thing Vasser says he won't do is contact Scott Pruett or Robby Gordon, who have struggled this year after making the jump from CART to NASCAR(more at the USA Today)(10-26-2000)
    AND a larger story today at the USA Today: Now Ganassi wants Vasser(10-27-2000)
    UPDATE 4: Mo Nunn Racing will announce this week the addition of a second car driven by CART veteran Jimmy Vasser, with sponsorship from MCI WorldCom and Pioneer, to its stable for the 2001 CART FedEx Series. Nunn was Ganassi's chief engineer before retiring and starting his own team this season. Vasser won the Houston Grand Prix in early October. Vasser was rumored as a candidate to drive one of Ganassi's Winston Cup Chevy(#01) next season. Ganassi has yet to fill that position with his #01 NASCAR entry(Speed Magazine)(11-1-2000)

  • Sad News UPDATE: Ted Musgrave's Father passed away today of a heart attack. Musgrave drives the #01 BellSouth Chevy in the Cup series(Ted Musgrave Site), thoughts and prayers to the Musgrave family(9-20-2000)
    UPDATE: Elmer Musgrave, father of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Ted Musgrave, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday in Gurnee, Ill. He was 72 years old. In honor of his father and his wish(that Ted race), Ted will pilot the #82 Channellock Chevy in the MBNA.com 200 Busch Series race this weekend at Dover. He will also drive the #01 BellSouth Chevy in the MBNA.com 400 Winston Cup event. The viewing for Mr. Musgrave is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 24, 2000, from 2 to 6 p.m. CDT at Gurnee Marsh Funeral Home, 305 Cemetery Road, Gurnee, Ill., 60031, (847) 336-0127. Funeral services will take place Monday, Sept. 25, 2000, at 10:30 a.m. CDT at Milburn Congregational Church, Milburn, IL(SABCO PR)(9-21-2000)

  • Musgrave/#01 to Test: #01 Ted Musgrave will test at Talladega on Wednesday, Sept 20th(Talladega PR)(9-18-2000)
    UPDATE: Musgrave and #10 Johnny Benson tested on Wednesday, see an image of #01 driver Ted Musgrave talking with crew chief Tony Glover at Testing Image, notice the roof flange(9-20-2000)
    Added another image to the Testing Image page, show's the aero changes(9-21-2000)

  • Martinsville Testing UPDATE: the #01-BellSouth Chevy and driver Ted Musgrave will test at Martinsville Speedway on Tues Sept 5th and Wed Sept 6th(Martinsville Speedway PR)(9-5-2000)
    UPDATE: see an updated story at the Martinsville Speedway Site(9-6-2000)

  • #01 2001 Driver: Ted Musgrave, who will finish the season in the BellSouth-sponsored car driven earlier this year by Irwin(when it was #42), is reportedly one of the finalist to drive the car full-time in 2001. Other drivers mentioned as potential pilots of the #01 Chevrolet include Bobby Hamilton and Chad Little(AJC)(9-4-2000)

  • Ganassi looking at a rookie? UPDATE: besides hearing Bobby Hamilton as a rumored driver for the #01 BellSouth/Ganassi Racing Dodge driver in 2001, hearing that BGN rookie of the year candidate Jimmie Johnson may be a candidate for the job. Johnson currently drivers the #92 ALLTEL Chevy in the BGN(8-13-2000)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson says he’s staying put with Herzog Motorsports for the 2001 BGN season and has no plans to race Winston Cup with another team next year. Johnson is rumored to be on the short list for the #01 Winston Cup car. Johnson’s name has been mentioned in numerous rumors after ALLTEL, his primary Busch Series sponsor, announced it was leaving Herzog at the end of the year. Herzog Motorsports has yet to secure a Busch sponsor for 2001, which has also helped fuel the speculation. However, Johnson is under contract with Herzog through 2001 and co-owner Stan Herzog is confident the contract will be fulfilled(St. Joseph News-Press(MO))(8-25-2000)

  • Musgrave in the #01 rest of the year: Ted Musgrave will drive the #01 BellSouth Chevrolet for the rest of the Winston Cup season, beginning with the Pepsi 400 on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway(EPSN/AP)(8-19-2000)

  • Musgrave in? UPDATE yep race-by-race Hearing Ted Musgrave will be back in the #01 BellSouth Chevy at Michigan after giving way to road racer(and BGN driver) PJ Jones at Watkins Glen
    UPDATE: Ted Musgrave will pilot the #01 BellSouth/Team SABCO Chevrolet on a week-to-week basis, beginning with the Aug. 20 Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway. Musgrave took the reins of the BellSouth NASCAR Winston Cup entry in the July 30 Pocono 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and the Aug. 5 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also drove the #82 Channellock/Team SABCO Chevy in the BGN at Gateway and IRP.(SABCO PR)(8-15-2000)

  • #01 Watkins Glen Driver? UPDATE 2 PJ Jones: hearing #19 Yellow Freight/Pameco BGN driver, PJ Jones will drive the #01 BellSouth Chevy at Watkins Glen and Ted Musgrave will drive the car for the remaining races(8-3-2000)
    UPDATE: P.J. Jones will be the driver of the #01 Chevrolet of Chip Gnassi Racing in next weekend's Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen, N.Y. Jones is a regular in the #19 Chevy on the Busch Series and ranks 33rd in the circuit's points standings. He is the son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones(AJC)(8-6-2000)
    UPDATE 2: BGN rookie contender P.J. Jones will pilot the #01 BellSouth/Team SABCO Chevy in the Aug. 13 Global Crossing at the Glen NASCAR Winston Cup event at Watkins Glen. In the June Busch Series event at the 2.45-mile circuit, Jones posted a career-best ninth-place finish after starting from the fourth position. The 31-year-old also earned a ninth-place NASCAR Winston Cup finish at Watkins Glen in one of six events he entered in 1993 for car owner Harry Melling. Ted Musgrave took the reins of the #01 BellSouth Chevy in the last two races -- the July 23 Pocono race and the Brickyard 400(SABCO PR)(8-7-2000)

  • Crew Chief News: hearing former #93 Amoco/Bill Davis Racing crew chief, Gil Martin, is being considered for the 2nd Cal Well's team (#? McDonald's Ford) and for the #01 crew chief job. Supposedly, Tony Glover will go back to more of a Team Manager role(8-7-2000)

  • Big Announcement UPDATE 2 OFFICIAL: Team SABCO owner Felix Sabates is scheduled to announce his team’s future plans in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at Indianapolis on Friday, August 4th at 6:30pm/ct. As has been rumored for the past few months, part of the announcement should be that CART owner Chip Ganassi is buying a majority of the team(7-28-2000)
    UPDATE: no surprise but....Team Sabco owner Felix Sabates will make official the sale of a majority interest of his two Winston Cup teams to CART series owner Chip Ganassi during a press conference Friday night at Indianapolis, ThatsRacin.com has learned. In addition, the teams will change manufacturers next season and become the newest entries into the Dodge camp, according to sources. Ganassi's teams would become the first established Chevrolet teams to make the switch and bring the number of expected Dodge entries to 11 next season. Sabates will remain a minority owner in the teams(That's Racin')(8-1-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Team SABCO owner Felix Sabates and Chip Ganassi announced today their NASCAR Winston Cup partnership beginning with the 2001 Daytona 500. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is Ganassi’s first venture into the world of stock car racing with the acquisition of the #40 Coors Light and #01 BellSouth entries. Although Ganassi’s majority interest in the team officially begins in 2001, he will contribute to Team SABCO’s management for the remainder of this year’s Winston Cup season. The team also announced its alignment with Dodge to field two Dodge Intrepid R/T entries in 2001. With the addition of Ganassi’s two Dodge Intrepid R/T racecars next year, a total of 10 Intrepids are slated to debut at the Daytona 500 in 2001. Former NASCAR crew chief Andy Graves, who joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2000 to direct its Indianapolis 500 and Winston Cup interests, will oversee the team’s racing operations together with current Team SABCO team manager and crew chief Tony Glover.(Team Sabco PR)(8-4-2000)

  • SABCO's BGN cars? UPDATE 2: hearing #91 Winston Cup owner, Joe Falk, may be a partner in buying the #'s 01, 81 and 82 SABCO BGN teams and moving them to his shop(8-1-2000)
    UPDATE: Joe Falk is renting his race shop to Felix Sabates, who was looking for a place to move his BGN teams to after selling majority ownership of SABCO to Chip Ganassi. SABCO began moving their equipment to Falk's shop this week. It was also mentioned that Sabates and Falk may be forming some sort of partnership, though no details were divulged, other than the fact that it will not be until November before anything became official. The rumors are that they will partner the Busch teams for next year, which Falk has had past experience(Victory Lane) BUT Team SABCO has leased Joe Falk's shop for its Busch Series teams for the remainder of the year. The lease will expire in November once the season is complete. The Busch teams are moving from SABCO's Mooresville facility to allow space for expansion to the existing fab shop. There is no truth to the rumor that Joe Falk and Felix Sabates will partner for next year(Team SABCO PR)(8-2-2000)
    UPDATE 2: According to a news release from Joe Falk that was published in Friday mornings Daily Press (printed edition), Falk intends to revive his dormant #91 LJ Racing team this fall with financial help from Felix Sabates. According to the report, Falk will have #81 BGN driver Blaise Alexander make his Winston Cup debut later this season, and run up to five races towards the end of this season. It wasn't disclosed what races those would be, but Falk mentioned to Victory Lane in the past that he want's to run at Richmond this fall, as well as at Charlotte and possible other Cup races. The news release also confirmed reports that Falk has rented the LJ Racing shop out to Felix Sabates until the end of the season. The reason given, was that Ganassi/SABCO senior owner Chip Ganassi was going to be switching the Winston Cup team over to Dodge for 2001, and wanted the BGN cars and equipment out of the way in order to have room to build the new fleet. No mention was made as to what will follow for next year. Family members have told Victory Lane that Falk is at Indianapolis Raceway Park this weekend overseeing Blaise Alexander's BGN team. Falk also mentioned that he was going to try and find a BGN ride for Jody McCormick, who runs in the LMSC division at Langley Speedway(VA)(Victory Lane) AND Sabates is also investing resources and equipment in a partnership with Joe Falk, bringing along the remnants of his Busch Grand National teams(Gaston Gazette)(8-5-2000)

  • Get Well: Debi Musgrave, Ted's wife was diagnosed with leukemia earlier in the year. Ted Musgrave, who was doing R&D with Cal Well's new Cup team then, looked at that program as a way of earning a salary and staying in touch with Winston Cup while spending more time at home to tend to his sick bride. But the deal fell apart and Ted stepped back from the sport for a while, subbing in the #60 Power Team while Geoffrey Bodine was injured and now driving the #01 BellSouth car for a few races. The best news of all - Debi Musgrave is improving and getting better which will allow Musgrave to look for a full-time ride for 2001. "She's doing really good," said Musgrave. "She has RH negative blood which is kind of rare. That's the kind of blood that brings on this disease. She's doing good but it's a tough time. We'll all get through it."(in part from Speed Magazine)(7-30-2000)

  • Musgrave and SABCO: Ted Musgrave, currently driving the #01 BellSouth Chevy for SABCO/Ganassi, will drive the SABCO BGN #82 ChannelLock Chevy for the rest of season(Ted Musgrave Site)(7-24-2000)

  • #01 to #42 Q&A and an Image: getting many questions on this, so here it is: Question: Will the #01 Sabco team get tot transfer ownsers points (for provisionals, etc) from the #42 team? Answer: yes, the number, driver and paint scheme will change (no I do not have any images of the new scheme..yet) but the owners points transfer over to the #01. Sabco owner. Felix Sabates ran the #01 in a few races with different drivers during the 1999 season(7-19-2000)
    IMAGE image of the #01 on the Paint Schemes Gallery from the Ted Musgrave site(7-20-2000)

  • Team Sabco/BellSouth News: Out of respect for Kenny Irwin and his memory, Team SABCO and BellSouth have chosen to permanently change the number of both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series entries to #01 effective immediately. Irwin was fatally injured in a practice crash at the New Hampshire International Speedway Friday, July 7th, in preparation for the thatlook.com 300. “Kenny was the future of the No. 42 teams,” said Felix Sabates, owner of Team SABCO. “To put someone else in his seat with his number wouldn’t feel right. I spoke with his parents (Reva and Kenny, Sr.) and they were very appreciative and supportive of what we wanted to do.” A new design on the #01 BellSouth Chevrolet, as well as interim driver Ted Musgrave, will debut at Pocono, Pa., Raceway for the Pennsylvania 500. Musgrave, who is testing the Team SABCO/BellSouth entry at Gateway International Raceway today and Tuesday, will be the driver for the next two Winston Cup events. An announcement concerning the driver of the Winston Cup entry for the 2001 season and beyond is expected to take place at the end of the season. Additionally, the team is currently evaluating drivers for the Busch Series entry with a decision coming prior to the Food City 250 at the Bristol Motor Speedway(Team Sabco PR)(7-17-2000)

  • #42 to #01? UPDATE 5 Musgrave?: hearing that SABCO may use the #01 (which was used on a 3rd team part time in 1999) in place of the #42 out of respect to Kenny Irwin Jr, their driver who passed away at NHIS last Friday. Not sure if it will be for Pocono only or for the rest of the 2000 season. Also hear that they may change the paint scheme of the BellSouth Chevy for the same reasons. Some drivers under consideration to run the car at Pocono are Ricky Craven, Rich Bickle and Hut Stricklin
    UPDATE #01: New team(SABCO/Gannassi) manager Andy Graves said Tuesday his squad, which skipped Sunday's New England(Thatlook.com 300) 300 at New Hampshire after Irwin was killed in a practice crash at the track, will return to action for the July 23 race at Pocono. Graves said the Chevrolet Monte Carlo will carry the same BellSouth sponsorship but is going with #01(instead of #42) because they think that's best. Graves made the decision in consultation with his boss, Chip Ganassi, who last week completed his purchase of the two-car team from Felix Sabates. Ganassi, who attended Tuesday's test at Indy, said he was prepared to keep Irwin and teammate Sterling Marlin in his cars for the next two years. He signed contract extensions with both drivers last week. Ganassi said he was looking at "three or four guys" to replace Irwin, although he declined to name them Tuesday. (Derrike Cope and Hut Stricklin are mentioned). Graves said it was a short list of candidates by necessity. Most of the league's better drivers were locked into contracts for the rest of the season, and he didn't feel comfortable raiding another team's program and that any driver hired this week would probably be on board only for the short term(in part from a story at SpeedNet)(7-12-2000)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Ted Musgrave and Todd Bodine are being considered also, but Bodine will be racing BGN at Pikes Peak on Saturday
    UPDATE 3: The #01 team plans to run the #01 from now on, no more #42. Also the team plans to get a veteran driver for the next two races (Pocono and Indy) then hire the best available road racer for Watkins Glen(SpeedVision)(7-13-2000)
    UPDATE 4: hearing Ted Musgrave will drive the #01 at Pocono(7-14-2000)
    UPDATE 5: Team SABCO will conduct a two-day test at Gateway International Raceway with Ted Musgrave on Monday and Tuesday of next week to see if he fits the mold for the #01 BellSouth team. If all goes well, Musgrave will probably drive the #01 at Pocono next weekend(RacingOne/Lee Spencer)(7-15-2000)
    UPDATE 6: Musgrave will be testing at the Kentucky Speedway on Monday and Tuesday driving the #01 car for Team Sabco/Ganassi. The team wants to get to know Musgrave and see if the chemistry is there as far as working together, so this is kind of a trial run for everyone involved(Musgave Site)(7-16-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel News: hearing Sabco has one each of the #40 and #42 Chevy's testing today at the wind tunnel of N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA(7-5-2000)

  • Dodge and Sabco/Ganassi UPDATE: Felix Sabates says he and Chip Ganassi have "agreed to agree" on a transaction that could bring Ganassi aboard as majority partner in Sabates' NASCAR racing organization(SABCO). Such a deal, Sabates said, would likely happen in the next 30 days. SABCO, fields the #40 Coors cars(Chevys) for Sterling Marlin and the #42 BellSouth car for Kenny Irwin. Sabastes says they have not discussed drivers and that any deal must be done in the next two or three weeks. Reports last fall had said Ganassi would link with Pontiac, which may be in need of teams with the defections to Dodge of Petty Enterprises and Bill Davis Racing. More recent rumors, however, pointed Ganassi in Dodge's direction(in part from SpeedVision)(5-17-2000)
    UPDATE: Speedway Scene has learned that it is likely that the Chip Ganassi/Felix Sabates SABCO collaboration are expected to make the change to Dodge sheet metal in 2001. Where SABCO will fit into the program as far as team alignment goes is unknown, but Bill Davis, owner of the #22 and #93 Pontiacs says that they'll not be part of the three team consortium that includes himself, Ray Evernham and Petty Enterprises(Speedway Scene)(6-25-2000)

  • Glover back to the #4? There is speculation that Tony Glover may return to the Morgan McClure #4 Kodak team, which has won only once since Glover left more than three years ago(PitNow). Glover is presently with SABCO(#'s 40 and 42) and with Chip Ganassi buying a large stake in SABCO and bringing Andy Graves in, the time would be right for Glover to make a move(6-2-2000)

  • Gannasi/Sabco to Dodge? TNN's Raceday reports that that Sabco who will be bought by Chip Ganassi next month will change to Dodge from Chevy in 2001(5-28-2000)

  • Schrader to Ganassi/Sabco? from today's St Louis Post-Dispatch - One hot rumor flying around the Speedway(Indy) is that Chip Ganassi, who runs the highly successful Target team featuring Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser, will form a NASCAR Winston Cup operation and hire former St. Louisan Ken Schrader as his driver. The story reports that Gannassi had lunch with Schrader 'the other day'. Schrader drives the #36 M&M's Pontiac(St Louis Post Dispatch) AND Driver Sterling Marlin is meeting with owner Felix Sabates and CART owner Chip Ganassi on Monday and Tuesday. The deal hasn't been finalized, but Ganassi could buy 80 percent of Sabates' team, which includes the cars driven by Marlin and Kenny Irwin(Times-Dispatch)(5-21-2000)

  • Sabco/Ganassi? UPDATE 5: hearing SABCO owner Felix Sabates(#'s 40 and 42) and CART championship team owner, Chip Ganassi are getting close to forming some sort of partnership that would bring a Ganassi team (an Andy Graves) to the Cup series for 2001(5-9-2000)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi, who has won four consecutive championships as a team owner in CART, may be on the verge of entering NASCAR. Ganassi is negotiating with Felix Sabates to become a part-owner of Team Sabco. If there's a partnership with Ganassi, it wouldn't begin until next year(Dallas Morning News)
    UPDATE 2: On Thursday's ESPN2 RPM2 Night, Robin Miller reported that the Ganassi-Sabates is a done deal with Ganassi owning 80% and Sabates owning 20% with Ganassi talking to Jeremy Mayfield and Bobby Hamilton as part of a two car team to run in 2001. Target is the rumored sponsor(RPM2 Night). Note: Mayfield is signed with Penske-Kranefuss thru 2002 and Hamilton with Morgan-McClure thru 2001(5-11-2000)
    UPDATE 3: from SpeedNet: no drivers mentioned like on RPM2 Night but the story adds: "According to a source in Charlotte, who requested anonymity, Ganassi will become a majority owner of Felix Sabates' operation and run a two-car effort starting in 2001 with Dodges." No mention of what would happen with the current drivers, Sterling Marlin or Kenny Irwin, on RPM2 Night it sounded like a deal in addition to Sabates current teams, but the story sounds more like a partnership. Three of the drivers have contracts at least thru the 2001 season, Marlin has the option to leave at the end of the 2000 season(5-12-2000)
    UPDATE 4: Felix Sabates says he and Chip Ganassi have "agreed to agree" on a transaction that could bring Ganassi aboard as majority partner in Sabates' NASCAR racing organization(SABCO). Such a deal, Sabates said, would likely happen in the next 30 days. SABCO, fields the #40 Coors cars(Chevys) for Sterling Marlin and the #42 BellSouth car for Kenny Irwin. Sabastes says they have not discussed drivers and that any deal must be done in the next two or three weeks. Reports last fall had said Ganassi would link with Pontiac, which may be in need of teams with the defections to Dodge of Petty Enterprises and Bill Davis Racing. More recent rumors, however, pointed Ganassi in Dodge's direction(in part from SpeedVision)(5-17-2000)
    UPDATE 5: According to CNNSI.com motorsports insider Marty Snider, Felix Sabates has agreed in priniciple to the sale of 80% of SABCO to Chip Ganassi, who will take over day-to-day operation of Team SABCO on July 1. Sabates will continue to own 20 percent of the team. The three SABCO BGN teams will be disbanded at the end of the 2000 season. Target will join both the #40-Marlin and and #42-Irwin teams as an associate sponsor after July 1.(CNN/SI)(5-19-2000)

  • Irwin Special Scheme UPDATE Image: To commemorate BellSouth’s initial trip to The Winston with Kenny Irwin as driver, Team SABCO will unveil a special paint scheme on the #42 BellSouth Chevrolet at a press conference on Thursday, May 18, in Charlotte, N.C. Irwin and BellSouth are announcing an extended Lifeline partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) initiative Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities, educating NASCAR fans that fast action can and should be taken to protect their homes and businesses from disasters and disruptions. Irwin will Unveil Bold New Car Paint Scheme Promoting Disaster Prevention(BellSouth PR)(5-17-2000)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kenny Irwin and BellSouth announced today their extended partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) initiative Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities. To focus attention on disaster prevention, Irwin is introducing a new paint scheme highlighting the Lifeline initiatives and FEMA Project Impact on the car he will drive in NASCAR's all-star race, The Winston. The race takes place at Lowe's Motor Speedway. See an image of the car and the PR at BellSouth - Project Imapct PR or the Paint Schemes Gallery(5-18-2000)

  • Irwin Injured? UPDATE 2: #42-Kenny Irwin was caught in #27-Mike Bliss' wreck(Bliss cut a tire on #77-Pressley's broken Brake part) on Lap 171 and was reported treated and released at the track infield center. Later word, however, was that Irwin had to be taken to an area hospital when he lost awareness while talking to others after his release. As of 2am/et, there was no further word(SpeedVision)(5-7-2000)
    UPDATE: Team sources tell me that Kenny Irwin was not transported to the hospital. He was treated and released at the infield care center following the accident. The neurosurgeon on staff checked him out. Kenny went from there to the airport. A discussion did take place about going to the hospital after Irwin left the track, but it was not necessary. Irwin is sore but fine and is recovering
    UPDATE 2: Kenny Irwin is recovering at home in Charlotte following an accident Saturday evening in the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond. After the incident on lap 170, Irwin was treated and released from the infield care center. Contrary to published rumors, he was not transported to the hospital. “I am doing just fine,” Irwin said. “I’m just a bit sore from the accident but nothing more than that. I was very tired during the trip from the race track to the airport Saturday night, but I was not taken to the hospital.”(SABCO PR)(5-8-2000)

  • #42 Hauler Accident: Team SABCO transporter driver David Walker suffered minor injuries in a traffic accident with a pickup truck on I-40 outside Waverly, Arkansas, early Sunday morning. The pickup truck driver was killed when he crossed the I-40 median and collided with the Team SABCO transporter. Walker was en route to Las Vegas on I-40 westbound when the accident occurred. The tractor and transporter jackknifed and fell down an embankment. Walker suffered only minor cuts and bruises. The tractor sustained irreparable damage but the race car hauler suffered only minor exterior damage(Williams Co)(1-31-2000)

  • No Surprise: As rumored for months, Kenny Irwin will drive #42 BellSouth Chevys for Team SABCO in 2000 after agreeing to multi-year agreement. Tony Glover will serve as the crew chief and Irwin will also drive 16-18 BGN races in the #42 BellSouth Mobility Chevy for SABCO. The Cup car is bright green(NOL)(11-19-1999)

  • Irwin signs with SABCO? UPDATE: Kenny Irwin has signed with Team Sabco to take over the driving duties of the #42 Chevys beginning next season. An official announcement with car owner Felix Sabates and Irwin is not expected until the weekend of the Nov. 21 NAPA 500 at Atlanta, the headquarters of the car's sponsor, BellSouth, according to sources close to the driver(That's Racin')(9-7-1999) -- UPDATE: from Kenny Irwin in an NOL story - "It's really not much of a secret anymore that I'm going to be driving for the BellSouth team," Irwin said. "The deal will be officially announced at Atlanta."(NOL)(11-7-1999)

  • Nemechek/Petree UPDATE 2: hearing Joe Nemechek has signed to drive the #33 Andy Petree Chevy in 2000(9-30-1999) -- UPDATE: Andy Petree has a new driver for next season, and Joe Nemechek has a new job. The two signed yesterday to team for the next two seasons, with a third-year option. Petree said that he expected Nemechek to run his own Busch cars next season, and Petree said he was putting together a package for Kenny Wallace, now Nemechek's new teammate in the Petree camp, to run a number of Busch races(PitNow)(10-1-1999) -- UPDATE: Petree will also return to being a crew chief on the #33 in 2000(RPM2Nite)(10-2-1999)

  • Nemechek news UPDATE: Joe Nemechek, who scored his first Winston Cup victory last weekend in New Hampshire, is the leading candidate to take over the driving duties of the #33 Chevrolets next season, The Charlotte Observer has learned. Nemechek spoke with car owner Andy Petree this weekend in Dover about the ride, but no final agreement has been reached, sources said(That's Racin')(9-26-1999) -- UPDATE: Winston Cup Today Radio reports that Joe Nemechek is the likely driver for the #33 Oakwood Homes Andy Petree Chevy. Andy Petree said it looks that way if they can come to an agreement(9-27-1999)

  • Nemechek UPDATE...whoops: hearing Joe Nemechek turned down the #33 Andy Petree ride over concerns with Oakwood Homes financial woes(9-23-1999) -- UPDATE - incorrect: #33 car owner Andy Petree, looking to replace departing Ken Schrader, says he is close to a deal with Joe Nemechek, first-time winner last week at New Hampshire. Petree met with Nemechek for more than an hour Thursday night and hopes to make it official in a few days. Nemechek admitted he had talked to Petree and is interested, but he hinted he’s also talking to others and that “it’s nice to have choices.”(Racer Magazine)(9-25-1999)

  • Nemechek: hearing Joe Nemechek turned down the #33 Andy Petree ride over concerns with Oakwood Homes financial woes(9-23-1999)

  • Sabates Chat: #01, 40 and 42 SABCO team owner, Felix Sabates was in NOL Chat Tuesday. A few of the highlights were "No" to Joe Nemechek staying with SABCO, and when asked about the third team(currently the #01 Chevy), he said "probably going to run 5-8 races in 2000 with a third car" and about #40 driver, Sterling Marlin: "We've signed a new three-year deal with Coors and Sterling will be back with us for the next three years", so forget the earlier rumor of Marlin leaving. As for Tony Glover: "Tony will be team manager, but on Sunday he will be crew chief of the 42 car"(9-21-1999)

  • Nemechek and... It may have taken 180 races, but Joe Nemechek broke his maiden today with a convincing win at New Hampshire International Speedway. His previous best finish ever was only a 4th(on two occasions), the last coming at Texas Motor Speedway in April of 1998....51 races ago. The win is the first for SABCO Racing since Kyle Petty won at Dover in June of 1995. Nemechek's victory gives us 7 different race winners in a row. He also became our 11th different winner this year, making 5 years in a row we've had 11 different drivers to win races. You've got to go back to 1994 (12) to find more(Henry's Ramblings, Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(9-20-1999)

  • Nemechek Wins: Joe Nemechek's win at New Hampshire was his first ever career Winston win and it was the first time since 1970 that two first time winners(Tony Stewart won last week) have won in consecutive races when Pete Hamilton won at Daytona and James Hylton won at Richmond(TNN TV coverage)(9-19-1999)

  • Irwin signs with SABCO? UPDATE and Gordon: Kenny Irwin has signed with Team Sabco to take over the driving duties of the #42 Chevys beginning next season. An official announcement with car owner Felix Sabates and Irwin is not expected until the weekend of the Nov. 21 NAPA 500 at Atlanta, the headquarters of the car's sponsor, BellSouth, according to sources close to the driver(That's Racin')(9-7-1999) -- UPDATE: RPM2Nite also reports they hear the deal is done, just need Irwin to sign. Supposedly, Irwin will also run selected BGN events for SABCO. Also mentioned was that CART driver and former SABCO #40 driver Robby Gordon could be a third Cup driver for SABCO if he can bring a sponsor with him(9-9-1999)

  • Nemechek: From Wednesday's NOL chat with Joe Nemechek - The Question: In your search for a new team, how much does a manufacturer make in your decision? The Answer: "I think it does factor in. But mainly, it's trying to find a good Cup ride. Our Busch program will most likely remain Chevrolet. We're putting new 2000 sheet metal on them, and we're skinning them that way. Chevrolet has been good to me, and my plan is to continue on with Chevrolet." Makes you wonder about the Nemechek to the #28(Ford) rumors(9-9-1999)

  • Bodine, Todd that is: Todd Bodine continues to chart his future in racing. The ten time winner in the Busch Series would like to get a another shot at Winston Cup and has discussed a move with a couple of Winston Cup owners. His owner, Frank Cicci, has plans, eventually, to move the #66 team, en masse, to Cup, but it is probably too late for that move to happen for the 2000 season. There is no sponsor currently in place for a run in Winston Cup and it is probably too late in the season to get one lined up now for next season. Bodine stated that he would not move to Cup, just to be IN Winston Cup and would feel very comfortable running the Busch Series for the Cicci-Welliver team again in 2000. Bodine's name had been linked with Yates Racing and with the new Cal Wells Winston Cup (Tide) team as a potential driver, but now it appears he may get a shot in Felix Sabates' #01 Chevy(Inside Motorsports) Note: Sabates has said he doubt's he'll run a third team in 2000, Bodine may get considered for the #42 ride if Irwin goes elsehwere(9-6-1999)

  • Irwin/Nemechek Swap: For several weeks, it has been speculated that Felix Sabates and Robert Yates would simply trade drivers, much like Cale Yarborough and Michael Kranefuss did with Jeremy Mayfield and John Andretti in 1996. But according to Yates, his selection of drivers is not conclusive. Yates has participated in ongoing discussions with Ricky Rudd, but the veteran's ability to find a sponsor has delayed a final decision. Sabates is not interested in a mid-season swap whatsoever, unless his sponsor BellSouth or Nemechek requests a driver change. Although he has spoke with Robby Gordon, Sabates says that Irwin is on top of his list(SpeedVision)(9-6-1999)

  • Irwin: Kenny Irwin said his future is far from a done deal. Irwin says he has talked to Felix Sabates about the #42 car, but nothing is done yet. Irwin also says he has not talked to anyone outside of Winston Cup about a ride(SpeedNet)(9-4-1999)

  • SpeedVision Article: In this story it mentions that Felix Sabates has had a driver in the top 10 call him in the last couple of days asking Sabates to buy them out of their contract. He said he is willing to talk but not buy out their contracts. Also mentioned that Jeremy Mayfield and Robin Pemberton were under consideration for the Yates ride, but that won't happen now since Mayfield just signed a two year extension and Pemberton isn't looking to go elsewhere(8-30-1999)

  • SABCO/Irwin/Gordon: Felix Sabates said that even though he and Joe Nemechek are parting ways at the end of the season, he will not replace the driver before November. He admits he is talking to Kenny Irwin and Robby Gordon about running for his team in 2000, denies he will run three Winston Cup teams full time and plans to put money into improving what he deemed a junk 2000 Monte Carlo. Sabates talked about honoring other owners' contracts and the seven drivers -- one which he says is in the top 10 in Winston Cup points -- that he is considering for next season. He wants to find someone to join Sterling Marlin at Team SABCO. He plans to trim that list this week. Ron Hornaday is testing at Richmond tomorrow and Tuesday because he will drive the September race in Sabates' third Cup car(#01). Hornaday, however, will only compete in the Busch Grand National Series next season. No one will run a full schedule in the #01 car. Sabates also plans to join Busch programs with owner Jim Mattei. The pair could run three or four teams in the series. At least two of the drivers would be full-time. As for his second Cup team, Sabates said he would not have a "recycled" driver, an experienced veteran that has worked for a variety of other teams. Sabates dined with Robby Gordon earlier this week and said the driver could be Sabates' second driver next season. He added that he is not the only Cup owner interested in the open-wheel driver(Times-Dispatch)(8-29-1999)

  • Irwin UPDATE: sources tell me that Irwin will make a choice on his next ride within the next week to ten days. Supposedly three(forgot one) choices are SABCO or the 2nd Morgan-McClure team, and the #23 Travis Carter team(8-26-1999) -- UPDATE: Hearing it'll be the #42 Bellsouth Chevy in which Irwin will drive in 2000, supposedly he has asked for an early release so he can get a head start in the car for 2000(8-27-1999)

  • Irwin to a Chevy? UPDATE 3 SABCO: hearing rumors that Kenny Irwin is the top candidate for the #42 BellSouth Chevy ride with SABCO -- UPDATE: that was quick, from PitNow: It appears that General Motors' Herb Fishel may have plucked another promising young driver out of the Ford camp. Kenny Irwin could be headed to Felix Sabates' Chevrolet team next season, according to sources close to Irwin(PitNow) -- UPDATE 2: TNN's Raceday reports that Irwin may be at the top of AJ Foyt's list for his possible Cup team, Cup veteran Waddell Wilson may be part of the AJ Foyt Cup team(8-22-1999) -- UPDATE: Felix Sabates' abrupt break with Joe Nemechek may pave the way for Kenny Irwin taking over Team Sabco's #42 Chevrolet. Irwin's availability may have speeded Sabates' decision to bring an end to his relationship with Nemechek, who will no doubt go in the pool for other available rides(SpeedNet)(8-23-1999) --UPDATE 4: Hmm...I hear Irwin met with Felix Sabates Monday and will go to Atlanta to visit with BellSouth reps sometime this week and that he could end up in the #42 as soon as early to mid September allowing current driver, Joe Nemechek to go elsewhere, I hear the #28 is a possibility(8-25-1999)

  • More SABCO: Blaise Alexander, an ARCA(and BGN) driver who has been trying to break into Winston Cup racing, may soon be getting a shot with car owner Felix Sabates, according to sources(PitNow)(8-23-1999)

  • Nemechek/SABCO will split: It was announced on ESPN2's Qualifying that Joe Nemechek and Felix Sabates/SABCO will part ways after the 1999 season. That leaves the #42 ride open and adds Nemechek to the 'Silly Season' mix. From the official PR: Joe Nemechek, driver of the #42 BellSouth Chevrolet, and Team SABCO will be parting at the end of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Racing season, it was announced today. Both parties mutually agreed upon the decision. (8-20-1999) -- UPDATE: It is unclear if sponsor BellSouth would stay with Sabates or with Nemechek(PitNow)(8-21-1999)

  • Nemechek Colors: The #42 BellSouth Chevy, driven by Joe Nemechek, will be sporting an impressive new car design featuring the BellSouth® Prepaid Phone card. His familiar blue and neon-stripped Chevrolet is being replaced with a new purple, red and white design for the Daytona night race(BellSouth PR)(6-30-1999)

  • SABCO Crew Chief CORRECTION, UPDATE 2: Jay Smith has been named as the crew chief for the #40 Coors Light SABCO Chevy and driver Sterling Marlin(NASCAR Today Radio) Smith was most recently the crew chief of the #34 Goulds Pumps BGN Chevy. Also worked for Bobby Hillin's BGN team and Irvan-Simo in the past few years -- CORRECTION: hmmm....I hear this incorrect, folks from SABCO tell me that Smith is not the new #40 crew chief but has been hired by SABCO to work on the #42 shocks. An announcement should be coming in the next day or two concerning the #40 crew chief(6-2-1999) -- UPDATE 1: Hearing that Scott Eggleston will switch over from the #42 to be the #40 crew chief -- UPDATE 2: it's official - Scott Eggleston has been named crew chief for Team SABCO's #40 Coors Light Chevrolet and driver Sterling Marlin. He moves the 20 feet or so from where he was crew chief for Team SABCO's #42 BellSouth Chevrolet and driver Joe Nemechek. Team manager Tony Glover will serve as interim crew chief for the BellSouth team and Nemechek(The William Co/SABCO)(6-3-1999)

  • Nemechek/McReynolds? Saw on PitNow this AM that Larry McReynolds is interested in Joe Nemechek who drives the #42 BellSouth Chevy for Felix Sabates. Also heard from a few sources the same thing. One problem is that Nemechek is signed through 2001(see 11-30-98), could get interesting(5-31-1999)

  • SABCO 3rd Car returns UPDATE 1 Sponsor: Driver Jeff Green and car owner Felix Sabates will be reunited later this year in the Winston Cup series. Sabates has decided to return to a three-car operation and has obtained sponsorship from a 'a major communications company' to run a seven-race schedule this season. And depending on the results, it may translate into a full schedule in 2000. Sabates fielded the #46 Chevys for Green last season. Sabates lost his sponsor, First Union/Money Store, at the end of last season and dissolved the team. The new team will not carry the #46. An official announcement of Sabates' plans is expected this week in Charlotte(That's Racin'/Jim Utter) -- UPDATE 1: Hearing the sponsor may be Florida based Topps Communication, found a little info on this company on the 'net, not much, seems they are based in Miami and deal with Sprint(5-17-1999)

  • Felix, changes? I hear from some readers that #'s 40 and 42(not 43 doh!) owner, Felix Sabates appeared on Speedvision's Inside Winston Cup Racing Show on the Hot-Seat segment and indicated that if his teams don't start performing better soon, it will be time for some drastic changes, though he did say in general he is happy about being down to two teams keeping the best personnel from last years three team effort, and that the team is much better than their bad-luck finishes show(3-23-1999)

  • Vegas Testing: Bobby Labonte(#18), Tony Stewart(#20), Sterling Marlin(#40), Joe Nemechek(#40) and Kenny Wallace(#55) tested at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last week. Nemechek posted the fastest unofficial lap speed of 166.02 mph in his BellSouth Chevrolet while Stewart was second fastest at 165.73 mph in The Home Depot Pontiac. The top qualifying speed for last year's inaugural Las Vegas 400 was 168.224 mph, set by pole sitter Dale Jarrett(Concord Monitor)(1-19-1999)

  • Ron Fellows/Nemechek UPDATE: Ron Fellows' will be a semi-regular on both the BGN and CTS in 1999. Joe Nemechek, who will drive for SABCO racing next year, has contracted Fellows to drive about 12 races for him in 1999 including the Winston Cup event at Watkins Glen, which has become a favorite track for the Canadian(TSN Motorsports)(12-18-98) -- NASCAR Online reports that as of now, Fellows is contracted to run the BGN race at Watkins Glen and four truck races with AER Manufacturing as the sponsor. Fellows schedule could expand if he finds additional sponorship, which he feels confident about. Nemechek will run 13 BGN events in 1999 in the #87 Chevy. No mention of a Cup race at all in the story.(NASCAR Online)(12-21-98)

  • SABCO PR: Team SABCO will return to a two-car NASCAR Winston Cup operation in 1999 after fielding a third entry for the past several seasons. The #46 Chevrolet had been sponsored by First Union and The Money Store, however, the financial institution opted to refocus their involvement in the Winston Cup series. "If in the next few weeks a sponsor shows interest in SABCO, we'll investigate further into the possibility of bringing the 46 team back," said Team SABCO owner Felix Sabates. "At this time, we've chosen to concentrate our efforts on a two-car operation and focus on returning to a top-notch Winston Cup organization." Sabates' two other teams will remain intact. Joe Nemechek extended his contract to drive the #42 BellSouth Chevrolet through 2001, while two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin returns to the #40 Coors Light Chevrolet for the next two years.(SABCO PR via Stock Car Racing Mag)(11-30-98)

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