By now I’m sure you’ve heard that another one of the worst kept secrets of 2008 has become a reality. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Dale Earnhardt Inc. will merge for the 2009 season and become Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The four car team will feature Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex, Aric Almirola, and a yet unnamed fourth driver for the Cup Series. The team will also have at least one full time Nationwide Series car with driver Bryan Clauson and sponsor Fastenal.
The team did not release any other details today, saying the rest would come in future announcements.
From what we are hearing, Ganassi’s relationship with Dodge will end, and CGR will be let out of their remaining contract with the troubled automaker. They will switch to Chevrolet to align with DEI.
Look for the new EGR to be run out of Ganassi’s shop in Concord as its large enough for four Cup teams and a little more modern then DEI’s Mooresville locations.
As we heard today, as many as 110 DEI employees were laid off and there will probably be more to come. DEI must trim down their workforce to prepare for the merge. And while I believe most of the cuts will come from the DEI side, we understand that Ganassi will be releasing some employees as well.
In terms of leadership, I would expect the main CGR execs and leadership to remain. Current CGR President Steve Lauletta is in charge of not only the NASCAR shop, but the Grand Am and Indy car teams as well. Because of this, I don’t see Chip making any changes there. What this means for the current DEI chiefs remains to be seen. Executives like Max Siegel and John Story may be reassigned or given their outright release.
Over the next couple of weeks more of these details will be ironed out, and the EGR picture will start to come into focus for 2009. Now that it’s a done deal, what do you think? Is Dale Sr. rolling over in his grave? Was this the right move for both parties? What do you think we can expect from this organization for 2009 and beyond? Let us hear it!