Chip Ganassi Racing (NASCAR)
The NASCAR operation of Chip Ganassi Racing was established in 1989 by Felix Sabates, a Cuban immigrant who was a self-made millionaire distributing products such as Teddy Ruxpin and Atari video game systems. The team was known as SABCO Racing, formed after Sabates purchased an R&D team from Hendrick Motorsports. The team was renamed Team SABCO in 1996. In 2001, Ganassi bought 80% of the ownership interest in the then-two-car team to form Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates; the same year the team switched from Chevrolet to Dodge, with the latter reentering NASCAR competition that season after a 15-year hiatus. In 2009, Ganassi partnered with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. owner Teresa Earnhardt to merge their NASCAR operations into Ganassi's shop and run independently as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The NASCAR team dropped the Earnhardt name in 2014, and Ganassi revealed that Teresa was never truly involved with the team. Rob Kauffman, chairman of the Race Team Alliance, purchased a stake in the team in 2015. The NASCAR program has fielded full-time entries for notable drivers including Kyle Petty, Joe Nemechek, Sterling Marlin, Jimmy Spencer, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. They currently run the Nos. 1 and 42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s for Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson in a technical alliance with Hendrick Motorsports.
- 1 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
- 2 Xfinity Series
- 3 Partnerships
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
On November 12, 2008, Chip Ganassi and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. owner Teresa Earnhardt, widow of seven-time Cup Series champion and DEI namesake Dale Earnhardt, announced that the two teams would merge in time for the 2009 season and run under the name of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (EGR). The Chevrolet equipment of DEI and its engine partnership with Richard Childress Racing (as Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies) were moved under the Ganassi umbrella, and the new team operated out of the CGR NASCAR shop. The move contracted the two organizations with six collective entries to three Sprint Cup Series teams – the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops car driven by Martin Truex, Jr. and the No. 8 car of Aric Almirola from the former DEI stable, and the No. 42 car of Juan Pablo Montoya from Ganassi's stable. The other two DEI cars – the No. 01 and the No. 15 – were disbanded. The No. 41 Ganassi team was planned to continue, but was ultimately shut down when driver Reed Sorenson left for Gillett Evernham Motorsports and when sponsor Target was moved to the No. 42, with the number transferred by NASCAR to Jeremy Mayfield's new race team. The No. 8 car was also shut down early in the 2009 season.
In 2010 former Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray replaced Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 1 car, making Truex the final driver from the DEI stable to leave. In 2013 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing switched to Hendrick Motorsports engines after four years with Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines. During the five-year tenure of EGR, Teresa Earnhardt had little influence in day-to-day operations of the team, leading Ganassi and Sabates to revert to the team's original name for the 2014 season.
In mid-2015, Rob Kauffman, then co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, purchased a stake in the team. Initially expected to absorb one of the two MWR entries, CGR later announced it would remain a two-car operation.
The pit crew department won the 2017 Comcast Community Champion Award in recognition of their chartible work.
Car No. 1 history
Note: Prior to merging with Chip Ganassi Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc. fielded a No. 1 car through 2008, most notably with Steve Park driving. For more information, see Dale Earnhardt, Inc. This section concerns the lineage of Chip Ganassi Racing's entry that later became the No. 1 after the merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc.
1989–2000: Original No. 42
- Kyle Petty (1989-1996)
The No. 1 car debuted in 1989 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as the No. 42 PEAK-sponsored Pontiac for SABCO Racing, Felix Sabates' race team. The car was driven by Kyle Petty, who finished fourth in the race. The car ran on and off for the rest of the year before moving to full-time status in 1990. Petty scored one victory and finished 11th in points that year. He was running strong in 1991 with a new sponsorship from Mello Yello, before he broke his leg in an crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Over the next 11 races, he was replaced by Bobby Hillin, Jr., Tommy Kendall, and Kenny Wallace while recovering. After returning, he won four races finished fifth in points in both 1992 and 1993. After that, Petty's career began to run out of steam. He won his final race in 1995 at Dover, the first year the car had Coors Light as a sponsor. In 1996, Petty was temporarily replaced by Jim Sauter to recover from more injuries.
- Joe Nemechek (1997-1999)
In 1997, he and Sabates split and Coors Light moved to the No. 40 car. The team switched from Pontiac to Chevy. Joe Nemechek and sponsor BellSouth proceeded to come on board. The year got off to a rocky start when Nemechek did not qualify for the Daytona 500, but was able to get in on a car bought from Phil Barkdoll. After losing his brother John in an crash at Homestead-Miami Speedway (and missing Darlington to attend his funeral, during which he was replaced by Phil Parsons), Nemechek won two pole positions and finished 28th in points, followed up by a then-career best 26th in 1998. Weeks after announcing that they would not race together after the 1999 season had ended, Nemechek won his first Winston Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway, and won two more poles.
2000-2001: Transition to Chip Ganassi Racing
- Kenny Irwin Jr. (2000)
In 2000, former Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Kenny Irwin, Jr. took over the 42 car. He was just adjusting to his new team, scoring a single top ten in the first 17 races, when in July he was killed in an accident at New Hampshire during Cup Series practice, the first race since the team won there the previous year. The team took one week off and returned as the No. 01 driven by Ted Musgrave.
- Jason Leffler (2001)
For 2001, Chip Ganassi purchased a majority stake in SABCO, and the BellSouth brand Cingular Wireless became the sponsor. Busch Series driver and former USAC standout Jason Leffler was hired to drive the car, which was now a Dodge. Leffler's rookie season was a struggle, despite winning a pole at the inaugural race at Kansas Speedway. Leffler failed to qualify for four races, and was replaced with Trans-Am Series driver Dorsey Schroeder at Sonoma and Scott Pruett at Watkins Glen. Leffler would fail to qualify for the race at Watkins Glen in the No. 04 car, and he was released at the end of the season.
2002-2008: No. 41
- Jimmy Spencer (2002)
With Cingular moving to Richard Childress Racing to sponsor the No. 31 car, long time Ganassi backer Target became the sponsor, the number was changed to No. 41, and veteran Jimmy Spencer was tabbed to replace Leffler. Spencer did not qualify for the Daytona 500, and was replaced by road course ringer Scott Pruett at Watkins Glen, with Pruett finishing a strong 6th. The high point of the season was at the Food City 500 at Bristol in the spring, when Spencer and fierce rival Kurt Busch engaged in a heated battle at the end of the race. Busch, on worn tires, would go to victory lane while Spencer scored a season-best second-place finish. In 34 races, Spencer scored two top five and six top ten finishes en route to a 27th-place points finish, and was released.
- Casey Mears (2003-2005)
- Reed Sorenson (2006-2008)
For 2006 another young driver, Reed Sorenson was hired to drive the No. 41 car full-time, and Mears replaced McMurray in the No. 42 car. Sorenson had five top-tens and ended the 2006 season 24th in the standings. After finishing 22nd in the standings with three top 5s and 6 top 10s in 2007, the No. 41 team dropped to 32nd in the final standings in 2008. Sorenson failed to qualify for a race for the first time in his career, and the team only managed one top five and two top tens. Sorenson left the team to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports.
2009–present: No. 1
- Martin Truex Jr. (2009)
Ganassi would move the Target sponsorship to the No. 42 car to replace Texaco/Havoline for 2009, leaving the No. 41 without a driver or a sponsor. As a result, Ganassi merged his team with the struggling Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and the No. 41 was replaced with the former DEI No. 1 car. DEI's driver (Martin Truex Jr.) and sponsor (Bass Pro Shops) also came over to join Ganassi. Bass Pro Shops, however, reduced its schedule to 20 races. The team also carried its Earnhardt-Childress Engine program over to Ganassi, and switched manufacturers from Dodge to Chevrolet. Truex failed to win a race in his only season driving for Ganassi, and left the team after the season for Michael Waltrip Racing.
- Jamie McMurray (2010-2018)
Truex was replaced by Jamie McMurray, who had previously driven for the Ganassi organization from 2002 until 2005, winning his first Cup race with the team as a substitute driver. Bass Pro Shops was joined by McDonald's as a primary sponsor. McMurray started the year of with a bang, winning the 2010 Daytona 500 for Ganassi in his first race in the No. 1 car. It was the first win for a Ganassi team car since Juan Pablo Montoya won the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350. McMurray returned to the winner's circle by winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, the first time that he had won multiple races in a season since joining the Cup Series full-time in 2003. Inconsistency over the course of the season, however, kept McMurray out of the Chase for the Cup. He added a third win at the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte during the Chase, the same race he won for the 40 team in 2002. McMurray earned four poles, nine top fives and twelve top tens to finish 14th in the final standings, his best points finish since his earlier tenure with Ganassi.
McMurray and the Ganassi team struggled in 2011, earning two top fives and four top tens while failing to finish five races, with a dismal 27th-place points finish. The struggles continued in 2012, with only three top tens and a 21st-place points finish. For 2013, CGR would switch to Hendrick engines looking to improve performance. McDonald's would become the main sponsor as Bass Pro Shops scaled down to two races. The team also gained a 10 race sponsorship from the Textron Company, with brands Cessna, Bell Helicopter, Bad Boy Buggies, and E-Z-Go adorning the car. After more struggles in the first half of 2013, McMurray finally broke back into victory lane at the fall Talladega race, his first victory in three seasons. After an improved 15th-place points finish, McMurray would sign a contract extension to return in 2014.
McMurray won the Sprint All-Star Race in 2014, taking two tires under the final caution and passing leader Carl Edwards within the final ten laps to score the victory and the $1 million bonus. However, the team did not win a points race during the season and missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Both McMurray and teammate Kyle Larson would rebound after missing the playoff, with the 1 car scoring a pole and four top fives in the final ten races of the year. Overall, McMurray had seven top fives and 13 top tens to finish 18th in points.
For 2015, former Yates Racing driver Matt McCall was hired as crew chief for McMurray, replacing Keith Rodden. McMurray started 2015 on a high note, climbing the 8th in the standings within the first ten races and making the Chase for the first time in his career, but ended up being eliminated in the first round on a tiebreaker. He finished 13th in points. McMurray would once again be eliminated from championship contention in the first round of the Chase in 2016, following an engine failure at Dover, he finished 13th in points for the 2nd year in a row. In 2017, McMurray scored 17 top 10s, his best number since 2004, advancing to the Chase once again. This time, he was able to make past the first round but was eliminated in the Round of 12 after crashing at Talladega and Kansas. He finished the season 12th in points.
McMurray failed to make the 2018 Playoffs with a string of disappointing finishes, with one top-five and six top-10s during the regular season. A second-place finish at the 2018 Bank of America Roval 400 was the high point of his season. McMuray finished the 2018 season 20th in points. On September 10, 2018, it was announced that McMurray will not return to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019.
- Kurt Busch (2019)
On December 4, 2018, it was announced that former Stewart-Haas Racing driver and 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch, along with sponsor Monster Energy, will move to the No. 1 team in the 2019 season. Busch scored his first win with CGR at Kentucky. On November 2, CGR officially announced that Busch has signed on with the No. 1 team for at least two more years.
Car No. 1 results
Car No. 40 history
- Kenny Wallace (1993)
The No. 40 car debuted in 1993 as the second car in the SABCO stable. It had sponsorship from Dirt Devil and was piloted by rookie driver Kenny Wallace. After Wallace finished 3rd behind Bobby Labonte and Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Rookie of the Year standings, he left for other opportunities.
- Bobby Hamilton (1994) and Dick Brooks era (1994-1995)
The 1995 season saw multiple drivers such as Rich Bickle, Greg Sacks, and Shane Hall pilot the car. But at the end of the season, Brooks closed up shop and sold the team back to Sabates. The team came back in the 1996 season with First Union sponsoring the car and Greg Sacks as the driver.
- Robby Gordon (1997)
The team returned for 1997 full-time with rookie driver Robby Gordon, Coors Light moving over from the No. 42, and the team switching from Pontiac to Chevrolet. Gordon won the pole at the spring Atlanta race. Unfortunately, open-wheel ace Gordon suffered burns during the Indianapolis 500. By the time he returned, the damage was done and despite picking up a Top 5 finish at Watkins Glen, Gordon was released. Sacks returned to finish out the year.
- Sterling Marlin (1998-2005)
For the 1998 season, Sabates chose a more experienced driver in 2-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin. Marlin did not qualify at the spring Atlanta race and one year after the team won the pole position there, marking the first time since 1986 that Marlin missed a race. At the end of the year, Marlin had six top-10 finishes and ended up 13th in the points standings. Marlin showed a brief insurgence in the 1999 season when he won the pole at Pocono.
In 2001, the car got a new silver-red paint scheme, a manufacturer switch to Dodge, a new crew chief in Lee McCall, and a new owner in Ganassi. Marlin won his qualifying race for the Daytona 500. On the last lap of the 500, Marlin was involved in the crash that killed Dale Earnhardt. Many fans sent misguided hate mail and death threats to Marlin and his wife, blaming him for Earnhardt's death. Earnhardt's drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Michael Waltrip came to Marlin's defense, and Marlin was cleared of any responsibility by NASCAR's investigation into the crash.
Marlin was able to rise above the controversy, and gave Dodge its first win since its return to NASCAR at Michigan, won again at the UAW-GM Quality 500, and finished 3rd in points, well ahead of the factory backed Dodges from Evernham Motorsports. Marlin led the points standings for most of the 2002 season and won two races, but he suffered a fractured vertebra in a crash at Kansas Speedway, which ended his season. Some say that Marlin's injury signified the beginning of the struggles for the team. Jamie McMurray, who was scheduled to drive the No. 42 car the following season, filled in for Marlin in six races, with Mike Bliss running the car at Martinsville. At Charlotte, McMurray beat out Bobby Labonte to win his 1st race in just his 2nd Winston Cup start. This emotional victory was capped off with a phone call from Marlin through the television network congratulating McMurray on his victory. Marlin would go winless over the next three seasons, with a best finish of 18th in points in 2003 and was released after 2005.
- David Stremme (2006-2007)
Rookie David Stremme replaced Marlin in the 2006 season. This move outraged some fans, since Coors Light and Ganassi both stated that the decision was partly due to Coors Light attempting to target the younger demographic. A new primary sponsor, Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, joined the team and split time with Coors. Stremme did not finish higher than 11th, with an average finish of 26th, and had a 33rd-place finish in the points. Before the 2007 season started, Lone Star left the No. 40 team as primary sponsor, leaving only Coors Light. After the beginning of the season, Tums also came on as a sponsor of the No. 40 team. Stremme had a much better start to the season, earning his first Top 10 in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, posting his best career finish, 8th, two weeks later in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, and ended the season with three Top 10s. Stremme was released due to Coors Light's departure to become the "Official Beer of NASCAR".
- Dario Franchitti (2008)
On October 3, 2007, reigning Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti was announced as the new driver of the No.40 car for the 2008 season. Due to the lack of sponsorship, the team had to procure one-race partnerships on a rotational basis, with The Hartford, Kennametal, Dodge Journey, Target, Dodge Avenger, and Wii Fit appearing on the car. Franchitti suffered ankle injuries in a Nationwide Series race at Talladega, causing him to miss several races. Marlin, Stremme, Ken Schrader, and Jeremy Mayfield filled in during his absence.
Ganassi shut the team down in July due to its lack of funding mid-season, with around 70 employees laid off. Franchitti, meanwhile, moved to CGR's IndyCar operation. The team was revived for several fall races with Bryan Clauson driving, but race qualifying was rained out twice and the team did not make the field due to being too low in the owner points. When qualifying was finally staged at Texas, Clauson subsequently failed to qualify, and the team was shut down again.
Car No. 40 results
Car No. 42 history
See above for information on the history of the original Team SABCO No. 42
- Early years (1997-2000)
The original No. 42 car eventually became the No. 1; the present No. 42 car began as the No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports car owned and driven by Joe Nemechek. After he signed with SABCO in 1996, Sabates bought the majority ownership of the team, which debuted at the 1997 Daytona 500 as the No. 46 First Union Chevrolet driven by Wally Dallenbach, Jr.. After skipping several races, the team moved to full-time racing. Dallenbach competed in 22 races and finished 41st in points. He only raced in four races in the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series before he was replaced by a rotation of drivers including Jeff Green, Morgan Shepherd, and Tommy Kendall.
After First Union stopped their backing at the end of the season, the team was scheduled to close down, but instead it changed its number to No. 01 and served as the team's research and development car. Green, Steve Grissom, and Ron Hornaday drove the car on a limited schedule in 1999. The team reappeared at Sears Point in 2001 under CGR/FS as car No. 04. Jason Leffler attempted to make the race while Dorsey Schroeder piloted Leffler's regular ride, the No. 01; Leffler did not qualify for the race.
- Jamie McMurray (2002-2005)
The car came back as No. 42 in 2002 at Watkins Glen when Jimmy Spencer attempted but failed to qualify the car while Scott Pruett drove Spencer's normal car, the No. 41. The car was scheduled to run seven more races with Jamie McMurray driving, but when McMurray filled in for Sterling Marlin, the team did not run until 2003. The No. 42 team ran full-time in 2003, with McMurray as the driver and Texaco/Havoline as the sponsor. McMurray won Rookie of the Year honors in the Winston Cup Series. He failed to win a race in 2004, but had a very good season, with 23 Top-10s. He finished 11th in series points, the best of the non-Chasers. In 2005, McMurray missed the Chase after he was passed by Ryan Newman just before the Chase started, and McMurray finished 12th in points.
- Casey Mears (2006)
McMurray left after the 2005 season to replace Kurt Busch at Roush Racing. Casey Mears moved over from the No. 41 to take his place during the 2006 season. He finished runner-up at the Daytona 500, but failed to win a race during the season and finished 14th in points. Mears decided to leave Ganassi, moving to Hendrick Motorsports for 2007.
- Juan Pablo Montoya (2007-2013)
In July 2006, it was announced that former Indianapolis 500 winner, CART Champion, and at-that-time Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya would replace Mears in the No. 42 for 2007. Texaco returned to sponsor the car, with additional funding from Wrigley gum brands Big Red and Juicy Fruit. Montoya won his first career Nextel Cup race during his rookie season at Sonoma in the Toyota/Save Mart 350, ending a nearly five year victory drought the Chip Ganassi Racing organization had since the 2002 UAW-GM Quality 500. He ended the year 20th in points and won Rookie of the Year. After he failed to return to victory lane and dropped to 25th in points despite some good results and a second place in the Aaron's 499 in 2008, Texaco/Havoline left the team.
With Texaco leaving and the Wrigley Company not able to cover the full season, long-time Ganassi sponsor Target moved over from the No. 41 to the No. 42 for 2009. Upon merging with DEI, the team absorbed the team's Chevrolet equipment after running Dodges since 2003. In 2009, Montoya had a break out season, with seven top 5, eighteen top 10 and 2 poles. He qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup and finished eighth in the overall standings, the best season ending points position for Ganassi since Sterling Marlin's third-place finish in the final standings in 2001. Midway through 2010, Montoya had sported great runs, but didn't have the finishes to show for it, specifically at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Montoya dominated, but his crew chief Brian Pattie called for four tires late in the race, causing Montoya to fall to 8th and never recover. A similar situation happened the following week at Pocono when Montoya was running second at a late stage in the race, and Pattie again called for four tires, placing Montoya back in traffic again. Montoya and Pattie were heard arguing over the radio. The next weekend however, Montoya won his second career race, dominating at Watkins Glen. Montoya ended up placing 17th in the overall standings for 2010.
The 2011 season started off fast for the 42 bunch. Montoya posted a 6th in the season opener at Daytona, and then finished 3rd at the Las Vegas. At Talladega Montoya was involved in a late crash with the No. 39 car of Ryan Newman. Two weeks later at Richmond, Newman and Montoya were involved in two crashes, relegating them to 20th and 29th-place finishes respectively. At Dover Montoya was running for the lead but after a vibration and a crash involving the No. 27 car of Paul Menard, Montoya finished 32nd. Later at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Montoya had a great run and looked like he was going to fight Kurt Busch for the lead but crashed in an incident with Brad Keselowski near the end of the race and finished in 22nd. Montoya was inconsistent for the rest of the year with the exception of a 7th-place finish at Watkins Glen on August 14 and a 9th-place finish on August 25 at the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire.
Montoya's struggles continued through 2012, as the Ganassi program as a whole was looking for answers. In 2013, after Ganassi switched to Hendrick Motorsports engines, Montoya nearly won at Dover, but was passed in the final laps by Tony Stewart, and finished second. Montoya would also have a strong run a Richmond including leading several laps, but would again come up short. Later, on August 13, 2013, it was announced that Montoya's contract with Ganassi would not be renewed for the 2014 season.
- Kyle Larson (2014–present)
For 2014, promising development driver Kyle Larson took over the No. 42 after winning the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year. Montoya, meanwhile departed for Chip Ganassi's rival, Team Penske, in the IndyCar Series. For 2014, Larson competed with what many deemed to be the strongest rookie class in the series' history, including 2013 Nationwide Series champion Austin Dillon and several of their former Nationwide Series competitors. Larson nearly won at Auto Club Speedway, finishing second to Kyle Busch after a late race restart. Larson defeated Busch the day before to capture the victory in the Nationwide Series race. He had a steady amount of top 10 finishes in the first half of 2014, and finished fourth at his second road course race at Watkins Glen. Larson had numerous crashes and tire failures, but won a competitive Rookie of the Year title. He would struggle in 2015, including having to miss the 2015 STP 500 due to dehydration. Larson's best finish that year would be third at the spring Dover race, but he would finish 19th in points. In 2016, Larson would rebound from his sophomore year, taking his first career victory at the 2016 Pure Michigan 400, qualifying him for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. However, both he and teammate McMurray would be eliminated from championship contention after the Citizen Soldier 400.
In 2017, Larson captured his second career victory at the 2017 Auto Club 400 after securing pole position for the race. This completed his first "Weekend Sweep", which is when a driver wins every race run during the weekend. Larson would win three more races that year, sweeping both Michigan races and winning the last race before the playoffs at Richmond. Larson looked like a championship contender for most of the year, staying in the top-three in points from races 3 to 31 of the season. However, an engine failure at Kansas resulted on him being eliminated at the Round of 12 of the Playoffs, the first of four straight DNFs for Larson, relegating him to an eighth-place finish in points.
In 2018, Larson returned with his Credit One Bank/DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Despite being winless, he made the Playoffs by staying consistent in the regular season with four second-place finishes, eight top-fives, and 14 top-10s. Larson had a dominant car at the inaugural Charlotte Roval race, but was caught in a multi-car pileup in a late restart that also involved Playoff contenders Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. His heavily damaged No. 42 car took advantage of Jeffrey Earnhardt being spun out by Daniel Hemric on the final lap and limped across the finish line in 25th place, securing him in the top 12. Larson experienced further bad luck at the fall Talladega race when he blew a right front tire and spun out. He finished 11th in the race, but was docked 10 driver and 10 owner points after the team violated the damaged vehicle policy by using metal tabs instead of fasteners and/or tape to repair the torn right front fender. Despite finishing third at the fall Kansas race, Larson was eliminated in the Round of 12 of the Playoffs. He finished the season ninth in points.
During the 2019 season, Larson made history by becoming only the third driver to win the Monster Energy Open and the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race. Larson once again made the Playoffs, his 4th straight appearance. Right after advancing past the Round of 16, Larson broke a 75-race winless streak by winning at Dover after qualifying second, immediately advancing to the Round of 8.
Car No. 42 results
CGR has occasionally run an additional part-time entry for research and development or for rookie drivers making their debut. The team debuted in 2003 at Sonoma Raceway as the No. 09 Target Dodge, run under the Phoenix Racing banner, with road course specialist Scott Pruett, finishing a lap down in 34th after an incident while running in the top ten. Pruett would run for CGR itself at Watkins Glen as the No. 39. Pruett started 28th and finished 2nd. Pruett and the car reappeared in 2004 and 2005 at Sonoma, where Pruett finished 3rd and 31st, respectively. He also attempted Watkins Glen, but he failed to qualify both years. In 2005, former champion Bill Elliott drove the car in the Bud Shootout, due to his ride at Evernham Motorsports being unavailable. The car was sponsored by Coors, running a tribute scheme that Elliott had run in the past with the sponsor. Development driver David Stremme then drove seven races in preparation for his bid in 2006 for NASCAR Rookie of the Year, making his debut at Chicagoland Speedway in July. Stremme finished 16th in his debut. Reed Sorenson also drove at Atlanta with Discount Tire sponsorship in preparation for his full-time cup season in 2006.
In August 2005, CGR announced their plans to expand to four full-time teams, with Home123 moving up from the Busch Series to sponsor the new entry. Casey Mears, then the driver of the 41 car, was selected to drive the new entry, with Reed Sorenson moving into his old ride. Home123, then the "official mortgage company of NASCAR", was one of several mortgage companies that specialized in subprime loans to make a large investment in the sport during the peak of the U.S. housing bubble. By November, however, Home123 and Ganassi mutually ended their agreement, and Mears was tabbed to replace the departing Jamie McMurray in the No. 42 Texaco Havoline Dodge.
In preparation for running full-time in the No. 42 car in 2007, Formula One and Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya made his Cup debut at the 2006 season finale Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in a Texaco Havoline car numbered No. 30. Montoya qualified 29th and ran as high as 13th, but was involved in an incident with Ryan Newman on lap 254, leading Montoya's car to crash and erupt in flames. Montoya was credited with a 34th-place finish.
After the DEI merger, Ganassi gained a set of owners' points from the former DEI No. 8 car, which had been driven by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola in 2008. (For more information about the No. 8 prior to the merger, including the time during which the car was driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., see Dale Earnhardt, Inc.). Although Ganassi did not have enough sponsorship to run three cars, and after Bobby Labonte turned down an offer to drive the car, Aric Almirola was tentatively signed to return to the No. 8 Chevrolet for the full 2009 season, pending sponsorship. The team was able to sign Guitar Hero for four races including the Daytona 500, and one-race deals with Cub Cadet, TomTom, and Champion Apparel. After seven races and while sitting 37th in owner points, Ganassi announced that the operations of the No. 8 team were being suspended indefinitely due to lack of sponsorship. Almirola later sued Ganassi for breach of contract, which he alleged promised a full-season ride, and the dispute was settled out of court.
In addition to the No. 8 car, for 2009 EGR formed an alliance with Front Row Motorsports's No. 34 car and driver John Andretti. FRM received the owner points of DEI's former No. 15 car, allowing the team to qualify for the first five races of the season. The teams also formed a technical alliance, with EGR crew chief Steve Lane moving to FRM and the No. 34 fielded as a fourth EGR entry in select races including the Daytona 500.
CGR/FS began running in the then-Busch Series as SABCO Racing in 1995, running a No. 42 car in eight races with Bobby Hamilton and Dennis Setzer. SABCO returned to the series in 2000, fielding two full-time teams (numbered 81 and 82) and one part-time (numbered 42). The No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet was primarily driven by Kenny Irwin, Jr., with Steadman Marlin running two races in the car. The No. 42 had run ten races with Irwin finishing in the top-ten twice before he was killed in a practice accident at New Hampshire. Like Irwin's Cup team, the number was switched to 01, and Sterling Marlin became the new driver. He raced three races in the 01, finishing in the top-ten twice. Blaise Alexander drove the No. 81 TracFone/WCW Chevy full-time in 2000, and had two top-tens and finished 25th in points, despite failing to qualify for the season-opening race. Dave Steele was hired by SABCO to drive the No. 82 Channellock Chevy full-time, but after failing to qualify for three out of the first five races, he was released. Sterling Marlin won in the next race in the No. 82, while Jeff Fuller failed to qualify in his attempt in the car the following week at Texas. After Derek Gilcrest drove for a pair of races, Glenn Allen, Jr. drove for the next five races, not finishing better than 29th. Jason White drove for two short track races, followed by Anthony Lazzaro at Watkins Glen, Andy Houston at Milwaukee, and Austin Cameron at Nazareth and Pikes Peak. Ted Musgrave then signed on for the next eight races, finishing eighth at Lowe's. Marty Houston finished the season in the No. 82, with a best finish of 14th. At the end of the 2000 season, SABCO's Busch equipment was sold to HighLine Performance Group (later FitzBradshaw Racing), owned by Sabates' son-in-law Armando Fitz.
The Busch Series program was restarted by CGR from 2004 to 2008, run primarily to develop drivers including Reed Sorenson, David Stremme, Dario Franchitti, and Bryan Clauson. The team won eight races over the five year stretch, but shut down following CGR's merger with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. At the end of 2014, CGR acquired Steve Turner's interest in the Nationwide (now Xfinity) operations of Turner Scott Motorsports, which had fielded entries in the Nationwide Series, Truck Series, K&N Pro Series East and West, and ARCA Racing Series for Ganassi drivers Kyle Larson and Dylan Kwasniewski between late 2012 and 2014. Though Turner Scott was a two car Xfinity operation (at one point operating as many as five entries), the operation under Ganassi was reduced to a single-car entry running under Harry Scott's banner, HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi.
On January 4, 2019, Chip Ganassi Racing announced the closure of their Xfinity program due to lack of sponsorship. The shutdown was announced after the home of the CEO of DC Solar, the team's primary sponsor, was raided by the FBI on December 18, 2018.
Car No. 14 history
In 2003, CGR Cup driver Casey Mears drove 14 races in the No. 19 Dodge for Braun Racing sponsored by CGR partner Target, with Braun forming a technical alliance with Ganassi. For 2004, the alliance continued, with Braun fielding the No. 32 TrimSpa Dodge for Ganassi development driver David Stremme. Late in the season, Stremme left Braun to drive the No. 14 NAVY Chevrolet for FitzBradshaw Racing – formed from Felix Sabates' former Busch Series team in 2000 – replacing Casey Atwood. In a similar technical alliance with Ganassi, the team switched to Dodge to field Stremme for the full 2005 season. Stremme had five top 5s and 10 top 10s en route to a 13th-place finish, then moved up to the No. 40 Cup ride with Ganassi for 2006.
Car Nos. 40 and 42 history
As part of the alliance with FitzBradshaw Racing, in 2005 a new No. 40 car was fielded by Fitz as a Dodge team with Ganassi's veteran Cup driver Sterling Marlin as the primary driver. Cottman Transmission, Family Dollar and Jani-King served as primary sponsors. Marlin ran 18 races for the team with 5 top 10s, then replaced Tim Fedewa in the team's No. 12 car at Gateway. Reed Sorenson moved over to the No. 40 at Atlanta when his No. 41 Ganassi car missed the race, finishing 19th. CGR development driver Scott Lagasse, Jr. ran five races in the car, with a best finish of 22nd. Carlos Contreras, Paul Wolfe, and Erin Crocker also ran races in the 40 car.
- Casey Mears (2006)
The car debuted under Ganassi in 2006 as the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge. Casey Mears drove nine races and won his first career race at Chicagoland Speedway. Juan Pablo Montoya drove the last four races of the year, posting an eleventh-place finish in his series debut at Memphis, and two top tens.
- Multiple drivers (2007-2008)
For 2007, Ganassi announced that Montoya and Kevin Hamlin would split the driving duties. Montoya drove seventeen races the next season, and won his first race at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez and had three top-tens. Hamlin made seven starts, including two consecutive top-tens at Gateway and IRP. After Michael Valiante drove at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and David Stremme at Bristol, it was announced the 42 team would shut down effective immediately, but that decision and was rescinded and A. J. Allmendinger was named driver for the next five races, though he failed to finish higher than 14th. Dario Franchitti finished out the year with Target sponsorship, qualifying in the top-ten twice.
For 2008, rookies Franchitti and Bryan Clauson shared the newly renumbered 40 car, along with Reed Sorenson, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett, and Kevin Hamlin, with sponsorship coming from Fastenal. Late in the season, with Franchitti departing from the sport, Clauson took over the car permanently. The drivers combined for three top 5 finishes and five top 10s, with a best finish of third at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez with Pruett. Clauson finished second in Rookie of the Year standings to Landon Cassill. In December 2008, the newly formed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing announced that they had closed the No. 40 team down, due to a lack of sponsorship.
- Smith-Ganassi Racing (2009)
With Ganassi switching to Chevrolet, the remnants of the No. 40 team were purchased by businessman Eddie Smith and professional boxer Evander Holyfield in February 2009 to form Smith-Ganassi Racing, later known as Team 42 Racing, renumbering the car once again to 42. The team ran part-time schedules over the next two years, primarily with Kenny Hendrick, David Gilliland, and Team Penske development driver Parker Kligerman. Ganassi driver Kevin Hamlin also ran a single 2009 race at Gateway.
At the 2009 Bristol spring race, EGR fielded a car for then-DEI development driver Trevor Bayne, leasing the No. 52 owner's points from Means Racing. The car was provided to Ganassi by then-partner Front Row Motorsports, with FRM sponsor Taco Bell appearing on the car. Bayne would finish 23rd in his series debut, later moving to Michael Waltrip Racing.
- Kyle Larson (2013-2018)
In 2013, Turner Scott Motorsports was contracted to field CGR development driver Kyle Larson in their No. 32 car, with Larson winning Rookie of the Year. In 2014, the car was renumbered to Ganassi's No. 42, with Larson and Dylan Kwasniewski sharing the ride, with Kwasniewski ran the majority of the season in TSM's No. 31 car. Larson scored his first win at Auto Club Speedway in March, and won again at Charlotte in May.
At the end of 2014, crew chief Scott Zipadelli was released from the team. In December 2014, it was announced that Chip Ganassi Racing would partner with TSM co-owner Harry Scott to bring the 42 car in-house under the name HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi. The 31 team was shut down due to logistical and funding issues. Larson returned for a part-time schedule. Larson's sponsors included Parker Hannifin, which sponsored him as an adolescent midget car racer, and returning sponsor ENEOS. Target, and its associated brands, also ran some races. On February 10, 2015, ARCA Racing Series race winner Brennan Poole was signed to contest a 15-race schedule – later expanded to 17 races – in the 42, sponsored by DC Solar Solutions. Poole replaced Kwasniewski, whose sponsor Rockstar Energy chose not to renew. In March after two races, it was confirmed that Kwasniewski would not drive for the team at all. This expanded Larson's schedule to around 14 races. Justin Marks, partner with Harry Scott in the K&N Series, ran the three road course events for the team. Poole finished 9th in his series debut at Las Vegas. He scored two top tens and ten top-15s during the season. Larson scored a win in the season finale at Homestead, after leading 118 laps and passing Austin Dillon with four laps to go.
Though the team was run in-house in 2015, the No. 42 was brought back under the Ganassi umbrella in full for 2016. Larson returned for 17 races, with the same sponsorship from Eneos and Parker. With Poole moving to a new No. 48 Ganassi entry, Marks expanded his schedule to take over all of the oval races not run by Larson, in addition to road courses. Marks, in the No. 42 Katerra Chevrolet, picked up the win in the 2016 Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in rainy conditions.
In 2017, Larson returned with the same sponsors and schedule (Eneos and Parker), winning two races. The team also added former Brad Keselowski Racing driver Tyler Reddick to drive on a part-time basis in 2017. Hendrick Motorsports development driver Alex Bowman also made two starts in the car. In addition to Larson's two wins, both young drivers also won a race in 2017. Reddick won at Kentucky with Broken Bow Records on the car, while Bowman was victorious at Charlotte with Hendrick and Vannoy Construction sponsorship.
In 2018, Larson has returned once again for part-time schedule. This time, series rookie John Hunter Nemechek will be running majority of the races in the 2018 season after Tyler Reddick left the team at the end of 2017 to go to JR Motorsports. Nemechek previously was running full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017.
Car No. 41 history
- Reed Sorenson (2004-2006)
The 41 car began racing at the 2004 Kroger 200, when Reed Sorenson made his NASCAR debut with sponsorship from Discount Tire. He qualified third and finished thirteenth. For the rest of the season, Sorenson, Casey Mears, and Jamie McMurray ran limited schedules in the No. 41, with McMurray picking up a win at Phoenix. In 2005, Sorenson drove full-time, picking up two wins and finishing fourth in points. He drove most of the 2006 season, except the AT&T 250, where David Stremme finished eleventh in his place.
- Multiple drivers (2007-2008)
For 2007 Discount Tire left for Roush Fenway Racing and Wrigley's became the new sponsor. Brian Pattie was the team crew chief. Sorenson and Stremme shared the No. 41 for most of the season, with Sorenson winning at Gateway. Scott Pruett ran the road courses. At Montreal with 3 laps left, Pruett was running in third place when he got contact with Kevin Harvick. Harvick responded by waving his hand in anger, and spinning Pruett around in turn 1. Pruett's accident collected Ron Fellows, Jeff Burton, Ron Hornaday, and several others. Pruett restarted in 10th place but his speed never returned; finishing him in 14th place. Later in the season, Bryan Clauson came on board with Memorex sponsorship then drove for five races with a best finish of eighteenth, before A. J. Allmendinger finished out the season in the No. 41. Bryan Clauson began the 2008 season in the No. 41 with Polaroid sponsorship, before Kyle Krisiloff drove for a few races. After the spring Talladega race the 41 was shut down.
Car No. 48 history
- Brennan Poole (2016-2017)
For 2016, Brennan Poole, who drove a part-time schedule in Ganassi's No. 42 the previous season, moved into a new No. 48 car full-time with DC Solar sponsoring the full season. Chad Norris is the crew chief for the No. 48. Poole's best finish thus far has been a 2nd-place finish at Kentucky. He also almost won the 2016 spring race in Talladega in which he passed two cars on the final lap, only to be told that he had in fact finished 3rd after a yellow-flag came out on the final lap.
It was announced before the end of 2017 that Poole would not return in 2018, and after the season was over, CGR shut down the #48 team, focusing their Xfinity operation solely on the #42.
On June 18, 2018, it was announced that Poole would sue Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Sports + Entertainment for breach of contract, alleging that CGR and Spire conspired to take away DC Solar's sponsorship from Poole and move it to the No. 42 CGR Cup Series team of Kyle Larson and that Spire's involvement representing both driver and team constituted a conflict of interest. Ganassi and Spire both released statements through attorneys denying the claims, with CGR's statement saying the sponsorship of Poole ended "because he never won a race despite the advantages of the best equipment in the garage." The dispute was later settled in the aftermath of DC Solar's FBI raid, though terms were not specified.
Richard Childress Racing
Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies was formed in May 2007 as a cooperation between Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Richard Childress Racing to develop and build common engines for the Chevrolet Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series teams campaigned by the two companies. The partnership was inherited by CGR following its merger with DEI. The company is now known as ECR Engines, no longer connected with DEI or CGR.
Turner Scott Motorsports
Turner Scott Motorsports ran Ganassi development drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. They were Kyle Larson and Dylan Kwasniewski. Kwasniewski drove for TSM in the K&N Pro Series East before signing with Ganassi as a development driver. Ganassi would eventually assume complete control of the team's Xfinity program.
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