Sponsorship woes kill off Franchitti’s NASCAR season

By Andy Darley

CalendarTuesday, July 1st, 2008


Dario Franchitti’s debut NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign, already disrupted by poor results, broken bones and failures to qualify for races, is now over for good after team owner Chip Ganassi shut him down due to lack of sponsorship.

Ganassi, who operates two other cars in NASCAR and a pair in the IRL, said he was anguished at having to make the decision, but he could not afford to continue to run the car without funding.

He and co-owner Felix Sabates have laid off most of the crew of the #40 car, Ganassi said: “This is a difficult decision for Felix and I that did not come without its share of anguish. In this tough business environment continuing to run the car without proper funding has become increasingly difficult.

“If I keep going I run the risk of dragging the other two teams down. I don’t want to do that. There’s no money. It makes no sense to be running this out of my pocket. I had to put a stop to it.”

However he said he remained committed to Franchitti’s development in stock cars and hoped the Scot would be able to complete his season in the lower-rated Nationwide season, where the #40 car has sponsorship.

Franchitti is said to be disappointed with the decision, but understood it.

The reigning IndyCar champion has had a troubled start to his NASCAR career, missing five races with a fractured ankle and failing to qualify for two more. His best Sprint Cup finish is 22nd, though he has placed higher in the Nationwide Cup.

3 responses to “Sponsorship woes kill off Franchitti’s NASCAR season”:

  1. Sponsorship woes kill off Franchitti’s NASCAR season Says:

    July 1st, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    […] Go to the author’s original blog: Sponsorship woes kill off Franchitti’s NASCAR season […]

  2. Keith Collantine Says:

    July 2nd, 2008 at 8:00 am

    I’m hoping…

    (a) He goes back to Indy Car, preferably in a third car run by Ganassi
    (b) With no British drivers in NASCAR Sky stop wasting their time with it and put live Indy Car on instead

    I’m an optimist, I know!

  3. Andy Says:

    July 2nd, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Ye Gods – a Dixon / Wheldon / Franchitti combo is a scary thought. Kanaan’s out of contract with AGR at the end of the year too and is said to be considering a move. Could be some serious musical chairs to come.

    But I’m not sure anyone can afford to add cars at the moment – Foyt wants to, Rahal Letterman would like to, but neither has the funding. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Roth Racing fails to make it to season’s end.

    As for televising NASCAR – I caught a bit of it on Five a while back and it looked about as interesting as watching traffic on the roundabout at my local motorway junction. Really don’t know why that should be when open-wheelers on ovals are compelling to watch, but there you go.

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