Ganassi in Garage – Dover September 23, 2007Posted by claireblang in Drivers, NASCAR, Teams.
I just left an interview with NEXTEL Cup team owner Chip Ganassi at the Ganassi Hauler in the garage here at Dover. Ganassi says, yes, he is trying to get newly crowned Indy Racing League Series champion Dario Franchitii into the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) series race at Talladega, Ala. Oct. 5 – the first step in a move into a stock car racing career for Franchitti.
Here are some of the things I asked Ganassi:
CBL: Does he know for sure that that is what he wants to do or is he still testing the waters to come to NASCAR?
Ganassi: No, No he definately wants to do it. He definately wants to do it. Yea. I don’t think it’s a question of testing the waters.
CBL: 36 races is he ready to do?
Ganassi: Yea, Yea.
CBL: Why start with ARCA?
Ganassi: Well, I think it’s just…..what we tried to do with Juan was get him to all the tracks as many tracks as we could and as many different types of circuits you know superspeedways, mile and a halfs, short tracks. You want to get him on a variety of places in a variety of situations while he’s still learning.”
CBL: You said he (Franchitti) wants to come – is he bringing a sponsor with him to you?
Ganassi: No, no. He is not bringing a sponsor. No one, those drivers, ever brought me sponsors.
Other Ganassi comments in the garage:
Ganassi also said of Franchitti, “He’s a candidate for our team next year, yes,” but stopped short of saying that Franchitti was candidate for the Ganassi fielded #40 car. He said “We’re trying to get him in there (the Talladega ARCA race) – we have a few little hurdles yet left to get done before we can announce something but we’re feverishly working at it and we’re confident that we’re going to be able to put something together with him.
Ganassi added, “I’ve never had anybody buy a ride on our team.”
As to Ganassi IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon’s interest in NASCAR, Ganassi said, “Dan and I have talked time and time again and he’s fine with staying where he is for a couple of years. He didn’t get pushed off to the side or anything like that. It’s nothing like that at all. He’s fine doing what he’s doing. He wants to continue to do that and you know we’ll look at it. We’re constanting looking at it with Dan to see where he wants to be and when and how and I am happy as long as he’s with our team and he says he wants to be with our team and we want him to do whatever he wants to do with it.”
Ganassi said this trend of open wheel drivers showing interest in NASCAR is not unusual – adding that every race driver in the United States has interest in the top levels of the sport.