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Martinsville II: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

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« on: October 17, 2007, 10:40:27 pm »

Martinville II: Chip Ganassi Racing preview
Date  2007-10-17

Dario Franchitti and the No. 41 Target Dodge Ram Team Facts:

* Franchitti's First Taste of NASCAR: On the heels of Franchitti's stock car debut in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway, CGRFS recently announced the reigning Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion will continue his development program in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Martinsville. The Cunningham Motorsports-owned truck will be led by Ganassi Crew Chief Brian Pattie and his CGRFS team, who guided Franchitti through his ARCA debut. The 0.526-mile oval will mark Franchitti's first run behind the wheel of a NASCAR Truck, and his first ever appearance at the Virginia short track.

* ARCA Talladega Rewind: Franchitti made his stock car debut in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway October 5th and finished 17th in the 94-lap event with only 30 total laps under his belt in a stock car before the drop of the green flag.

* Short Track Successes in 2007: Although Franchitti has never raced on Martinsville's .526-mile paperclip-shaped track, he's competed on CART and IRL (1997-2007) short tracks including Phoenix (1 mile), Richmond (.750 mile), Iowa (7/8 mile), Nashville (1.33-mile), Nazareth (1 mile), Gateway (1.25 mile), Pikes Peak (1 mile), Milwaukee (1 mile) and Cicero (1.029 mile) where he recorded four IndyCar wins at Iowa, Richmond (2007), Milwaukee and Pikes Peak (2004).

David Stremme and the No. 40 Target House Dodge Team Facts:

* Target House: This weekend David Stremme and the No. 40 Target team will sport a special paint scheme in collaboration with Target House. Target has been a valued partner of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital since 1999, when it first opened Target House. Target House is the home-away-from home for families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee. Target House serves 100 percent of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's long-term housing needs. Since opening its doors, Target has given five percent of its income to organizations that support education, the arts and safe families and communities. Today that translates to $3 million every week.

* Moving up: Stremme and the No. 40 team picked up another spot in the NNCS point standings (25th to 24th) after a successful weekend at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte. The ninth-place finish gave Stremme his third top-10 finish of the 2007 season, and second career best.

* Chassis: David Stremme will pilot a new chassis this weekend. Chassis #804 will see action for the first time this season as Stremme and team take to the track at Martinsville Speedway for the Subway 500.

Reed Sorenson and the No. 41 Breast Cancer Awareness/Target Dodge Team Facts:

* Raising Breast Cancer Awareness: Reed Sorenson will be driving a Pink No. 41 Target Dodge for the next two NEXTEL Cup Series races to help raise Breast Cancer Awareness. Additionally, Sorenson announced a donation pledge to coincide with the pink car during the Atlanta race on Oct. 28, which Target will match. Sorenson will donate $10,000 for a win, $5,000 for a top-five finish, $1,000 for a top-10 finish, $4,100 for a pole and $12.62 for each lap completed, totaling $4,100 if he completes all of the scheduled 325 laps that will make up the Pep Boys Auto 500. He will also auction his autographed custom race helmet and firesuit from the "Pink Car" races with proceeds from the pledge and auction benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Project Pink House. For more information on the auction, which will begin on Monday, Oct. 22, please visit Artwork available upon request.

* Golfing for Charity: The inaugural Reed Sorenson Charity Golf Classic is scheduled to take place next Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the White Water Creek Country Club in Fayetteville, GA. Proceeds will benefit Speedway Children's Charities and golfers can expect to play with many NASCAR drivers including Sorenson's CGRFS teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and David Stremme, Target team crew chief Jimmy Elledge, FOX and SPEED T.V. personality Larry McReynolds, John Smoltz and Tim Hudson from the Atlanta Braves and various other local celebrities. For more info. please log onto

* Points Update: Sorenson and the Target team maintained 23rd position in the overall NEXTEL Cup Series driver standings after the last event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The team is 166 points out of 20th with five races remaining in the 2007 season.

* Chassis: Crew chief Jimmy Elledge has selected chassis #732 for this weekend's race at Martinsville. This is the same CoT the team used previously at both New Hampshire races and the first Dover race with a best finish of 14th coming in the second New Hampshire event.

Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Avenger Team Facts:

* Back to the Paperclip: Juan Pablo Montoya and the Texaco/Havoline team completed all 500 laps of the event at Martinsville Speedway in April. He was running in the 15th position and found himself in the top 10 on lap 342. Rain spoiled the team's charge as NASCAR red flagged the race on lap 354. Racing resumed on lap 363 with the Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the ninth position. Montoya tangled with the No. 96 car on lap 375 bringing out the caution. He pitted for tires and fuel, while several cars elected to stay on the track and returned in the 17th position. He gained one spot before the checkered flag waved to finish 16th.

* Bid on the Helmet, Save a Life: Mike Brill, car chief for Montoya, has been working closely with the Charlotte-based charity Carolina Breast Friends and its "Project Pink House". Brill has put a full-size authentic racing helmet autographed by all 12 of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Chase contenders on ebay. The item number for the ebay auction is 280162419074 and all the proceeds from the auction go to Project Pink House. Project Pink House will be a "one-stop shop" servicing breast cancer survivors and their families with a number of programs including: counseling services, wellness education, fitness center, nutrition center, boutique, library and computer research center, arts and crafts workshop and a mediation garden. For more information on Project Pink House and Carolina Breast Friends, please visit

* Standings: Montoya slipped one spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings after his 37th-place finish at Charlotte. The Texaco/Havoline Dodge was a fast race car, but incidents on lap 35 and lap 278 put the black and red Charger behind the wall before the checkered flag fell.

* Rookie Race: Despite a 37th-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway last Saturday night, Montoya's competition for the Rookie of the Year title finished 41st. Montoya leads David Ragan by 15 points (226-211) in the Raybestos® Rookie standings entering the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Montoya is poised to become the fourth driver for Texaco/Havoline to earn the Raybestos Rookie honor (Davey Allison, Kenny Irwin and Jamie McMurray).

* Chassis: Crew Chief Donnie Wingo and the No. 42 team are bringing chassis #735 to Martinsville Speedway this weekend. This will be the fourth time this season Wingo and the crew will prepare this Avenger for a short track race. Chassis #735 has previously run at the first Martinsville, Phoenix and the September race at Loudon. Montoya, in his first visit to the paperclip in Virginia, started 23rd and finished on the lead lap in 16th. In Phoenix, the crew never found the right balance on the car and settled for a 33rd-place effort. Most recently at Loudon, Montoya started 31st and finished in the 23rd spot.

* Sirius-ly: Montoya and the team will be featured weekly on Sirius Satellite Radio's Driver2Crew Chatter. Driver2Crew Chatter puts fans in the car and in the pits. Fans can listen to Montoya's radio communication with Crew Chief Wingo, Spotter Tab Boyd and the rest of the Team on channel 119. Listen in every Monday at 5 p.m. ET on channel 128 for the "Juan Pablo Montoya Report." Montoya provides exclusive updates on the No. 42 Team; gives post-race downloads and shares his own personal experiences on his jump full-time into the NEXTEL Cup Series.

-credit: cgr

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