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DATE News (chronologically)
08/09/11
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Ganassi "Heartbroken" Over Disappointing NASCAR Season  
Considered the most talented driver in NASCAR, Juan Montoya is straddled with Ganassi cars that are just not up to snuff. Too bad Montoya wasn't driving Ganassi's IndyCars instead.  He would me mopping up.  A shame really, another career of star open wheel talent wasted in NASCAR
Ganassi:  “A year ago, we had the best cars … and we just lost our way right here in this building.”

Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi sat down with Steve Byrnes on NASCAR Race Hub (Monday through Thursday at 7 p.m. ET) for an interview that aired Tuesday evening on SPEED.  The IndyCar Series/NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner discussed his NASCAR team’s dismal season in which neither Jamie McMurray nor Juan Pablo Montoya have a win or a legitimate chance of making the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. 

Following is a transcript from the interview:

Byrnes: Are you disappointed on the NASCAR side based on the year you had a year ago versus where we sit now?

Ganassi:
“Very disappointed.  Very disappointed.  I’m heartbroken, to tell you the truth.  We lost our way a bit. A year ago, we had the best cars.  A year ago, we had the best engines.  And we just lost our way here right in this building.  I think our engines … we were on the ragged edge of our engines and we had some engine problems.  It’s a cycle thing and I’d like to think we’re in the bottom of the cycle right now.  We have some work to do.  I just came out of some meetings this morning on that subject.”


Byrnes: A year ago, we were talking about how disappointed Roush Fenway was.  You talk about that cycle.  But how difficult is it as an organization to get things pointed in the right direction?

Ganassi
:  “I’ve been in this position before so I think it’s just everybody has to get down and buckle down and work a little harder.  It’s no big secret.  There’s no magic.  There’s no silver bullet either.  It’s just a lot of little things that we need to get back on, get focused on, get back to work on.  They all know what to do.  It’s just sort of outlining what we want to do, give them a plan and go attack the plan.”

Byrnes: Do you look at Jamie McMurray as a guy who is trying to live up to expectations? Is he putting too much pressure on himself?

Ganassi: 
“No.  No.  We’re not giving him the car.  We’re not giving him the car to drive – both of our guys.  It’s plain and simple.  You can look at the numbers.  We’re not giving them the equipment they need to be at the front that’s equal to the other people’s equipment right now.  It’s our job.  Both of our guys are capable of being in the Chase.  We just haven’t given them the right equipment to do it with. It’s on us, believe me.”
 
Byrnes: You had to make a decision with Brian Pattie.  How tough was that?

Ganassi
:  “Very tough.  Brian came up … he’s been a part of this company for a lot of years and came up through our Nationwide.  He was a crew chief in Nationwide and had us some wins there.  I’m the guy that talked him into doing Cup.  He didn’t want to go Cup racing.  He wanted to stay in Nationwide.  I talked him into it and he was a great guy.  I think Brian has a lot of talent but like a lot of people, there are some places he needs some work.  And it wasn’t working out.  So we’ll see.  Going into the future, I have a meeting coming up with Brian in a couple of weeks and whether he wants to be a part of this team going forward or not, we’ll find out.  I hate to lose a guy like that.  He has a lot of talent.  I wouldn’t want to see a lot of our information go flying out the door.  But if that’s what ultimately happens, I guess it has to be.  But I think Brian is a pretty talented guy.”

Byrnes: What is your overall assessment of the on-track product we have right now in NASCAR?

Ganassi
:  “Last year, I thought it was great.  This year I don’t give it much credit (laughing).  That’s a joke.  It’s good.  It’s good racing.  It’s damn good racing.  It’s just damn hard, too.”
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