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.