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Ganassi may release McMurrayUPDATE #2 This rumor is of course 'fact' now based on recent news. 10/16/05 Penske South officials remain optimistic that Kurt Busch will replace Rusty Wallace in 2006, but they say it will not happen unless Jamie McMurray is released to join Roush Racing. That would open the door for a three-way deal in which Penske would get Busch, Roush would get McMurray and Chip Ganassi Racing would get a driver to replace McMurray. “Jamie has to get free first,” said Penske Race president Don Miller before Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “That’s the only way it’s going to work.” Roush president Geoff Smith agreed. “For us, that’s step one,” he said of McMurray, who is signed for the 2007 season to drive Busch’s No. 97 car. “They know what our criteria are. I believe there are discussions with Chip from Penske.” Ganassi, who has insisted for months that he would not release McMurray, softened his stance this weekend, saying he would be willing to listen. “I need a solution, not a pile of money,” he told reporters. “I need a driver to replace Jamie.” Because of tampering rules, most of the talks are between Busch’s attorneys and the attorneys at Penske and Roush Racing. Smith said he has made sure Busch’s lawyers have a list of available drivers that might interest Ganassi. But Smith and team owner Jack Roush said that driver will not come from Roush Racing. “I am not in negotiations for, nor do I have any personal preference to having him driving my car in 2006,” Roush said of McMurray, who originally was signed to replace Mark Martin in the No. 6 before Busch announced his deal with Penske for 2007. “I want him in my car in 2007. If things develop so he’s available, then there will be something (done) about that. I’m not going to offer up a junior driver and two choices in the future.” The State
10/15/05 Chip Ganassi has softened his stance regarding driver Jamie McMurray, who wants out of his contract so he can drive for Roush Racing. McMurray signed a contract in July to drive for Roush beginning in 2007, hoping that the early announcement would force Ganassi to let him leave at the end of this year. Ganassi steadfastly refused to even negotiate an early release. But on Friday, Ganassi sounded a little bit more flexible about finding a solution.
"There are no talks at this time, but there could be if someone came to me with a solution," Ganassi said. "I need a solution, not a pile of money. I need a driver to replace Jamie." The McMurray situation got complicated when Kurt Busch said he was leaving Roush to drive for Penske Racing in 2007. Penske has an opening next season in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge because Rusty Wallace is retiring and would like to put Busch in the car right away. But Roush will not let Busch leave because it would give him two holes to fill: Busch's ride, plus the seat McMurray was supposed to fill upon Mark Martin's retirement. It was believed Roush and Penske were trying to work out a deal, but any solutions would likely have to include Ganassi giving McMurray an early release. "Look, I am not going to be Jack Roush or Roger Penske's whipping boy," Ganassi said. "I'm the end of the line on this thing and I'm trying to put together my team, too." If nothing changes, Martin has indicated he will postpone retirement and drive one more season for Roush in the #6 Ford. If that happens, Roush said he'd likely put McMurray in Busch's seat and move Todd Kluever up to Martin's ride in 2007. ESPN.com/AP
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