When racing owners Chip Ganassi and Teresa Earnhardt decided to join forces last November, the two NASCAR dynasties only hoped for the kind of success their combined teams have achieved thus far in the 2009 Sprint Cup Series. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. struck a deal in November 2008, bringing drivers Martin Treux Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya and Aric Almirola together as teammates under the unified name Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. These three drivers have spent the last few months testing together, and sponsorship and driver lineups have now been solidified as Earnhardt Ganassi moves forward early in the 2009 season.
Martin Truex Jr., the most experienced of the Earnhardt Ganassi crew, was carried over from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and has been a top competitor for the Sprint Cup Series since 2004, when he ran two races for DEI and finished 70th in points in the series. Truex has had three consecutive Top 20 finishes since 2006 and finished at number 15 in last year's Sprint Cup Series. His transition to the merged Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team has proven to be successful so far for No. 1, as he started the racing season with a pole win at the Daytona 500 and promises to be a fierce competitor for the rest of the year, as well.
Columbian racer Juan Pablo Montoya is similarly enjoying this new Ganassi/Earnhardt merger, as the three-year NASCAR veteran finally has a more experienced driver (Truex, Jr.) to partner with. Montoya came to the NASCAR circuit after competing with Formula One and even winning the Indy 500 in 2000, spending 2008 with other Ganassi drivers Reed Sorenson and Dario Franchitti. Montoya posted a 14th place finish at Daytona this year and followed the next week with a consistent 11th place finish at Fontana, expecting more success for the rest of the season.
When recently asked about his new teammates, Montoya said that he, Truex and Almirola are working together fantastically, saying, "A lot of times you go to teammates and they really don't want to help. Like in the [Daytona 500] if I saw Martin, I would try to help him. If he saw me he would try to help me. It worked really well and I'm really pumped up about it."
Another Earnhardt Ganssi driver, Aric Almirola, is also pumped up about the team's new camaraderie. Currently in his first full Sprint Cup season, Almirola is enjoying the benefits of the newly minted team, getting his feet on the ground as he braces for the '09 season. Although he has yet to post a finish past the top 30 in this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Almirola got some early help from Montoya during Daytona, recalling an instance during the day when "we were toward the back and both of us had just pit and were on fresh tires. Juan pushed the ever-living daylights out of me for about three laps straight and we went from 27th to the top 15. We were flying. We were going to the front and it was cool to have his help."
Truex, Montoya and Almirola are posing a triple-threat on the scene of the Nascar Sprint Cup Series already this season, and everyone with NASCAR tickets has gotten to witness this blossoming team chemistry to its fullest. The Ganassi/Earnhardt merge was created in part because of financial necessity but also for drivers to improve on performance, and so far the deal has been nothing but successful for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. To watch these Earnhardt Ganassi drivers speed to the finish line of NASCAR races this season, get tickets to a Sprint Cup race online and prepare for a memorable day at the track!
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