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Franchitti to replace Sorenson?UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with the announcement today by Target Chip Ganassi Racing that Dario Franchitti will replace Dan Wheldon in the No. 10 IndyCar next year.
08/28/08 Chip Ganassi President Steve Lauletta isn’t looking up in the sky and waiting for a boulder to fall on the team.
Yes, in the last week the team saw Texaco announce it was leaving as a half-season sponsor for Juan Pablo Montoya and driver Reed Sorenson announce he has signed with Gillett Evernham Motorsports for 2009. But the team has known those moves could happen.
“We’re not surprised by any of this stuff,” Lauletta said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I’m the exact opposite of being in a state of panic. … We’re moving in the right direction.”
Sorenson’s departure was announced Tuesday, leaving an opening for the No. 41 Cup car sponsored by Target. Sorenson is 31st in the driver standings in his third Cup season. Lauletta said the team hopes to have a new driver named quickly.
“A lot of people have called,” Lauletta said. “Chip, being a driver's owner so to speak, whenever there is a seat in any of the cars available, a lot of people call.
“We’re working through our options. … I don’t think there’s one thing that we’re looking for that’s going to weigh the decision one way or another.”
Dario Franchitti, whose Sprint Cup team was shut down midway through this season, is a candidate for the ride.
“I’ve talked to Dario and he’s talked to Chip,” Lauletta said. “He’s done a great job since getting back in the Nationwide [Series] car since we shut down the [Cup car] and his leg healed [from a Talladega crash].
“We feel like he’s definitely somebody that we’re going to talk to and a candidate as well as a number of others that are not with the organization.”
Target, which also sponsors Ganassi’s two IndyCar teams, also will play a role in the decision.
“They played a role in the conversations that we were having with Reed and ultimately the decision of deciding to kind of both of us move in different directions,” Lauletta said. “They’ll play a role in what the future holds from a driver perspective.
“It’s a team of drivers with the two IRL guys and then the NASCAR driver, and we want to make sure that person fits in with what Target wants to do from a marketing perspective.” Scene Daily
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