Blog Entry

What now for Franchitti?

Posted on: July 1, 2008 6:18 pm
 

First off, in case you haven't heard, Chip Ganassi has shut down Dario Franchitti's No. 40 Spint Cup car.

Ganassi says he closed it because of a lack of sponsorship. And while on the face of things that's true, let's face facts, Franchitti wasn't getting the job done. Franchitti still has the option of driving Ganassi's Nationwide car, but as of right now it was unclear whether he planned to do so.

I dare say Franchitti's move to stock-car racing was the worst career decision ever made by an athlete. (Well maybe not as bad as Michael Jordan from greatest NBA player ever to minor league baseball, but it's up there.) From Indy 500 and IndyCar Series champion to an out of work stock-car racer in less than a year.

The decision to move to stock cars wasn't made on a whim -- at least I don't think it was -- but I wonder if he still would have made the move had he known Champ Car and IndyCar were going to end their feud.

He's better off back in IndyCar. That's his niche. Surely there's an IndyCar team that will give him a ride, maybe even Ganassi. I think it would be a mistake if he continues to soldier on in stock cars.

Jordon eventually figured out he stunk at baseball and went back to what he does best. Franchitti should do the same. I think he has a few wins left in him, just not in a stock car.

Category: Auto Racing
Comments

Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2008 9:37 am
 

What now for Franchitti?

From the immediate sound of things, Franchitti seems intent on racing in NASCAR --

According to the new story, Franchitti really doesn't want to return to IndyCar for whatever reason.

If he sticks it out, I wish him the best. He probably should have taken at least of year of seasoning in the Nationwide Series in the first place. I think the fact that Montoya was able to hold his own in his rookie season gave everybody a false sense that the direct route was the way to go, especially since the cars are so vastly different from the Nationwide to Cup.

I don't think Ganassi thought Franchitti would come in and set the world on fire, but they were willing to take their lumps. Sponsors apparently weren't -- and for good reason. I think there's something to be said for learning the ropes a bit, even for a veteran racer such as Franchitti.

 




Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2008 4:01 pm
 

What now for Franchitti?

Well , the  way  I  see  it , Darrio   needs  to   drive  in  the  Nationwide   series ,  first .  Learn   how  to  drive  a   big  car  , not  the   midgets . He   learned  that   the  hard  way . I  think  if  he   stays   there  for  at  least  a  full   year ,  then   go  to   Sprint  cup . Not   back   and  forth ,  the   way  he  has  been .  Weldon  is  not  coming   to  NASCAR .  He  wants  to   stay   in   Indy  cars . I   don't   see  anybody   joining   from  there   for   a  while  .  I   think   that  Ganassi   was   right  for   not   paying   out  of  his   own  pocket . That's   why  there   are  sponsors . It   comes  to   having  a  sponsor ,  he  have  to  drive   first  .



Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2008 3:50 pm
 

What now for Franchitti?

Oh, by the way Brian how does this affect the plans of Dan Wheldon coming to NASCAR?
It won't at all. Wheldon decided last week that with the increased field and schedule in IRL that he's looking to stay there long term and is no longer looking at NASCAR.

Can't say this really surprises me though. I thought Dario was overrated and ran into the perfect situation last year to win the 500 and the title. He could end up being a decent NASCAR driver and maybe still win a race or 2, but nothing more.



Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2008 3:40 pm
 

What now for Franchitti?

Altparrothead:

I'm a huge Indy Racing fan and a big fan of Andretti Green. My happiest day as a race fan was the day this pompous arrogant  driver thought he was better than everyone else and bolted for NASCAR leaving my favorite race team to better itself.

If you are a true fan of IndyCar, then if Dario is truly a "pompous arrogant driver" he would fit in perfectly on your favorite team. Andretti Green is run by an arrogant jerk (Michael), has the biggest baby in all of motorsports in Patrick, and the most selfish driver on the circuit in Marco. The only person on that team that has ever shown any class or humility is TK. And better themselves? The season is not going very well for them if you haven't noticed.

In a year when Indy seems to be rebounding this shows that the best drivers in the world are in Nascar. It's funny to me that Tony Stewart and Robby Gordan seem to have no problem switching over but the flip side seems to rarely work out. I'm not saying there will never be a good open wheel racer to cross over but one thing I've learned about Nascar is that these guys want to race.

Best drivers in the world? Might be time for you to watch a F1 race. And the funny thing about Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon switching over and driving in IndyCar...and doing well? Well it could be because they were IndyCar drivers before they went to Stock Car racing . So if you claim that there will never be a good open-wheel racer to cross over, are you saying that Tony Stewart isn't any good?



Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2008 1:20 pm
 

What now for Franchitti?

Ganassi wanted to attract good drivers and the only way he was doing that was to raid open wheel. He's tried so many things and so many guys hoping to have some success but nothing's really worked. If he put better equipment out on the track the guys he'd had would probably have done better. If he had better drivers then they'd probably do better. Everything needs to be in sync for it to work out well. Bringing in the best Indy has to offer won't bring success in cup until they've had time to adapt and given decent equipment. It takes time and Ganassi knows that but was hoping the promise of the future would get him the sponsors. It was a risky proposition that didn't pay off and now Ganassi and Franchitti look like fools for doing this. Ganassi should concentrate all his efforts on building a winning Nationwide series team then worry about re-entering the Cup series. Get some success and experience against lesser competition and lose less money in the process. Looking at new Cup programs over the past 10 or so years DEI built it right. Once they were dominant in the Busch series they expanded to cup and were competing immediately. Evernham had to bring in investors and has for the most part not lived up to the promise that was once there for the best crew chief in recent history. Michael Waltrip starts immediately in cup too and has been a big failure. The lure of the spotlight and money is too much but fail to perform and the money is gone quickly. The new NASCAR requires a lot to be competitive each week. Running good at a couple of tracks a year doesn't pay for the whole season anymore. You've got to be good everywhere. Most of these teams are realizing that and investing the resources to do so. Ganassi is going to have to go into debt to get out of this one.



Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2008 9:26 am
 

What now for Franchitti?

I think he will be back next season but in the 41 car.  This will be unfortunate for Reed but hopefully someone will take a chance on Reed and let him show what he can do in a properly funded car.  I also believe that Chip thought he could waltz into NASCAR and show those "Good ol Boys" that an open wheel owner could come in and dominate their sport without having to put the effort into it as they do.  Well, when he found out that you had to spend money to succeed his mind set changed and it was bring in the best from the open wheel ranks and I'll show them.  Again, he is finding out that doesn't work either.  So now what does he do?  He shuts down a team and is going to put his open wheel driver in the Nationwide series for experience and then fire the one Stock Car Driver he has left on his team. 

Oh, by the way Brian how does this affect the plans of Dan Wheldon coming to NASCAR?




Since: Dec 14, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2008 1:01 am
 

What now for Franchitti?

Putting him in Nationwide for some more experience may be the best possible thing for Dario at this point.  However, my problem with that is I really don't know how much experience he can get with driving the old car and not the COT. Sure he can learn some tracks better, but the COT is what the Cup Series is driving, not the old cars that the Nationwide Series still drives.  You could almost compare this to what Team Red Bull did with AJ Allmendinger (granted it wasn't due to a lack of sponsorship).  They took him out of the car for a while and that seemed to get his attention and got him re-focused and since then, he's done so much better than he did before.  Maybe the same thing can be done with Dario too.



Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: July 1, 2008 11:21 pm
 

What now for Franchitti?

Bye Bye Dario.

I'm a huge Indy Racing fan and a big fan of Andretti Green. My happiest day as a race fan was the day this pompous arrogant  driver thought he was better than everyone else and bolted for NASCAR leaving my favorite race team to better itself. I've met him and he's even more arrogant in real life than he appears on television. His wife is great but if there was ever a driver that reminded me of Jean Girard in Talladega Nights it has to be Dario. I know he's Scottish/Italian and not French but still. Good luck catching on with Panther or even Ganassi at this point. Does anyone remember Buddy Rice? He also won the Indy 500.

On the positve side for Indy Car, this may stop the mass exodus to NASCAR. In a year when Indy seems to be rebounding this shows that the best drivers in the world are in Nascar. It's funny to me that Tony Stewart and Robby Gordan seem to have no problem switching over but the flip side seems to rarely work out. I'm not saying there will never be a good open wheel racer to cross over but one thing I've learned about Nascar is that these guys want to race. ALL THE TIME.... Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun. They don't care if they are racing stock cars of soap box cars, if there is a race, they are up for it. Open wheel drivers are up for it once every week or two and ok with that. It just seems to be a differant mentality among drivers in the series.

My passion for Indy comes from the speed and the agility that's required not to wreck at those speeds without rubbing and racing. The drivers are still very talented and yes more arrogant. They seem to be more rock star than driver at times and ultimatly it's also what makes them less relevant among the populous of American racing enthusiast.

 




Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: July 1, 2008 10:26 pm
 

What now for Franchitti?

I hope that Dario will hang in there. Maybe it is best that he drive in the Nationwide series for the rest of the year. The seat time will be a good for the experience. But, Chip and Felix should have thought this out. Before they signed him to a full time cup ride. He is a good driver, and should be brought along slowly. The pressure to perform right out of the blocks. Can be more harmful then good. The open wheeler's have had nothing but trouble adapting to the cup cars. Juan, won a road race, yes. In reality he bullied his way to that win. Look at what he did to Scott in Mexico. He was a team mate at the time. Nothing against Juan, he still is having trouble learning the tracks. He will do well in the series. As long as he and Kyle can stay away from each other.

Dario will be better for this. I hope when he comes back to the cup ranks. He is with a team that can support him the full season. That includes a sponser for more then a half a year. 



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