CONCORD, N.C. – The first day of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour took on an international flavor complete with a United Nations-like display of flags and international cuisine.
That was the theme for a session with officials from a visit with owners, drivers and crew chiefs from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which will field Cup cars for Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya and Scot Dario Franchitti this season.
“It never mattered to me where my drivers came from,” said owner Chip Ganassi. “They are all here for one reason and that’s to win.”
All of Ganassi’s drivers were on hand Monday, including those competing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series as well as the Indy Racing League and the Grand-Am Rolex series.
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The driver lineup represents six countries and includes 12 series championships and three Indianapolis 500 victories.
“I haven’t put this group together to be international or be trendy. I made a commitment to myself to get the best drivers no matter where they came from or what the circumstances can be,” Ganassi said.
Ganassi also took issue with some fan discontent over an “invasion” of open-wheel drivers to the NASCAR ranks.
“I do believe the international look of our team is a good thing. Those NASCAR fans should feel a lot of pride,” he said.
“What it tells you is the rest of the world is finding out what we already know – that NASCAR is damn good racing. That is the attraction.”