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Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 NXS car chief passes away
Ryan Shea, car chief for the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, died Wednesday night at his home in Troutman, North Carolina, according to the team. He was 34. "It is a sad day for our team as we mourn the untimely loss of Ryan," team owner Chip Ganassi said in a team release. "Ryan was a dedicated worker and a great friend to those on our team, as well as others in the garage. Our hearts go out to Ryan’s family and friends during this difficult time." Shea had previously worked at Michael Waltrip Racing before joining CGR in 2015. Kyle Larson and Justin Marks have been behind the wheel of the No. 42 this season. My thoughts on the passing of Ryan Shea: pic.twitter.com/XzKUBibck1 — Justin Marks (@JMarksDE) March 31, 2016 "Ryan was a tremendous asset to Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 42 team and will be sorely missed," said crew chief Mike Shiplett. "My thoughts go out to his wife, children, family and friends in this time of mourning." Chip Ganassi Racing will communicate further details regarding funeral arrangements and memorials as they become available. A GoFundMe page has been established to take donations for Ryan's family -- go here to see it. Also, CGR cars will have a special decal on their Chevrolets this weekend. The NASCAR community collectively offered its condolences to the team and the Shea family on Twitter: Just heard the news of Ryan Shea passing away in his sleep. A great person and great worker in the industry.. Prayers with his wife & kids — Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) March 31, 2016 Ryan Shea will be greatly missed by this community. He is a model to follow in this sport. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. — JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) March 31, 2016 Wow shocked to hear about the passing of Ryan Shea. He was my car chief in 2006. Thoughts and prayers to Cory and the Shea family. — Kevin Conway (@TheKevinConway) March 31, 2016 Very sad day @CGRnascar as we lost one of our teammates far too soon. Keep Ryan's family in prayers #RIPRyanShea https://t.co/lwHv4UwIUl — Steve Lauletta (@slauletta) March 31, 2016 Thoughts and prayers to Ryan Shea and his family — Jeff Burton (@JeffBurton) March 31, 2016 It takes days like today to remember just how fragile life is. Shea was a great teammate and he is already deeply missed. — Ashley Parlett (@Just_AP) March 31, 2016 Thoughts and Prayers for Ryan Shea, his wife and kids! Such sad news. — Chris Osborne (@crazy_spotter) March 31, 2016
Chip Ganassi always up for next racing challenge
SEBRING, Fla. -- Fans practically contorted themselves to get the perfect "selfies" and random close-ups of Chip Ganassi's two Ford GT cars on the grid awaiting Saturday's green flag for the 64th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Dressed in their finest Ford, Chevrolet Corvette and even Ferrari and Porsche T-shirts and hats, the crowd around Ganassi's two red-white-and-blue entries was easily the largest on the starting grid. The curious and adoring fans examined the rear wing, peered into the car's windows and asked crewman to pose for photos. And there were audible bursts of "ohhh and ahhh" in various inflections and languages. Unlike most race events, the fancy sports cars parked in the infield lots didn't belong to the drivers or team executives, but instead to the highly devoted sports car fans who attend the famous Twelve Hours of Sebring dressed in Mark Donohue shirts with prototype car silhouettes on their cap. NASCAR Hall of Famers Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte have competed at Sebring as have Ricky Rudd and Michael Waltrip . While no former NASCAR drivers were entered this weekend, Sprint Cup team owners Ganassi and Rob Kauffman, who competed here with Michael Waltrip in 2012, were on hand to see their Fords compete in what is considered one of the world's greatest races. Ganassi's team won this race in a prototype class car in 2014. "The big thing is to get some distance in them," Ford driver Joey Hand told the crowd Saturday. "But the cars look fast and they are fast." Going the distance is the big challenge. The brand new Ford GT EcoBoosts had a few hiccups in their Rolex 24 debut, but in all fairness, had only turned laps a couple weeks before the race during a massive test session. It was a tricky debut at Daytona for the new cars, but the team is quite confident it has learned from the growing pains and repaired the glitches. They led laps and kept pace at Daytona and Saturday was all about increasing the performance further. "The good thing about it all, and the thing we are pleased about, is the car is showing some pace, it is showing some opportunity, and overall we are happy that we have a fast car and we need to work on reliability,’" Ford Motor Company's executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer, Raj Nair said after Daytona. "That's a lot better than having a slow car that's reliable, but you don't know how to get speed out of it. Overall, this is racing and this is what can happen in racing . If we don't win every race, we are disappointed, but at the same time we know how to fix our issues and we'll be better the next time we come out." The whole program is a major undertaking for Ganassi , who has won Daytona 500 , Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 and 12 Hours of Sebring trophies already. But the quest is as sentimental as it is ambitious. A win at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans is the next great trophy Ganassi desires -- and a victory there would certainly add to what is absolutely already one of the greatest resumes in racing history. "I think it’s obviously something that's been on our radar screen for a couple years," Ganassi said standing alongside his car Saturday, enjoying the large and curious crowd. "It's going to be a challenge and we're hopeful we can put Ford forward the way they want to be represented. We look forward to it. "The greatest events attract the greatest teams and the greatest challenges. That's why we look forward to it. "And it's nice to go over there with an American company. That's pretty cool."
Credit One bank partners with NASCAR, Chip Ganassi Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 12, 2016) – One of the largest and fastest growing credit card issuers in the United States, Credit One Bank has entered into a multi-year partnership with NASCAR to include official agreements with both the sanctioning body and one of the most successful teams in auto- racing , Chip Ganassi Racing . The collaborations designate Credit One Bank as the "Official Credit Card of NASCAR," in addition to being a partner of Chip Ganassi Racing . As part of the agreement with NASCAR, Credit One Bank will offer fans officially licensed NASCAR-themed credit cards. Credit One Bank will also be the primary sponsor of the No. 1 Chevrolet, piloted by "2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup " contender Jamie McMurray for three races, as well as an associate partner throughout the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) campaign. The No. 1 Credit One Bank Chevy SS will debut on the track at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) on April 24. "Our partnerships with both NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing will introduce the benefits of Credit One Bank card membership to a new audience of consumers," said Laura Faulkner, vice president of marketing communications, Credit One Bank. "With the Official Credit Card of NASCAR, fans can further their love of racing with a rewards program that complements that same passion. We also look forward to supporting Jamie McMurray in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series." Credit One Bank offers full spectrum credit card products, and is among the top 10 largest Visa credit card issuers in the United States. Credit One Bank will offer cash back rewards, exclusive experiences, discounts, and special offers to their NASCAR Visa ® card members. The inaugural card design will feature NASCAR official marks and exciting race imagery, with additional designs to be released throughout the season. Fans can apply for the official NASCAR credit card by visiting www.CreditOneBank.com/NASCAR . "We could not be happier with Credit One Bank's fully integrated campaign to introduce its brand to our industry, stakeholders, and most importantly, our fans," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "As our entire industry gears up for Daytona 500 weekend, this new agreement signals that NASCAR is still one of the most effective marketing spends in all of sports." Credit One Bank will utilize 2010 Daytona 500 champion McMurray as a spokesperson to promote its brand and the Official Credit Card of NASCAR. The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season will be McMurray's 14th full-time year in NASCAR’s premier division. McMurray has seven career NSCS wins and 11 pole awards. McMurray is one of only three drivers to have won the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in a single season (2010). "This announcement is really exciting news for our team, but it is also a testament to our sport when a company like Credit One Bank recognizes the power of brands like NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing . It is always nice to see new brands come to the sport and make a commitment like Credit One Bank has with this news," said Steve Lauletta, president, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. "We are excited to have Credit One Bank onboard the No. 1 Chevrolet with Jamie McMurray and look forward to working with them to introduce their products and services to NASCAR fans everywhere." The Credit One Bank NASCAR marketing campaign will also include national television advertising, network and satellite radio advertising, sweepstakes and promotions, at-track marketing, unique retail partnerships and card member experiences for NASCAR fans.
Brennan Poole to drive full-time for Chip Ganassi Racing in XFINITY Series
Brennan Poole will compete full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Chip Ganassi Racing this season, an opportunity that the Woodlands, Texas, native called "a dream come true." "It's emotional; you really can't put it into words," the 24-year-old told NASCAR.com. "To run for a championship at the NASCAR level is something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember." CGR will field two XFINITY Series entries this year, the No. 48 Chevrolet for Poole with funding from DC Solar, and the No. 42 that will feature Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson for 17 races. A second driver has yet to be named for the No. 42 for the remaining 16 races. Former Roush Fenway Racing crew chief Chad Norris, paired with drivers Darrell Wallace Jr . (20 races) and Ryan Reed (13) last season, will serve as crew chief. "I'm confident that in our renewed partnership with Chip Ganassi , 2016 is going to be a winning season, and that DC Solar will continue to successfully engage and educate the NASCAR audience on solar energy and the DC Solar brand," Jeff Carpoff, president and CEO of DC Solar, said. "We couldn't be more excited to return to the track with Brennan and competing for a championship." Poole ran a limited schedule in '15, splitting seat time with Larson in the No. 42 entry when the organization ran under the HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing banner. In 17 starts, he finished in the top 15 on 10 occasions with a best result of ninth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . The Las Vegas start was his very first in the series. Much of the previous two seasons was spent as a spotter and working with Dartfish, a video software analysis program, "and just trying to get in a car whenever I could," Poole said. In spite of the limited seat time, Poole said he felt the team had "some great runs" last year. "Obviously we still want to improve on them and be better," he said. "I feel like we've shown at times we've been capable of really having not just a good weekend but a great weekend. As long as we continue to build on that and keep moving in the right direction, I'm really excited about what we can do." Poole, who has one career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, is a six-time winner in the ARCA Series. The full-time opportunity with Ganassi , which fields Sprint Cup entries for Larson and Jamie McMurray , is the latest step in what he hopes will be a long career behind the wheel. "I can't put into words what it means to be part of such a great team," Poole said. "There are only so many owners in the garage and I'm with one of the best. To have someone like that believe in you, it's crazy."
Tune-in: Watch Chip Ganassi Racing's 'Sound Garage'
Chip Ganassi Racing will host its second annual Sound Garage event on Monday evening at the team shop -- and you can watch the action on NASCAR.com. Following the success of last year's event, which is geared toward millenials, the 2015 outing will feature recording artist A Thousand Horses as well as Ganassi's diverse stable of young drivers. That list includes Kyle Larson , Sage Karam, Dylan Kwasniewski , Sebastian Saavedra and Brennan Poole . Tonight's stream will run from 8 to 9 p.m. ET. Come back then to watch the action.
CGR announces Generation Ganassi Driver Identification Program
CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 6, 2015) -- There have been few bigger proponents of young racing talent anywhere in the sport than Championship race Team Owner Chip Ganassi . For over 25 years he has identified, hired and developed some of the best young racing talent from all around the world. Subsequently, Chip Ganassi and his Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) announced today the creation of the Generation Ganassi (Gen G) racing talent identification program, a mentorship that will look to identify and assist North America's young and talented race car drivers. The program identifies 13-18 year old drivers as "Ones to Watch" in the world of auto racing and offers professional guidance to aid in fostering their growth within the sport of auto racing . The first recipient of the 2016 Generation Ganassi moniker is a 15-year-old driver from Canada named Devlin Defrancesco. Defrancesco has been racing karts since 2009 where he has had much success including winning the Canadian National Junior Championship in 2013 and also named Vice-Champion of the CSAI Italian Championship. In 2015, he joined British racing team Carlin to prepare for races in the FIA Formula 4 Championship. NOTES OF INTEREST • Gen G - Generation Ganassi : Each year, CGRT will identify at least 10 young drivers from karting, sprint cars, modified, midgets, late model, etc. and each will be paired with one current CGRT driver, a CGRT racing competition person and also someone from CGRT business operations to help guide them through the turbulent waters of auto racing . In addition, each Gen G winner will get the Gen G logo to display on their car, helmet and firesuit. Gen G takes its name from the Generation X, Y and Z monikers given to new demographic groups. Gen G will now refer to the young race car driver that aspires to take racing from simply a passion to a profession. • A History of Spotting Talent: CGRT owner Chip Ganassi has a long history for identifying and developing young driver talent, from former drivers like Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya to current talent like Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray , Kyle Larson and Sage Karam. Ganassi drivers have won eight Rookie of the Year Awards with drivers Eddie Cheever (Verizon IndyCar Series), Zanardi (Verizon IndyCar Series), Montoya (Verizon IndyCar Series/NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), McMurray (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) and Larson (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and K&N Pro Series East). • How To Be Considered: Gen G is open to any young drivers between the ages of 13-18 in any form of stock car or open wheel racing program anywhere in the country. Candidates must complete an online application process including basic background questions and a brief video essay answering why they should be selected to enter the program. Submission of a video that highlights their racing achievements, interaction with family and friends and personality is also encouraged. The application window for the first full class will be open today and the deadline for submissions Jan. 31, 2016 with the winners being announced in March 2016. QUOTEBOARD Chip Ganassi , Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: "I have always been very passionate about trying to give back to the racing community as it has given me so much throughout my life. I have always had a real interest in finding and trying to develop young racing talent and over the years have even experienced success in doing it. This is simply an effort to give young drivers a 'leg up' as they navigate the turbulent waters of auto racing . The hope is that a program like this can make a difference in some drivers' careers." Devlin Defrancesco, 15-year-old Kart Driver: "I couldn't be happier to be the first recipient of the Generation Ganassi award. To be identified by Chip Ganassi is not only an honor but also something that I will use as motivation to live up to the standards that Chip and his organization has always had for their drivers. This is a big day for me."
The Rundown: Talladega driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Breaking down the full field for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway : 1. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski stayed out of trouble all day, and that was the difference in picking up his second win of the year and fourth at Talladega. Big pushes from Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch helped, too. Keselowski led a race-high 46 laps, including the final 17. Grade: A+ 2. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The No. 18 was stout all day and kept Busch ahead of the crashes, although the 18 did receive a nudge at the outset of the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. He finished second for the second consecutive week for his eighth top-five finish of the season. Grade: A+ 3. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Car chief Greg Osborne summed up Dillon's day on Twitter: "We pitted 17 times. Wrecked 4 times. Ran out of tires. We were 32nd 1 lap down. We NEVER quit." Dillon was thrilled with the finish and credited the team for not panicking: "It was wrecked, and we finished third!" Grade: A+ 4. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Despite being collected in the 21-car wreck on Lap 161, McMurray scored his first top five of the season. It was his seventh at Talladega, tying the superspeedway with Charlotte for McMurray's most top-five finishes. Grade: A 5. Chase Elliott, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott started from the pole and led the first 13 laps and 27 overall. Even though he posted his third top-five finish in the past four races, Elliott said the No. 24 team was "pretty lucky to get where we got to." He avoided trouble -- and all the wrecks -- by running near the front most of the race. Grade: A 6. Tony Stewart /Ty Dillon, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart made his second start of the season, but unlike last week at Richmond, he didn't finish the race. Stewart, who missed the first eight races of the season because of a back injury, gave way to Dillon -- as planned -- during the second caution. Dillon then navigated through two big, multicar accidents to bring home the No. 14 with its second top 10 of the season. Stewart gets the points and the top-10 finish, but it doesn't take away the spotlight from Dillon. Grade: A+ 7. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Bowyer survived involvement in the 12-car wreck on Lap 161 to post his best finish of the season and second top 10 in the past three races. Grade: A 8. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch was the catalyst for the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 when he got into the back of Jimmie Johnson while running in the top 10. Busch emerged unscathed to restart fourth. Later, he couldn't hold the lead after the last restart on Lap 186 and is now 0-for-61 in restrictor-plate races. Grade: C. 9. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney survived the 21-car wreck on Lap 161, and the 12-car wreck on Lap 181 happened right behind him. His good fortune resulted in his third top 10 of the season. Grade: A 10. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . A speeding penalty on his first pit stop was no omen. Bayne spent plenty of time in the top five on Sunday, while leading 22 laps. (He led 12 laps in the previous nine races.) His average running position was 8.6, fourth best, and that -- along with good fortune -- kept him out of every wreck Sunday. Grade: A 11. Landon Cassill, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Cassill had an eventful day to find himself just outside the top 10 with one lap to go after surviving a pit-road penalty on his first stop and eluding big trouble in the race's two biggest multicar wrecks. But his grade drops a notch because it was Cassill who started the final multicar wreck. He was running 12th when he turned Cole Whitt into Kevin Harvick , touching off a seven-car wreck and a caution just before the leaders reached the finish line. Grade: B- 12. Michael Waltrip , No. 55 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Making his 60th start at Talladega, Waltrip posted his best finish at the superspeedway since finishing fourth three years ago. Waltrip survived an early scare on Lap 59 when Joey Logano pushed Martin Truex Jr . into the back of Waltrip, who was running fifth at the time. Waltrip went onto the apron but came back onto the track and spun, narrowly avoiding contact. Grade: B+ 13. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . Truex was running in the top 10 immediately behind Kurt Busch when Busch made contact with Jimmie Johnson to ignite the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. Truex's Toyota returned to the track all taped up before sustaining even more damage in the seven-car wreck that happened just before Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag. Grade: B- 14. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . The multicar wreck at the finish had Allmendinger on his knees next to his battered Chevrolet, but it couldn't overshadow his fourth top-15 finish at Talladega in 13 starts and his first lap led of the season. Grade: B 15. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Harvick raced among the leaders for most of the afternoon and led four times for nine laps before sliding across the finish line sideways in a damaged car, one of seven cars involved in a crash leading up to the checkered flag. Grade : A 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was able to avoid major damage in the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 but sustained heavy damage coming to the finish line when he was collected in the seven-car pileup. Grade: B 17. David Gilliland , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Gilliland survived the late wrecks for a top-20 finish in first start of the season (he failed to qualify at Daytona). It was his best finish since an 11th in the 2015 Daytona 500 . Grade: B 18. Cole Whitt, No. 98 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Whitt was just outside the top 10 with one lap to go but couldn't improve his position before taking a hard hit against the outside wall as he approached the finish line. It was the fifth top-20 finish of his career and first since his career-best 13th at Talladega a year ago. Grade: A 19. Bobby Labonte , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Making his second start of the season (he finished 31st at Daytona), Labonte avoided major damage in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181 and scored his first top 20 since the 2014 Daytona 500 . Grade: A 20. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . That Biffle finished 20th should come as little surprise. His average finish at Talladega is 19.7, and he finished 20th last October at Talladega, too. Grade: C 21. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing . McDowell produced his second-best finish of the season (he finished 15th at Daytona) despite being involved in two of the day's biggest wrecks along with drawing the ire of Danica Patrick . Grade: B- 22. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The No. 48 was caught up in two wrecks, the second the 21-car monster on Lap 161, which sent the 48 to the garage for repairs. Johnson returned and finished six laps down. Grade: C 23. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hard-luck Kenseth's eventful day didn't end when his car got airborne after contact from Danica Patrick and came down on its roof on the backstretch with eight laps to go. Well after the race, he had heated words for nemesis Joey Logano , who had forced him below the yellow line with 15 laps to go. Those two events obscure the fact Kenseth led 39 laps, second only to winner Brad Keselowski 's 46. Grade: B 24. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick's race ended with her hitting the inside wall violently with eight laps to go after contact from behind by Michael McDowell . "I've hit the inside wall of a superspeedway I think maybe like four times now and that was the worst," she said. "I know I got drilled from behind and turned sideways … and hello wall." Grade: C 25. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. Logano was still sore from his wreck on the final lap of Saturday's XFINITY race, and his day ended in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181. His aggressive driving initiated the second caution, and there also was his contact with Matt Kenseth that resulted in an earful from Kenseth after the race. Logano didn't want to discuss what Kenseth said, instead saying, "Two days in a row, a couple big hits; can't wait to get out of this place." Grade: C- 26. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard was in the top 10 having a good run -- but at the wrong time. He was running beside Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson on the outside when Busch turned Johnson right into Menard's Chevrolet, setting off the 21-car wreck on Lap 161. Twenty laps later Menard's day ended in the 12-car wreck on Lap 181. Grade: C 27. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Almirola was collected in two wrecks, with the second one, a 12-car mashup on the backstretch with eight laps to go providing the knockout blow to the No. 43. Grade: C 28. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was running around 15th place when the 21-car wreck on Lap 161 began right in front of him. His Chevrolet sustained damage and left the scene trailing flames. He finished 10 laps back. Grade: D 29. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson led nine laps and had the lead three-quarters of the way through the race. Larson was running just outside the top 10 when Kurt Busch hit the back of Jimmie Johnson two cars in front him, touching off a 21-car accident that collected his Chevrolet. Grade: C 30. Brian Scott, No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. The rookie's promising day was derailed after the big wreck on Lap 161. He finished 16 laps back, his most off the lead this season. Grade: D 31. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin's trouble on the track extended to pit road, where he had two incidents and several penalties. He also sustained damage in the 21-car pileup on Lap 161. Grade: D- 32. Regan Smith, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith was running in the top 10 with 30 laps to go but was collected the Lap 161 wreck and finished 20 laps back. Grade: D 33. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears spun into Aric Almirola on Lap 59 after he was hit by Michael Waltrip , sending the No. 13 to the garage for repairs. It wasn't Mears' fault, but he still finished 22 laps back. Grade: C 34. David Ragan, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan was running 24th and within a second of the lead when his engine expired on Lap 151. Grade: D 35. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards' two-race winning streak came to an abrupt halt. On Lap 110 "something let go" and the No. 19 ran up the track and pinned Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s No. 88 to the wall, ending the day for both drivers. Grade: F 36. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . The No. 83 suffered damage in the first wreck of the race. Engine issues ended his day after 98 laps run. Grade: F 37. Chris Buescher, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Just past the halfway point, Buescher's car became the first of the day to go airborne and flip. Buescher called the wreck "miserable" and a "bummer." He was right. Grade: F 38. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Annett was collected in the same wreck that sent Chris Buescher flipping. Annett's Chevrolet smashed hard into the inside wall, ending his day. Grade: F 39. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne followed his best finish of the season (fourth at Richmond) with a two-crash dud, the second a single-car accident that brought out the fifth caution. Grade: F 40. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Terrible day for the 88. Earnhardt's first crash was similar to his crash in the Daytona 500 -- the back of his car came around. "We missed something this morning," he said. "It shouldn't have been on the splitter that hard." Then when he returned to the track after repairs, his steering wheel came off. On Lap 110, Earnhardt's day ended when Carl Edwards ran up the track and smashed into his Chevrolet. Grade: F.
Chip Ganassi has surgery for broken clavicle
NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi had surgery Sunday to repair a broken clavicle – the injury sustained while Ganassi was cycling in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday. The team said the surgery was successful and Ganassi is expected to be in Richmond, Virginia, this weekend for the final race to set the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff field at Richmond International Raceway . Ganassi sent out the following message on social media: "Ok ok. I fell off my bicycle Saturday. Thank you Dr Jim Bradley for putting me back together!" Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray is currently the top-ranked driver without a win and sits 12th in the Chase Grid. Should he qualify for the Chase and he just needs to start the event at Richmond to do that, he would be the first Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates post-season entry since Juan Pablo Montoya made the Chase in 2009. The team's other driver, Kyle Larson , is ranked 19th but could earn an automatic Chase berth with a win in Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM)
Ganassi introduces new Ford GT Sports Car Program
Team will field two Ford GTs in full IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2016 Chip Ganassi has achieved legendary status as a team owner in NASCAR, sports cars and IndyCar racing , with victories in many of the world's most prestigious races, including the Daytona 500 , Indianapolis 500, Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Ganassi joined top Ford executives in announcing an ambitious new program for the Ford GT race car at a press conference Friday in Le Mans, France, ahead of this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans. With Ford's backing, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will field two Ford GTs in the full IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2016, beginning with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31. The team also will field two cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship. All four cars are expected to compete in the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, marking the 50th Anniversary of Ford's overall victory in the prestigious endurance race. "At Ganassi Racing , we've won 17 major championships over the years; over 160 races," said Ganassi . "We've won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 , the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Twelve Hours of Sebring, but we've never run at Le Mans. I can tell you, we want to win this race, and when Ford presented us that opportunity, a chance to compete here, well, what race team wouldn't want to be a part of that?" The seeds for this opportunity with Ford were sown in 2013, when the team announced a new partnership with Ford to supply the team's Riley Daytona Prototypes with 3.5-liter, twin-turbo, V-6 EcoBoost power. Only those on the inside had any inkling that this racing program was doubling as a development program for an engine that will power not only the new Ford GT race car, but also the production version of the Ford GT race car that was launched to overwhelming fanfare at the North American International Auto Show this past January. A couple of weeks after that new car was introduced, NASCAR stars Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray combined with IndyCar stars Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona in Ganassi's No. 02 Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP. "We spent the last year and a half getting a better understanding of each other's strengths, while jointly developing the engine that will be in the race car and the road car," Ganassi said. "We're very proud of that." Ganassi isn't the only one. IMSA CEO Ed Bennett was in the audience for Friday's highly anticipated announcement and was equally proud of the attention given to the technology transfer story. "It's an exciting time with a really exciting car," Bennett said. "The fact that the engine technology was developed in the Daytona Prototype the last couple of years with the EcoBoost V6 and now it's being applied to this car, it's the ultimate validation of what a racing program can do." Everybody will get their first opportunity to see what this new racing program can do for the first time next Jan. 30-31 in the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona. "It shows a clear commitment from Ford for sports car racing , and it's obviously a fantastic, significant development for the TUDOR Championship," Bennett said. "We couldn't be more proud that the first place this car will race is at the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona, which will also be the first chance to show off the new Daytona Rising upgrades to the facility. "A brand-new facility, and a brand-new Ford GT racing program – for all that to happen together, in a 24-hour environment – will be very exciting, and very special." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Despite Indy fondness, Ganassi values each track equally
Team owner won at the Brickyard in 2010 with driver Jamie McMurray Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds a special spot in Chip Ganassi's heart, as a backdrop to his five starts as an IndyCar driver to his five wins as a car owner -- one in NASCAR and four in the Indianapolis 500. The track's rich history, the sense of place -- all are palpable when his team sets up camp in Gasoline Alley for a race weekend in either series. But despite his fondness for Indy, Ganassi insists there's not a Target-red marker to circle the Speedway's place on the NASCAR calendar for emphasis. With seven races left to get his drivers Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson in position for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, the 57-year-old team owner said each event carries its own importance. "I don't think there's any extra pressure. If there's any pressure at all, it's every race," Ganassi says. "There's a certain amount that goes with every event, but I mean, Indy is in some sense a big event and I know our guys like big events. In another sense, it's just another race and we want to approach it the same way, but we're certainly excited about going there." The sense of time and place is also meaningful for McMurray heading into Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, IMS, SiriusXM), an event he won as part of his banner season of 2010, his first with the team that is now known as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. In some ways, McMurray says, his Brickyard victory seems like a distant memory but in other ways not as much. Ganassi's longest-tenured driver said he often frames events now in relation to his children's ages. At the time of his Indy win, his wife, Christy, was pregnant with the couple's first child, Carter -- now 4 1/2 years old. Their status as happy parents-to-be comes through in all the photos from Victory Lane and the traditional kiss of the yard of bricks at the start-finish line, but so is the joy shared by Ganassi and Sabates savoring their first stock-car triumph at the birthplace of Indianapolis-style racing . The venerable Speedway certainly remains cherished, but McMurray said the approach doesn't change for this weekend. "I don't remember Chip ever mentioning anything about this race being more important to him than any other race, even though he has the background with the IndyCar team and has the shop based there," McMurray said. "It was a really big deal for us to be able to win there in 2010 -- the pictures, the memories … I loved getting to watch the TV footage afterward of how excited Chip was with Felix being able to win there. But honestly, I don't remember him ever mentioning anything about we need to put more effort into this weekend over any other." Some extra effort will be necessary this weekend, if only because a new, high-drag aero package awaits Sprint Cup teams. To help teams adjust to the rules changes, Friday practice has been expanded to three sessions totaling four hours and 40 minutes, an increase of one hour, 25 minutes from 2014. The extra time might be welcome for crew chiefs such as Matt McCall , in his first year overseeing McMurray's No. 1 Chevrolet. A raised rear spoiler and other aero devices are expected to produce closer, almost pack-style racing at Indianapolis this weekend and at Michigan International Speedway next month but McCall said he's reserving judgment on how cars will react until his team can log track time. "Obviously, you've got wind tunnel data to think you know what it's going to be like, but until they actually make some laps …," McCall said, trailing off with a slight shrug. "I think a couple of cars put the package on at the Chicago test (last week), so with a little bit of feedback, we'll be able to pay attention to that. Still, once you get most of the cars on the race track, you'll get a better idea of what will happen. "It's different, so that's sort of good. Any type of change that'll get your mind thinking a different way, I'm all about it. Sometimes the setup gets so repetitive that it's the same every single week, so pretty cool to have a chance to play on something different." NASCAR officials instituted a low-downforce package two weeks ago at Kentucky Speedway, producing a harder-to-handle car that placed greater emphasis on driver input. The result was the most competitive Sprint Cup race -- measured in green-flag passes -- in the series' five-year run in the Bluegrass State. The widely different trim of the Indianapolis package may be signaling a shift toward track-specific setups, all in the hope of promoting better racing with tailor-made aerodynamics. With that concept just beginning to take root, Ganassi said it's still too early to weigh potential benefits against possible drawbacks. "I have mixed feelings about it and what I've found, I had some feelings about the Kentucky package that really were unfounded concerns, I realized later," Ganassi said. "So I want to be careful what I say about Indianapolis and kind of go in with an open mind. I think in one sense, it's a bit of an equalizer in that no one's tested that package there. So it's going to be interesting to see what happens and it could be an advantage for us." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule