Volume III, Issue 12, Page 14

I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Dodges and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC

Ganassi Dumps Dodge for Chivvy

12/2/08

ast time we was talkin’ wild-ass merger rumors. Well, Mopar folk, here’s one that’s already done happened. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, (CGRFS) has thrown in with none other than Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI). Heck, they didn’t even wait until the season was over! In the process, the easy-to-‘member name of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates was created. Lemme see, that’d be EGRWFS, right? They’ll start off their little merger at the Daytona 500, February 15 as a four car team. If’n you wanna keep score, it’ll likely pan out like this: Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the 1 and 42 respectively and up and comer, Aric Almirola, will wheel the famous No. 8. They say, “The driver of the No. 41 will be named in the near future.” Cars 40 and 15 are history. Back then, we talked about how one of the first things they’d have to deal with would be to decide which kind of car they were gonna run. Well, it’s done, and it’s Bye-Bye Dodge and Hello Chivvy for CGRFS. And Dodge sez they understand. If’n y’all wanna buy any Dodge racers, call Chip.

Ganassi sez, "In this ultra-competitive era of NASCAR, it is necessary to build and sustain the strongest team possible and our combining with the people and equipment at Dale Earnhardt Inc. will help create a strong four-car program for years to come."

His new partner, Teresa Earnhardt, sez, "This is a win-win for both organizations as well as all of our partners. Having a partner like Chip, who is heavily involved on the competition side of the business, is an ideal situation for DEI. He has a long history of managing championship teams in the IndyCar and Rolex Grand-Am Series and I share his passion and goals of winning races and ultimately championships in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I think this is a case where we are stronger together than we are apart."

Now y’all can break down into small discussion groups if you want, but if’n you look at this deal in a purely business way, it makes sense for both teams. They was both losing sponsors and having to cut her back from four cars to three and then two. Both teams ended the year with two cars and two drivers and maybe not so much for corporate partners but that’s another story that is being worked on by both, I reckon.

So where does that new EGRWFS –WXYZ deal leave Dodge’s NASCAR team? Well, with two to four fewer Dodges. And that might play into what’s been going on with the economy. Dodge has already cut back some, saying they’re not gonna back any more NASCAR trucks. (Now we’re hearing the one Dodge truck team has shut down.) So if they need to shave down their Sprint Cup inventory, there’s less in the barn, now. That’ll leave Gillette Everham (soon to be Gillette only?) and their four cars and Roger Penske and his three. (Roger, you thinking FOUR?)

But that kinda deal can go both ways. As a smaller clan, they can make changes quicker instead of by committee. But if’n you ‘member this last Daytona 500, it was the number of Dodges that pulled off that win. With less cars in the pack, it’s gonna be bad damn tough to make a dent in those Chivvys and Furds when it comes to winning races and titles. And this might just put pressure on Dodge itself to come up with a few more goodies to make them Chargers run faster.

And don’t ya know, it looks like that new Dodge motor done dropped in at just the right time. They had it all done before this depression stuff started and it just may be the most advanced racing motor to come outta Detroit for a season or two – or at least until the economy gets its pants back on. That could make the Dodges THE car to have in the short term and that’d be slicker than owl poop.

I ‘spose we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, though. We need to remember, no matter what, the Dodges will be the minority team next year. And ‘cuzza that, we can’t expect them to burn the other guys down every week. But hey, with over 300 boys gettin’ let go from Charlotte shops, next year ain’t gonna be a cakewalk for nobody. NASCAR’s trying to help some, too. They done outlawed ALL testing for the top three divisions on any track that has a race in those three series. That’ll save some scratch but it will also have any boys that work the testing rigs packing up their toolboxes, too.

And in the middle of that merger bombshell, another deal everyone’s been yapping about went mercifully down in flames. That’d be the deal where GM and Dodge were gonna go off into the sunset, hand in hand. I don’t know ‘bout you, but when that one blew up, I was happier than cousin Sonny when he won that million dollar lottery. (Poor Sonny. After he done creatively quit his job at the mill - lucky his boss never did press charges - he found out that 44 other people won on that same ticket, too.)

Anyway, I gots to tell ya, I was sweating out GM and Dodge throwing in together. It was bothering me a terrible sum and this Turkey Day I give thanks that it didn’t happen. So now, I don’t have to write about no 2010 Viper-Ette with a new Hemi LS motor. I don’t have to write about any Char-Palas Imp-Gers running in NASCAR. And I sure as Hell won’t have to learn how to spell ‘Dodgerolet’ or ‘Chevodge’ or whatever crazy name those marketing pinheads woulda come up with to celebrate this oh-so-special occasion.

Now, I guess Dodge is talking to Nissan but, like we said over on the Chevy page, who gives a rat’s ass.