SBD/Issue 31/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Reportedly Considering Switch To Ford

Earnhardt Ganassi Has Been Running
Chevrolet Engines In Sprint Cup Series

Ford reportedly "initiated discussions" with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing in July about switching to its cars, and a decision "could come as early as next week," according to sources cited by Lee Spencer of FOXSPORTS.com. However, EGR co-Owner Chip Ganassi "brushed off the possibility as 'just a rumor'" at Charlotte Motor Speedway earlier this month. Gannasi's teams currently run Chevrolet in NASCAR, Honda in IndyCar and BMW in Grand-Am. Ganassi is "coming off the most successful year of his motorsports career," as "not only did his team win the tour championships in both IndyCar and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Ganassi drivers were victorious in the top three races in America -- the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400." The "depth of technology and data that Ganassi has to offer through competing in three different series has to be equally attractive to Ford." The team "stands to benefit through the support the company would receive from Ford both on a financial and technological basis." Spencer noted when it comes to the "pecking order" at Chevrolet, EGR "lags far behind Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing, who shares an allegiance with Hendrick." EGR "would be second only to" Roush Fenway Racing at Ford. The area that "would hit Ganassi the hardest would be the loss of the company's partnership with Earnhardt Childress Racing Technology engines -- currently one of the top programs in the garage." ECRT "currently provides engines for Richard Childress Racing, EGR and Tommy Baldwin Racing," and Furniture Row Racing "will join the program next year" (FOXSPORTS.com, 10/23).

SEVERING TIES: Red Bull Racing GM & VP Jay Frye on Friday said that the team “will field only two teams next season with Kasey Kahne in the No. 82 car and Brian Vickers in the No. 83.” Frye said that “speculation that the No. 82 car would be changed to the No. 4 for Kahne next season is premature, noting that there is an issue with Morgan-McClure, which retains the rights to the number.” Kahne said that he has “agreed to maintain his commitments to sponsor Budweiser for the remainder of the season, including all meet and greets.” He added that “this was not the way he wanted to end his relationship with Budweiser or RPM, but reiterated it was best for all parties.” Kahne: “I feel like I’ve done what I need to do there” (ESPN.com, 10/22).

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