Published on September 17th, 2008 | by Michael J Smith1
CGR, MWR To Merge?
Chip Ganassi Racing is said to be looking to merge with another team to stay in NASCAR. The team shut down the Dario Franchitti’s No. 40 team, laying off 71 employees in the process. The team is also losing Reed Sorenson next season to Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
Michael Waltrip Racing, which has already lost UPS as a sponsor, has been struggling too. Aaron’s Rent re-signed with the team to sponsor David Reutimann’s car for half of next season. This team is trying to secure sponsorship for the rest of the season for that car.
So, the two teams could possibly merge next season. That would mean that the combined team would filed four cars, and Juan Pablo Montoya would drive a Toyota.
This move is not all too suprising. Many NASCAR teams are struggling financially, and with the economy in the state it is currently in, sponsors have to reevaluate if it is worth the cash to stay in the sport. Carmakers are reconsidering, as well.
Dodge pulled its factory support from the Craftsman Truck Series, and it is hard to believe that if things don’t improve for an extended period of time, they will stay in the Nationwide or Sprint Cup series.
With the exception of Kasey Kahne’s two victories, and Ryan Newman’s one, the team has struggled immensely, putting no cars in the Chase. Not to mention the fact that Dodge isn’t known for its small, fuel-efficient vehicles. The carmaker is struggling to attract consumers, which is why all other makes are beating it, in terms of sales.
So, in a year, if things haven’t fully recovered, I would question Dodge’s committment to the sport. I’m pretty sure Chip Ganassi Racing would be.
I always wondered how Michael Waltrip could afford a three car race team. He hasn’t exactly been raking in the dough with good finishes. He never signed a huge contract, though at Dale Earnhard Inc. he did win a few races. Still, he doesn’t seem to have that much money. I know NAPA, UPS, and Aaron’s Rent probably kick in a good portion of the money, but still. He doesn’t have Richard Childress, or Rick Hendrick money. So, a merger would make sense.