News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Ramblin' Reck

July 19, 2010

RAMBLIN' RECK: Ganassi can add to legacy at Sunday’s Brickyard 400

TERRE HAUTE — Chip Ganassi has made his mark in auto racing many times as a car owner and can do it again this week at Indianapolis.

The personable former driver made history earlier this year when his drivers won the Daytona 500 (Jamie McMurray) and Indianapolis 500 (Dario Franchitti). He’s the first owner to accomplish that feat.

He can add to that record if McMurray or Juan Pablo Montoya wins the Brickyard 400 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ganassi not only would be the first owner to have the winning driver in the Daytona 500 and two Indy races but he would be the first to have the winning driver in the two events at Indianapolis.

Montoya had a good shot at winning the Sprint Cup race a year ago and has always run well at IMS, winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2000. He is the first former Formula One driver to drive full-time in NASCAR.

“Our season has gone pretty good [in both series] so far in the big events. We’ve been challenged from time to time in other races,” Ganassi said in a teleconference Monday.

He said Montoya does so well at Indianapolis and other places because he “races every lap” all the time. “He gets around Indy well,” said Ganassi.

He said preparation for the two races in Indianapolis is not that different especially with the 500 schedule reduced to two weeks.

“You need people with a lot of passion. You have to do your homework and be ready to race,” said Ganassi.

Montoya or McMurray may not be favored to win this week but both may be hard to keep out of Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon has won the race four times and Jimmie Johnson has won three times. They and Hoosier Tony Stewart may be rated the favorites.

One of our favorite moments of all-time in covering sports came in 1994 when Gordon crossed the finish line to the shouts of most of the fans in the stand, winning the very first Brickyard 400 at the track not far from where he went to high school and began his racing career.

He’s our sentimental favorite to win this week but we’re going with Kevin Harvick, the points leader who won the race in 2003.

Now you know.

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