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Chip Ganassi Racing in Shambles


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#1 Denier

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:16

CGR is shutting down the #40 team (Dario Franchitti) effective immediately and has laid off over 70 employees.

The #5 Hendrick car and the #20 CGR car must be looking awfully appealing to Montoya right now.

CGR shows no signs of progression; they are actually somehow regressing, despite being terrible to begin with.

Not good.

Source: http://www.jayski.com/cupnews.htm



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#2 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:21

Well the 40 didn't have any money, so that's no surprise.

#3 Bumper

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:21

Fixed it, and.....

ya kidding :eek: Huge news.

#4 Denier

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:22

Thank you sir.

#5 potmotr

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:22

I'm not sure if your title is accurate. Chip's IRL team seems to be doing extremely well with Scott Dixon dominating the championship and wining the Indy 500.

Perhaps the reason Chip's made the move is because Dario couldn't come up to speed with NASCAR and he didn't see the point in continued expenditure on a car which almost never qualifies.

#6 BMW_F1

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:24

Dario must be a very unhappy camper at the moment..It could be a strategic move to reallocate more resources to the 41 and 42 but still ...Chip does have an awkward managerial style.. . Oh boy...

#7 BMW_F1

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:32

By the way is there an open seat for Dario in INDY? no sponsorship, no results.

I feel sorry for this dude..

#8 Bumper

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:42

Originally posted by BMW_F1
By the way is there an open seat for Dario in INDY? no sponsorship, no results.

I feel sorry for this dude..


Yeah what's going to happen with Dario. What are his chances of staying in Nascar with another team, and would he consider going back to IndyCar at all? I think he would.

There is a rumoured third car with CGR in Indycar next year, but it's supposedly for Tony Kanaan, taking his 7/11 sponsorship with him. Just a rumour though at this point, and maybe Dario and Chip struck a deal somewhere.

#9 potmotr

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:44

Originally posted by BMW_F1
By the way is there an open seat for Dario in INDY? no sponsorship, no results.


I kind of got the impression he was glad to leave Indycar after his heavy crashes last year.

I think a career in sportscars awaits. Surely Audi or Peugeot would want him.

#10 BMW_F1

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 20:49

Originally posted by Bumper


Yeah what's going to happen with Dario. What are his chances of staying in Nascar with another team, and would he consider going back to IndyCar at all? I think he would.

There is a rumoured third car with CGR in Indycar next year, but it's supposedly for Tony Kanaan, taking his 7/11 sponsorship with him. Just a rumour though at this point, and maybe Dario and Chip struck a deal somewhere.


I think Chip must have agreed something with Dario before acting on this. I hope he does not end in Sports Cars..I doubt any other NASCAR team will go for him. Robin Miller said Kanaan is renewing with Andretti. I think his options would be.
- Sit out the rest of the year and do Nationwide races only. Dario replaces Sorenson in the #41 next year.
- Sports Cars
- CGC Indy's third team.??

#11 Flat Black

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:11

Franchitti could always sign up with Marty Roth Racing.

:lol:

#12 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:12

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Well the 40 didn't have any money, so that's no surprise.


The suck thing about this is that Chip knew he didn't have a sponsor when he gave Dario the 40 car.

From 1st in points and winning the i500 to sitting on the sidelines the next season has got to be one of the most dramatic slide in history. I feel terrible about Dario, regardless of the fact he hasn't shown much this year, he's a good guy that Chip left out in the cold. As has been said since day one one about Fatassi, there is no team in Chip, but there is an I

#13 BMW_F1

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:16

I think Chip assumed Dario would get the job done like Montoya did and the sponsors would come but that didn't happen so it was certainly a bad call to bring Dario onborad without a full year commitement from any sponsor..

#14 Rob G

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:17

Originally posted by potmotr
I think a career in sportscars awaits. Surely Audi or Peugeot would want him.

Maybe reuniting with Andretti Green? Mikey just dumped Herta and Fittipaldi out of the ALMS ride in favor of Franck Montagny and a revolving door.

#15 saudoso

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:25

How old is Dario? I remmeber him in CHAMPCAR, and that was a long ago. Just around the split, when it was broadcasted to BR.

#16 BMW_F1

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:31

he is got to be 35/36.

#17 FLB

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:34

Originally posted by potmotr
I'm not sure if your title is accurate. Chip's IRL team seems to be doing extremely well with Scott Dixon dominating the championship and wining the Indy 500.

Perhaps the reason Chip's made the move is because Dario couldn't come up to speed with NASCAR and he didn't see the point in continued expenditure on a car which almost never qualifies.

CGR is also doing quite well in the Grand-Am Rolex Sportscar Series.

#18 Rob

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:41

Further reshuffles? This doesn't sound good. If I was Monty I would be seriously considering my options. With the #5 and possibly the #20 available, I'd be pitching for those drives.

#19 BMW_F1

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 21:57

Chip:

“If I keep going I run the risk of dragging the other two teams down. I don’t want to do that,” Ganassi told the Associated Press. “There’s no money. It makes no sense to be running this out of my pocket. I had to put a stop to it.”

http://sports.yahoo....ov=ap&type=lgns

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#20 WildmouseX

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 23:24

keep in mind that the #40 lost it's life long sponsor just last fall when coors took over the title beer sponsorship from bud, they already had dario's deal in the works when it happened. and it's pretty hard to find sponsors quickly now a days. look at yates, two top 35 cars that were blank most of the first half of the year, and could still end the season that way as well.


the 5 and the 33 can still be considered open, both orginisations can benifit from nabing dario... you can even consider that if tony does take over hass cnc, he can benifit a lot from starting his second team right away by giving a fellow open wheel convert a seat.

#21 IOU 16

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 23:27

Originally posted by potmotr


I kind of got the impression he was glad to leave Indycar after his heavy crashes last year.

I think a career in sportscars awaits. Surely Audi or Peugeot would want him.


Grand Am with Ganassi.

#22 potmotr

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 23:56

Originally posted by IOU 16


Grand Am with Ganassi.


Is Grand Am a big enough series? I mean, Daytona is a big event but generally isn't it a series for rich amateurs and a small top tier of serious teams and drivers?

I would have thought ALMS would be much more lucrative, especially as it could lead to a trip to La Sarthe.

I doubt Dario would go back to open wheelers.

#23 red stick

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 00:03

Originally posted by WildmouseX
keep in mind that the #40 lost it's life long sponsor just last fall when coors took over the title beer sponsorship from bud, they already had dario's deal in the works when it happened. and it's pretty hard to find sponsors quickly now a days. look at yates, two top 35 cars that were blank most of the first half of the year, and could still end the season that way as well.


the 5 and the 33 can still be considered open, both orginisations can benifit from nabing dario... you can even consider that if tony does take over hass cnc, he can benifit a lot from starting his second team right away by giving a fellow open wheel convert a seat.



Roush had trouble finding sponsors a few years back too.

I like Dario, too, but as a stock car driver, he's an great IndyCar pilot. Following the Mears experiment, I can't see Hendrick taking a chance. According to Jenna Fryer's article on the AP today, Kellogg's and the other sponsors for the #5 are looking for the kind of ROI Hendrick's other teams give their sponsors. Putting Franchitti in the car won't give them that. I look for a well-established driver capable of winning immediately to take the #5.

The situation with the #33 may be different, but if you were Childress, and given the number of free agents who are apparently going to be available this silly season, would you take Dario over Truex? Stewart? Newman?

If Smoke takes over Haas CNC, can't see him putting up with a rookie teammate. He'll have enough hurdles without setting up his car and Dario's too.

#24 red stick

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 00:05

Originally posted by potmotr


Is Grand Am a big enough series? I mean, Daytona is a big event but generally isn't it a series for rich amateurs and a small top tier of serious teams and drivers?

I would have thought ALMS would be much more lucrative, especially as it could lead to a trip to La Sarthe.

I doubt Dario would go back to open wheelers.



Think of his recent past, with the flips in IndyCar and the broken ankle in NASCAR. Suddenly, those stout little Daytona Prototypes look awfully safe.  ;)

#25 red stick

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 00:15

Originally posted by potmotr
I'm not sure if your title is accurate. Chip's IRL team seems to be doing extremely well with Scott Dixon dominating the championship and wining the Indy 500.

Perhaps the reason Chip's made the move is because Dario couldn't come up to speed with NASCAR and he didn't see the point in continued expenditure on a car which almost never qualifies.


Exactly. It's a business decision.

His driver won the Indy 500 and is on his way to a second Indycar championship. His sports car team does well, including two wins at the Rolex 24.

In NASCAR, you have to recall that when Ganassi came in to help Felix Sabates this operation wasn't setting the world afire either. Within a few years with Sterling Marlin they were competing for a championship. If in the last few years his team hasn't improved on that early promise, well, the 21st century has been cruel to every NASCAR team owner not named Roush, Hendrick or Gibbs!

#26 WildmouseX

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 01:03

Originally posted by red stick




The situation with the #33 may be different, but if you were Childress, and given the number of free agents who are apparently going to be available this silly season, would you take Dario over Truex? Stewart? Newman?


actually i would, and here's why ... dario's older and won't be racing as long as they do....remember, Richard has two grandsons on the way up(edit http://www.nascar.co...ress/index.html ), so he only need someone in that seat for 2-3 seasons to shake the team down and get it ready for one of them -dario's almost right at the age where he'll want to consider retiring for good at about that time.

seems like a pretty good match to me.

#27 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 01:11

But you're ignoring the fact that Franchitti really sucks. He just doesn't have the talent or the killer instinct of Montoya to pull off such a difficult career switch. He's terrible in Sprint Cup, and he shows zero potential for improvement. Why pay big bucks to him to barely warm your set, when you can find people who'd do that for far less? It just doesn't make sense.

#28 red stick

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 01:25

Originally posted by WildmouseX
actually i would, and here's why ... dario's older and won't be racing as long as they do....remember, Richard has two grandsons on the way up(edit http://www.nascar.co...ress/index.html ), so he only need someone in that seat for 2-3 seasons to shake the team down and get it ready for one of them -dario's almost right at the age where he'll want to consider retiring for good at about that time.

seems like a pretty good match to me.


Interesting. Also well-reasoned, supported by evidence, and researched. You do know this is Racing Comments, don't you?  ;)

Nevertheless, I think Childress will look elsewhere. There are plenty of proven NASCAR drivers of appropriate age who wouldn't be in little Childress's way in a few years.

#29 WildmouseX

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 01:25

you'll have to pay a premimum for anybody to sign only a couple of years to get a team started for another driver - no matter what, and you're going to have to find a way to please your brand new sponsor for those few years while you prep the permenent driver....

dario can learn a lot from kevin, jeff, and even clint - while he may suck today, 2 - 3 years with those guys could very well make him the top pick when it's time to give up the car.

and

general mills gets a former indy champ to represent them, (and maybe even get access for ashley to do some promotional stuff for them); so they are happy while they wait.

and

richard gets to build, test, and rearage a new team for his grandson in relitive peace.

i see win - win - win

#30 red stick

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 01:38

We'll see. Once Stewart lands somewhere, all the other dominoes should fall.

#31 pingu666

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 01:45

how many nascar races as dario contested/tried to qualy for

#32 mach4

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 01:53

Originally posted by Denier
Thank you sir.


That would be madam I believe.

#33 red stick

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 02:05

Originally posted by pingu666
how many nascar races as dario contested/tried to qualy for


We're 17 races in. He qualified for 10.

http://www.nascar.co...hi00/cup/#stats

#34 Rob G

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 02:23

Originally posted by pingu666
how many nascar races as dario contested/tried to qualy for

He raced 10 times, DNQ'd twice (Texas and Sonoma) and missed 5 races due to injury.

#35 random

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 02:59

My guess is that Dario has a solid contract. Possibly a multi-year contract. A contract that Chip (probably) just violated. I don't know what Ganassi is paying him, my guess would be 2 to 3 million per. There could even be big penalty fees if either side were to violate the deal.

Chip could offer to move Dario to the ugliest sportscars in the world or try to find room for him in IndyCars. If Dario had good management, his contract wouldn't force him to accept any ride outside Nascar. I suspect he contract doesn't.

Of course, I've never seen this particular contract and it may have had performance clauses or sponsorship clauses, who knows. Even so, I find it exceptionally difficult to believe Dario would leave IndyCar as the reigning champion and sign ANY deal that didn't contractually guarantee him at least One full season in Nascar. He didn't get his full season.

My take is that Chip knew he'd have to pay off Dario, but the pay-off will cost Chip less than continuing to run the whole team out of his pocket. Since I can't see him going back to IndyCars, I suspect Dario is about to get a big retirement bonus.

#36 pingu666

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:33

shame for the 70 guys, does it really take 70 guys to field a cup car?

#37 MacFan

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 04:26

Originally posted by random
My guess is that Dario has a solid contract. Possibly a multi-year contract.


That's how it was reported last year: http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/62964

Dmitriy_Guller
But you're ignoring the fact that Franchitti really sucks.


Laughable. Do I really need to point to his long-term record to show the idiocy of that comment?

#38 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 05:40

Originally posted by MacFan
Laughable. Do I really need to point to his long-term record to show the idiocy of that comment?

You're going to need a lot more than that. His long-term record is in Indycars, not NASCAR, so it doesn't do much to prove that he doesn't suck in NASCAR, which is what the discussion was about.

And speaking of his long-term record, it is not particularly impressive given that he spent ten years in top of the line teams. Yes, he was a good driver in Indycars, but was never the top dog. His long-term record suggests that while he may perform well if the stars are aligned, Dario is definitely not the quickest driver on his feet in challenging situations. He's David Coulthard of Indycar.

#39 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 06:24

Isn't Dario in for the rest of the Nationwide series, though?

You know those hilarious Wrigley Gum commercials with Juan?





He's an excellent "corporate puppet."

Has Dario even been in any commercials lately? Certainly no memorable ones.

There's more to this game than driving skill.

Look at Michael Waltrip.

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#40 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 06:37

Dario/#40 hasn't had the sponsors to do commercials for and has only done a handful of races. Montoya had a much higher profile and a much better CV and bigger sponsors when he became a TV star.

#41 Lazy Prodigy

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 06:51

Originally posted by Denier
CGR is shutting down the #40 team (Dario Franchitti) effective immediately and has laid off over 70 employees.

The #5 Hendrick car and the #20 CGR car must be looking awfully appealing to Montoya right now.

CGR shows no signs of progression; they are actually somehow regressing, despite being terrible to begin with.

Not good.

Source: http://www.jayski.com/cupnews.htm

Not supprising they have been a 30th organization since 2002 when Sterling Marlin got hurt. They have never been the same and the new cars makes them look worse because all the teams were suppose to even out the field. Maybe they could do better if they left dodge and go to Ford or toyota

#42 glorius&victorius

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 07:36

I am sure that Dario can find a good drive next year in IndyCar.

Shame on Ganassi though... OK, if there is no money then yes, you got to shut it down.. but things must have been not in place for Dario to perform well, and that is down to Ganassi management.

#43 potmotr

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 07:45

Originally posted by red stick

Suddenly, those stout little Daytona Prototypes look awfully safe.  ;)


It's just a shame they are so ugly! :lol:

I love sportscars and think it is great that the scene is flourishing in the states, but it would be so much better if the big Group C cars rather than those little slot cars1

#44 F1Fanatic.co.uk

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 07:53

Originally posted by potmotr
I'm not sure if your title is accurate. Chip's IRL team seems to be doing extremely well with Scott Dixon dominating the championship and wining the Indy 500.

That's what I thought! I'd like to see Ganassi add a third Indy Car and bring Franchitti in. I don't know if the economics would support it, but that's what I'd like.

#45 red stick

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 11:17

ESPN article on the issue pointing out, as we noted above, NASCAR team's precarious economics.

http://sports.espn.g...ht&lid=tab3pos2

#46 McGuire

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 11:36

Not really surprised to see John Fernandez gone. His role in the company was never very clear -- one extra layer of upper management. It's as though Ganassi hired him with the idea that here's a talented and connected guy, let him carve a slot for himself, but it seems that never happened. I am a little surprised that Stephen Lane is staying on, but pleased for him. Very sharp and motivated young guy.

#47 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 11:45

I think the tightness at the top of the grid is difficult, but not the primary concern.

In it's own way it's kind of like F1. It takes so much money to run at the front there are very few sponsors who can afford/need that coverage.

If you've only got 2million to spend in NASCAR, you won't get very much for it and probably won't recover most of it in straight up TV time (even though there's more to it than that). If you have 20million, you can get enough logo space on a big enough team to justify it. Ie a Budweiser. Who also (at least in the past) spends/spent a ton of activation money buying commercials, race coverage mentions, etc, et al.

So the problem is, where do you find these sponsors that can not only give you a big enough check to cover your season, but a big enough one to meet their own objectives. Not that many cars have single sponsors for the full year, they have a heavy rotation. You could say that's an indication that the big teams are so valuable they have more sponsors than they know what to do with. Knowing how NASCAR works and how difficult an environment it is, I think it's more that they can't find someone to cover the full year so have to cobble a multi-sponsor program together.

And in the old days sponsors didn't move around that much and there was an unwritten rule you didn't approach other people's sponsors. When I used to annoy Travis Carter with crazy ideas, none of them involved other team's backers even if they were struggling. Everyoe used to look at Sprint on the 45 and think "Yeah we can't match the Petty name,but we could probably do a better job" but you left them alone. It's like seeing a girl you like and trying to steal her from her boyfriend. She has to be ready to leave on her own. So the minute Sprint left Petty and Kodak left Morgan-McClure, everyone was lining up to pitch them. On the flip side, we had the National Guard first. Until they were sweet talked away and the guy in charge of the program got stars in his eyes and ran off to Roush. When that didn't go as well as they wanted it went to Hendrick, and when Dale Jr came along...

Since 2001 and 'new' NASCAR it's gotten a lot more uhm, hostile? It's gotten so expensive and so competitive, and once that sort of gentleman's rules about sponsorship were run over the first time, it's been pretty rough since. Hell there were a few occasions where NASCAR took money that would have/could have been a team sponsor. That's why there are so many usless Official Feather Boa of NASCAR and other absurdities.

It's an incredibly difficult series to sell sponsorship for despite it's appeal and success. It's ferociously competitive off the track.

#48 McGuire

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 12:30

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
So the problem is, where do you find these sponsors that can not only give you a big enough check to cover your season, but a big enough one to meet their own objectives. Not that many cars have single sponsors for the full year, they have a heavy rotation. You could say that's an indication that the big teams are so valuable they have more sponsors than they know what to do with. Knowing how NASCAR works and how difficult an environment it is, I think it's more that they can't find someone to cover the full year so have to cobble a multi-sponsor program together.


Good eye. There are relatively few companies that need or can afford a $20M-$25M program for a full year. Companies that can afford and use a three-race, $3M deal are far more numerous. Perhaps he only got onto it out of necessity, but give Robbie Gordon credit for being the first to spot that.

But it must be a very stressful route for a team marketing manager. His job never ends and meanwhile, companies can walk away from a $3M annual deal a lot easier than from a major investment.

#49 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 12:40

And NASCAR makes a pretty penny off the multiple diecasts the fans have to buy each year!

#50 PhillyF1Fan

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 13:58

In all honesty this move, dissolving Dario's team, does not surprise me. Going back to Target Chip Ganassi racing with Vasser and Zanardi, CG has always been a risk taker as well as ego maniac.

He likes to take bold moves to shake things up.

If you look at his Indycar program the success is well documented. And when it comes to running an indycar team from a business stand point where appeasing sponsors is a main priority, he has considerable leverage when increasing the amount of funds needed to grow a race team. Target is less hesistant to give more funds because they are certain, based on past performance, that their Target cars will be fighting at the front.

Now look at his Nascar program. Felix Sabates, while a historical figure in his own regard, ran a pretty poor team. Even before CG decided to enter Cup racing the Coors Light car sucked. And his other car(s) were so bad i dont even remember them. Now aside from Sterling Marlins one good season, the team Ganassi - Sabates racing has never been good.

Consider also the cars have more than one sponsor now, how could Chip ask for more money, which is what he needs most, while not having any results?

The answer is he cannot. So, in my opinion, the decision to dissolve one team, allows for more resources and focus to the remaining teams. This should make his current sponsors more willing to lend out more cash because it is a move that signals, "We know that what we have now isnt good enough and we are determined to change things for the better."

So all in all, things are not too bad for Chip and Felix.

As far as Dario is concerned, his management team surely did not do their homework. I also remember when Carl Hogan brought Franchitti into CART. That race in Toronto was Franchetti's to lose and sadly the brakes failed him.