You have ask the question, in fact, I’m sure you’ve all asked yourself this question. Does Chip Ganassi really want to win in NASCAR or is he simply running a business?
There’s nothing wrong with the later, but it does make a difference when the team owner doesn’t seem to show the same passion for his NASCAR efforts as he does for his IndyCar and sports car teams.
Funny thing, Sebastian Bourdais, who won the second IndyCar race at Detroit this past weekend, said: “In IndyCar, no one makes money. It’s just great, pure racing.”
Having been around this sport in virtually all of it’s forms for over 45 years, I can safely say that I think that’s the case for almost every series, NASCAR may be the exception. However it doesn’t walk away clean, in NASCAR a few people make money, relatively speaking.
You would think that Ganassi’s obsession with beating Roger Penske would spill over into NASCAR, but by all visible appearances, it doesn’t. Does some of the money from sponsorship in NASCAR find it’s way over to pay for Ganassi’s IndyCar exploits? My bet is that it most assuredly does. If so, it’s legitimate, just not very original.
Enzo Ferrari built road cars for one purpose only, to go racing. At least he was upfront about it. With Ganassi who knows? He seems to be in the game, his drivers are showing a bit stronger than in the past, but the passion seems to be missing.
Jamie McMurray sits in 7th place in the standings and Kyle Larson 20th. Meanwhile, Joey Logano sits in 4th and Brad Keselowski sits in 6th. Penske has the passion, business sense and organizational structure to be the lead dogs in Ford’s camp while Ganassi languishes buried in the pecking order of General Motors.
A case in point is Andretti. He’s all about business, has the passion for IndyCar but none for NASCAR. He’s stated that if an opportunity came along where he could properly fund the team, he could be interested. That’s not passion. He could make a NASCAR effort happen, but he chooses no to do it.
Passion for Chip Ganassi is IndyCar and sports car prototypes, that is If you can call the present crop of cars in the TUDOR series proper prototypes. It just doesn’t feel like he’s really in the NASCAR game.
Maybe I’m wrong. However, Kyle Larson came out of the box strong, but he’s still fighting to get that first win and is inconsistent. Jamie McMurray seems content to be where he is, but Larson is one that couldn’t be blamed for moving on.
The bottom line is that no matter what the die hard, old school fans say, NASCAR is unbelievably competitive. It’s hard to win and the people who are winning are doing so with teams that exude passion from the owners to the kid sweeping the garage floors.
One could have only hoped that Ganassi would have taken what he engineered in taking over the Earnhardt operation that he would have put more heart and effort into it.
Montoya should feel vindicated being back in IndyCar after an excruciating tenure at Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR team.