Two years ago, Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR operation was a mess. Ganassi, one of the most successful team owners in the history of IndyCar racing, was failing miserably at stock-car racing.
He had started out with a bang, winning two races and nearly capturing the Cup championship with veteran driver Sterling Marlin in 2001, the year after he purchased the majority of the team from Felix Sabates.
In 2002, he won two more races with Marlin and discovered a gem in Jamie McMurray, who won in just his second career start in relief of the injured Marlin.
But since then, it had been an uphill battle, with just one more victory and one Chase for the Sprint Cup appearance over the next seven years.
Now, Ganassi is on the verge of turning his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing organization into an elite NASCAR team.
Ganassi finally appears to have the drivers, cars and teams to challenge NASCAR’s top teams and organizations.
He has a ways to go to catch the championship-caliber operations of Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, but he is gaining on Richard Childress Racing and slumping Roush Fenway Racing.
And he’s putting a cloud of dust between his team and the second-tier operations that he had been scrambling to beat.
As good as Ganassi’s teams are in IndyCar and Grand-Am racing, his proudest accomplishment this year has to be the progress and success of his NASCAR operation.
Two years ago, Ganassi’s NASCAR team was a laughingstock, producing just three top-five and five top-10 finishes among two (or two and a half) teams. More at Fox News
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