FORT WORTH, Texas – Chip Ganassi wasn’t pleased with his NASCAR teams long before Dario Franchitti failed to qualify for Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Just how unhappy the car owner actually is became clear Saturday when he unleashed a blistering indictment of his team’s performance so far this season.
“Frankly, there are 46 cars there and if you can’t beat three of them, that’s pretty pathetic,” Ganassi said on Sirius Satellite Radio. “I certainly have all the faith in the world in (Franchitti’s) driving abilities. I don’t think it’s that. The fact of the matter is, we didn’t give him a car that was capable of doing it.”
Franchitti has struggled in his move from the IndyRacing League, where he won the Indianapolis 500 and series championship last year, to NASCAR and came into Texas outside the top 35 in points and needing to qualify for the race on speed. Missing Sunday’s event will drop him deeper into the hole as he heads next week into Phoenix, where he didn’t have a great test session earlier this season.
Asked what the team can do to turn things around, Ganassi questioned whether his three crews are even working together to build a solid organization.
“When you say ‘this team’ you hit the nail on the head – we’re not working as a team,” Ganassi said. “You can’t have guys that are fast and guys that are slow. It doesn’t make any sense. These guys, these teams are not talking to each other, they are not working together, they are not using all the resources that are available to them. That’s how you end up in a fix like this.”
Juan Pablo Montoya is currently the highest ranked Ganassi driver at 17th, followed by Reed Sorenson in 26th and Franchitti in 37th.
Although he praised the work Montoya and his No. 42 crew has done to rebound from a slow start to the season, Ganassi was particularly upset with the performance of Sorenson’s No. 41 team. The third-year driver has four finishes of 31st or worse.
“The 41 team, it’s the same old things that take them out,” he said. “One week its this, the next week it’s that, and it’s sort of this combination of all of the above. Everybody on the 41 team is going to have to take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are prepared for what’s coming down the pike.”
Ganassi, who was in St. Petersburg, Fla., with his IRL teams, said later Saturday he won’t hesitate to make personnel changes if that’s what it will take to get his teams turned in the right direction.
“It’s a tough sport, a tough damn business and we really are a better organization than this,” he said. “We know the issues, we know how to make cars go fast, and for some reason, we just don’t do it. This goes back to people and procedures and policies that people are going to have to adopt. People can’t just keep doing it the old-school way.”