by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.July 4, 2010 9:25 am UTC No Comments
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas had the field covered in the DP Division.
Pruett took the lead with one hour remaining and led all but one of the remaining laps in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW powered Riley started by Rojas. Pruett beat Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Ryan Dalziel to the checkered flag by 24.304 seconds, extending his DP-leading total to 28 victories; it was the 29th triumph for the Ganassi team coming in race number one hundred for the class.
“It’s great for our team to win the 100th DP race – that’s incredible,” Pruett said. “That says a lot for GRAND-AM for what they’ve achieved and where it’s going. It’s a special mark for our team. Today we didn’t have the fastest race car, but we raced smart and we raced clean and we did what we had to do. Good things happen to good people.”
The victory came only a few days after a penalty resulting from post-race inspection at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course cost the team 25 points, cutting their lead to seven points in the battle for the DP championship title. Pruett and Rojas now lead by only 13 points.
In the GT class, Andy Lally passed Joey Hand with nine laps to go to win his third race of the season, with RJ Valentine in the No. 66 TRG Porsche. Hand battled Lally all the way to the end of the race looking for a way around but was unable to make a final charge to the lead.
photo credit: ON PIT ROW/JAB
by JamesJ, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
Sundays of my youth consisted of NASCAR racing and cold bottles of Mountain Dew. Thirty years later not much has changed for me. However, nearly everything has changed in NASCAR.January 4, 2010 11:32 am UTC 2 Comments
Over the next several weeks we’ll be featuring car numbers in NASCAR history. We started with #50 and are working our way down the line. With each car number we’ll take a brief look at a couple stats related to the featured car number, but we’ll primarily spotlight either a driver, sponsor, car owner, manufacturer or other significant subject closely tied to the car number of the day.
I’m gonna venture out of my comfort zone just a bit in today’s spotlight. “The Great American Race” is the Daytona 500, but today I’m going to use car #41 as as segue of sorts to do my first spotlight on a NASCAR team. This team’s owner, Chip Ganassi, attempted to transplant two open-wheel championship drivers, and winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” (the Indianapolis 500) into stock car racing.
Stats for all cars running the #41:
- Number of Races: 930
- Number of Wins: 22
- Number of Top 5s: 93
- Number of Top 10s: 182
- Number of Poles: 19
Check out current NASCAR race statistics here at On Pit Row!
Spotlight Subject: Chip Ganassi Racing
I’ll start by saying I’ve never been a huge open wheel fan. That’s not to say I haven’t watched my fair share of INDY 500 races though. As a Rusty Wallace fan, I was automatically a Team Penske fan no matter what sort of racing was going on. Roger Penske wasn’t the only car owner playing in both IndyCar and NASCAR. Chip Ganassi has both raced in and fielded cars as an owner in IndyCar, CART, Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series and NASCAR.
Chip Ganassi Racing has competed in Sprint Cup racing since 2001 after purchasing 80% of Felix Sabates’s SABCO Racing. For the 2009 NASCAR Cup season, Chip Ganassi Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc.. Only one driver from Ganassi Racing- Juan Pablo Montoya -would move over to the new organization.
Most Recent Drivers for Chip Ganassi Racing:
For several years Chip Ganassi tapped into the talented Scott Pruett as a “road course ringer” when the NASCAR circuit made it’s way to Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glenn International. Much of Scott’s talent was exercised in open wheel racing during the 1990s in the Champ Car series where he logged 2 wins in 145 starts. Since 2001, Scott has been called upon nine times to either substitute for the regular Cup driver, or pilot an extra car for the Ganassi Racing team. In those eight races Scott posted 3 top five and 5 top ten finishes, giving him an average finish of 18.3 for all starts with Ganassi Racing. In 2007 Scott was on the receiving end of a “bump-n-run” in a much publicized Busch series finish. It came when Ganassi’s newest driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, booted him out of the way to steal a win in the Telcel-Motorola 200 in Mexico City.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Enter Juan Pablo Montoya. In 1999 he took home open wheel’s CART Championship and Rookie of the Year titles. The next year he would add to his trophy case by not only taking Rookie of the Year honors in IndyCar, but also the coveted Indy 500 trophy! Next on his list of things to conquer, NASCAR. He came onto the NASCAR scene in 2007 and as evidenced in the story above with Pruett, he was determined to succeed at almost any cost. In doing so, he in part set himself up for quite a bit of the negative reception he received in the Cup series. His answer was to exceed precisely where most thought he would do well, on the road course. With over a four second lead on second place, Montoya scored his first Sprint Cup win at the Infineon Raceway. Four races later the Cup series would roll into Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400. Montoya would make it an all Ganassi front row by putting his #42 Texaco Dodge on the outside pole while teammate Reed Sorenson put his #41 Target Dodge on the pole. Though he wouldn’t lead a lap during the race, he would bring it home in second less than 3 seconds behind winner Tony Stewart. 2009 was a great year for Montoya where enough consistency was shown (7 top fives, 18 top tens) to result in a Chase berth.
In 2008 Chip Ganassi tweaked his formula for success by fielding another open wheeler, Dario Franchitti. Dario finished in second place in the 1999 CART series championship to his new teammate at Ganassi Racing, Juan Pablo Montoya. While they both finished the season with the same points total, Montoya’s 7 wins bested Franchitti’s 3 wins. Dario has multiple wins in various series such as IndyCar, CART, and the British Formula Three Championship to name a few. Perhaps the most coveted is his 2007 Indy 500 win. Ganassi positioned Dario behind the wheel of the #40 for Sprint Cup competition. However, failure to qualify for races, poor performance, an ankle injury, and a lack of sponsorship closed the lid on Dario’s NASCAR career.
Reed Sorenson piloted the #41 for Chip Ganassi Racing from 2006 through the 2008 Cup season. Despite having zero wins in Cup, he was the veteran Cup driver amongst Ganassi Racing’s trio. Interestingly enough, Reed has one pole and it came in the 2007 season in the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis. Reed finished that race in 5th place, which gave Ganassi two cars in the top five.
His position at Ganassi Racing was a peculiar one. How does a 21 year old with more stock car experience than his teammates fit into the organization when those teammates bring such grand achievements? Imagine yourself at 21 years of age being teamed with two older drivers with huge celebrity status and elite success in open-wheel racing– including Indy 500 and series championships!
Reed had tremendous pressure to perform in 2008. The pressures on these drivers are great anyway, but my admiration for this young man went up quite a bit when considering his teammates. Unfortunately, the performance wasn’t there and when Chip Ganassi Racing merged with Earnhardt Racing for the 2009 season, Reed was let go and took a ride at Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowApril 20, 2008 11:18 pm UTC 17 Comments
The Shrub, won his third straight Nationwide Series race Sunday at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez outside Mexico City. In order to pull that off, Rowdy Busch had to pass Scott Pruett, one of America’s very best, veteran road racers.
And don’t tell yourself that Pruett has a habit of getting passed at the end of these things. He doesn’t. He usually wins. Sure, Juan Pablo Montoya bumped past Scott in this very same event, at a similar stage of the race last year. But Juan Pablo is an acknowledged, world class, road course master. There is no shame in being passed by JPM.
Scott Pruett is 48 and has had a long successful career in just about anything with wheels. Juan Pablo is an Indy 500 and Formula One Grand Prix winner. Kyle Busch, at something like 22, is already a 27 time winner in NASCAR’s top three series. That’s amazing!
This latest win was Kyle The Younger’s first ever on a road course too. AP has this quote….
“It’s fun to be able to win on a road course because there’s only certain guys that tend to be able to do it,” Busch said. “My first year, first year and a half … I was terrible. I sort of picked up on it a little bit, somehow.”
Yeah, I guess. So now Kurt’s little brother leads the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series and sits an ominous second in the Sprint Cup Race to the Chase. Is he the best of the NASCAR best?
He might be. Sure, equipment plays a big part in success on the track. But to get a chance to drive the best cars – for the best teams – you have to be one of the most talented drivers. Kyle is.
Many vaunted athletes have been put in what appeared to be the perfect circumstances in which to thrive. Plenty have choked. Tiger Woods didn’t. Kyle Busch hasn’t.
After finishing second at this year’s Masters, Woods will have to wait until next year to make another attempt at Pro Golf’s Grand Slam. I hope Rowdy will decide to run the whole schedule of NASCAR’s majors. Taking the NASCAR Grand Slam would leave no doubt in my mind who the best in NASCAR was.
Photo credit: Icon Sports Media, Inc.
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.April 17, 2008 11:16 pm UTC 4 Comments
This weekend has the potential for being one of my favorite race weekends of the year–even without a Sprint Cup race.
The racing will be hot and heavy this Saturday as the ARCA Remax Series heads to Iowa Speedway. Iowa has become one of race drivers favorite tracks in its short history. ARCA Remax Series points leader Justin Allgaier was this weeks guest on INSIDE ARCA, fresh off his win at Salem Speedway at the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by Federated Auto Parts. Allgaier is looking forward to racing at the .875 mile progressively banked oval.
Allgaier will face stiff competition from Michael Annett, as he looks for his third consecutive win. Annett has won the last two races he has entered in the ARCA Remax Series at Talladega in 2007 and the season opener at Daytona this year. Annett is a DeMoines, IA native and thus feels he has a home town advantage.
“I expect to run up front,” said Annett. “I have a lot of confidence in myself and the equipment I’m in. As competitive as the ARCA RE/MAX Series is, to run up front you’ve got to be with a good team. I ran my first three ARCA races with Country Joe Racing, and now with Bill Davis Racing, so I’ve always been with really good teams. I put pressure on myself. I’m with an excellent team now; everything’s in place. It’s up to me from here.”
Also looking to get back on track, both literally and figuratively, is 19 year old Ali Owens who suffered several broken bones in a motorcycle accident in March.
“When the doctor told me that I might miss Iowa I thought no way,” said Owens, driver of the No. 12 ElectrifyingCareers.com Chevrolet. “I focused all my energy on recovery. I worked as hard as I could with my trainer and followed my doctor’s orders and everything worked out. I feel great.”
Great racing and interesting personalities is what ARCA is all about. Combine those with a terrific race track and the 1:30pm ET start time on SPEED with INSIDE ARCA’s insider, Phil Parsons, can’t be missed.
Sunday’s action shifts south of the border to the Mexico City race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Joining the usual cast of Nationwide characters will be Scott Pruett, Boris Said, Patrick Carpentier, Sam Hornish, Jr., and Max Papis. Last year’s last lap shunt involving Pruett and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya had fans talking for weeks. While Montoya will not race in Mexico City in 2008, fans can expect similar thrills as veteran Australian road racer Marcos Ambrose is one of the Nationwide Series regulars to watch.
No Cup race–but this is going to be a fun weekend. I predict no fuel mileage runs in these races. Chances are there will be some good hard nose racing.
photo credit: arcaracing.com
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowApril 17, 2008 12:41 am UTC 2 Comments
Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 – which was actually the Phoenix 312 in non-metric stock-car lingo – was race number three for the racer formerly known around these parts as the “Ugly Little Freakin’ Toad” on dessert flat track.
If the occasional fuel mileage race doesn’t bother you – and it doesn’t me – then you probably liked the SSFF 500 (or 312) just like me. That would make you pretty darn astute, in my opinion. My buddy Steve hates economy runs of any kind, any time. If you are like him, well, Steve has a deserved reputation in ON PIT ROW land. You would be wrong, just like El Idioto.
Did you like the way I set up my segue to the Nationwide Series (maybe it should be the Continent-wide Series) trip to Mexico City for the rematch of Scott Pruett and Juan Pablo Montoya. What a great story that shapes up to be.
What? Whaddaya mean Juan’s not going to MayHeeCo? What PR Bozo blew this deal? Don’t they know how long Pruett’s been planning his revenge? It’s not fair!
I guess JPM will spend the week bonding with new Cup crew chief Jimmy Elledge. Thank you Chip Ganassi (with Felix Sabates).
OK, I’m going back to watching “Daytona 500: 50 Years of the Great American Race” that the folks at A&E Home Video sent me to review. Disc one is pretty darned awesome so far, which means I’m not gonna get a whole lot of sleep tonight. It features the broadcast of the 50th ever Daytona 500 in a multi-media format where you can switch from several vantage points to watch the action. You get the Fox team’s coverage but you can switch to the in-car camera – and driver audio – of Dale Jr, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and more. It is really cool stuff.
I’ll never get to disc two tonight, so I’ll pass along my thoughts on that later. But the race coverage alone is worth the money. Buy it. Check it out here.