Ganassi Proud of Team's Success
Jim Utter, Charlotte Observer
Chip Ganassi has had a historic season as a motorsports car owner.
He’s won the IndyCar Series championship and the Grand-Am Rolex Series title. He’s won NASCAR’s two biggest races, the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 500.
And be became the first owner to win the “triple crown” in the same season this year, with wins at Daytona, the Brickyard and the Indianapolis 500.
With all those accomplishments, which one does Ganassi relish most?
“The thing I am most proud of is every one of my drivers in every series we compete in has won a race and been to Victory Lane at least once this season,” said Ganassi, a former IndyCar driver himself.
“When you look the different types of racing we are a part of and the teams we have, for all of them to be able to experience a trip to Victory Lane, I think, is special.”
The Ganassi organization has set a team record with 19 wins so far this season – four in NASCAR, nine in Grand-Am and six in IndyCar. It still has a chance to add to that total with two Sprint Cup Series races remaining in the 2010 season.
While Ganassi may be relatively “new” to NASCAR, his success in stock car racing is on par with other, more veteran organizations.
Only Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing have won with more than one driver this season. And only two of those – Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin – have won more races than Jamie McMurray, who has three wins.
The only thing Ganassi was not able to achieve this year was having McMurray or Juan Pablo Montoya qualify for NASCAR's Chase.
With McMurray’s victories in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, Ganassi isn’t disappointed about missing out on a title run.
“Without question, I’ll take that same trade-off again for next year if I had to,” Ganassi said. “The Daytona 500 is big. The Brickyard is big.”
Ganassi, a car owner since 1990, has 12 total motorsports championships and the four Cup wins by McMurray and Montoya are the most ever from his NASCAR operation in a single season.
But there is still something missing on the NASCAR side – a championship.
Ganassi was close in 2002 with driver Sterling Marlin, but after leading the series standings for a large part of the season, Marlin missed the last seven races due to a neck injury. Montoya qualified for the Chase in 2009 but ended up finishing eighth in the final standings.
“There are plenty of races left that I would like to win, but the thing I’d like to do, the obvious one of course, is a NASCAR title,” Ganassi said.
“Look, in the history of sports there are lots of successful athletes who haven’t won championships: Dan Marino never won the Super Bowl, Mark Martin hasn’t won a championship. That doesn’t take away from their accomplishments.
"We have been in position to win a championship before with Sterling and with Juan, but it didn’t pan out. I hope to have plenty of more opportunities.”