Ganassi Racing in merger talks with DEI and Petty UPDATE #5 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi will combine their slumping race teams next season, an effort to stabilize their organizations in a tough economic time, The Associated Press has learned.
The combined team will be called Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and will field cars for Martin Truex, Aric Almirola, Juan Pablo Montoya and a driver yet to be named, two people familiar with the decision told the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal has yet to be announced.
Both organizations have struggled to secure sponsorship this season, forcing the teams to pool resources.
Truex and Almirola will come from Dale Earnhardt Incorporated; only Truex's car has full sponsorship for next season.
Montoya has half a season of sponsorship, and Ganassi's flagship No. 41 has full sponsorship but no driver.
DEI fields Chevrolets, and Ganassi has a Dodge contract. Details of a manufacturer switch still are being worked out as the team is expected to use General Motors. SI.com11/08/08 "Some of the rumors are true," Ganassi said. "Some of the rumors are not."
He also said "we're just waiting for a few other shoes to drop before we nail down a driver for the 41."
While he wouldn't speak to further specifics, Ganassi said that in general terms racing is battling the same economic issues other businesses are.
"Whatever business anybody is in right now, people think it is special for some reason," Ganassi said. "The oil business is special because it's the oil business. The car business is special because it's in Detroit. Racing is special because it's racing.
"The fact is, I don't think any of them are special. They're all just businesses. It's revenue and it's expenses and, hopefully, there's a little left over to buy lunch and grow your company.
"Things are tough right now and everybody has to do a little belt-tightening or adjusting or consolidating. There is consolidation in a lot of businesses right now. That's just the way of the world." 11/08/08 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today as Jayski reports the deal is nearly complete that will see Ganassi switching to Chevy and the deal waiting on GM's [Chevy] approval.
11/07/08 Word in the Phoenix paddock is that these talks have collapsed.
11/04/08 Chip Ganassi Racing has been part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup merger rumor mill throughout the summer and fall, having been linked to several teams, including Michael Waltrip Racing and Petty Enterprises, and now Dale Earnhardt Inc. appears to be in the mix as well.
The two sides have talked about an alliance or merger, according to a report at FoxSports.com that cited sources.
Both Ganassi and DEI executives have said in the last few weeks that there have been talks going on in the garage but would not give specifics.
“There’s a lot of things that are possible still,” DEI Vice President John Story said during the Atlanta race weekend. “Partnerships. Alliances. A lot of teams are talking about ways they can work together more closely. There’s a number of opportunities, a number of ideas that we’re looking at. I don’t know that I can put my finger on which direction we’ll go.”
Right now, Ganassi has full sponsorship from Target for the No. 41 Cup car next year, but a driver has not been signed. The team has announced a half-season sponsorship for Juan Pablo Montoya and Is looking for another sponsor to fill out the schedule.
DEI has Martin Truex Jr.’s car fully funded but has not announced primary sponsorship for any of its other three cars. Aric Almirola is under contract next year to drive the No. 8 car, while the other two DEI cars do not have drivers signed for next year.
The maximum number of Cup cars an organization can have is four, meaning DEI likely would have to drop two of its cars if it links up with Ganassi. Scenedaily.com
11/04/08 Felix Sabates was emphatic three months ago that the NASCAR Sprint Cup organization he co-owns with Chip Ganassi was not looking to merge with another company.
Now the company is negotiating with several organizations, including Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises.
"We're talking to a lot of different people," Sabates said on Tuesday. "We're keeping our options open. Obviously, the way things are going today with sponsors, unless you have the sponsors you can't run.
"We only have a sponsor for the 41 car [Target] and the 42 [Wrigley's Big Red] for half a year. We're looking at all possibilities." DEI and Petty Enterprises are in similar situations. DEI has only the No. 1 car of Martin Truex Jr. fully sponsored for next season, with partial sponsors in line for the No. 8 and none for its other two cars. zzzz
Petty Enterprises is looking for sponsors for the No. 43 and 44 that is expected to replace the No. 45.
So how would a merger with DEI help Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates?
"They have a sponsor for one and a half cars and we have a sponsor for one and a half cars, that makes three cars, doesn't it?" Sabates said. "The same thing with Petty. They've got one car. There are other people out there, too." ESPN.com