Franchitti Scores NASCAR Career Best Sixth in Nationwide Race, Leaves Vegas as Top Cup Rookie Contender

Franchitti Scores NASCAR Career Best Sixth in Nationwide Race, Leaves Vegas as Top Cup Rookie Contender

March 4, 2008

Franchitti Scores NASCAR Career Best Sixth in Nationwide Race, Leaves Vegas as Top Cup Rookie Contender

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 3, 2008)-Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) driver Dario Franchitti got a boost of confidence at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a career best finish of sixth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race on Saturday, and followed that up Sunday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race with a 33rd place result – taking him to the top of the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.

On Saturday, Franchitti qualified the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge sixth on the grid and finished the 200-lap event among the frontrunners as he stayed out on older tires and endured a green-white-checkered flag finish. The sixth place result topped his previous best NNS finish of 20th earlier this season at Daytona.

Sunday’s Cup race started with a completely different setup for the No.40 Target Dodge, as the team moved to a different configuration provided by CGRFS teammate Reed Sorenson’s feedback. The team continued to tighten the car up throughout the 267-lap race, and Franchitti finished two laps down in 33rd. More importantly, Franchitti has now completed 712 of 717 laps (99.3%) through three rounds, and now stands atop the 2008 rookie class standings

With the results, Franchitti moved up seven positions in NNS standings to ninth, while slipping one position to 36th in NSCS points.

Next up for Franchitti and the No.40 NSCS team is the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway next Sunday on FOX (1:30 p.m.  ET) and PRN (2:00 p.m. ET).

CGRFS Quoteboard:

NSCS “We had a very down and up race.  We really had nothing to work on from Friday and Saturday, didn’t have a decent car.  We threw Reed’s setup on it from the 41 car, just everything on it and it was, for me, way, way too loose.  I think Reed was loose as well and so we spent the first 100 laps just tightening the car up and unfortunately by that point we’d gone two laps down.  After that there was a portion of the race we were running the same times as the leader.  We got the car comfortable, it was good and we made progress, passing a bunch of guys.  That was our day.  Not where we wanted to finish but that midpoint of the race really taught me a lot and I’m really happy with it.”

About Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

With 13 wins in 2007, CGRFS continues to add to its tally of 90 trips to victory lane. Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with a new sponsor, Target. Today, his teams include two IRL IndyCars, one Indy Pro Series car and along with Felix Sabates he has three cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, two entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and a Daytona Prototype in the world of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series racing. Ganassi’s IndyCar teams have amassed five Championships and 56 wins since 1994; his NASCAR teams have 12 wins and two Rookie-of-the-Year titles; and the Grand American team has won two Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Championships and are the three-time defending Champions of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Chip Ganassi Racing operates out of state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis, Ind., and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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