Earnhardt-Ganassi fired both men with immediate effect. "We have a zero tolerance policy in this organization and effective immediately, both individuals' employment has been terminated," said team co-owner Chip Ganassi, who said he was "extremely disappointed with the news."
As a formality, NASCAR also followed up the firings by handing down indefinite series bans to both men for violation of the circuit's substance abuse policy as well as actions detrimental to stock-car racing.
Joe Gibbs Racing hands over engine build to Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing has announced that it is to merge its engine program with that of Toyota Racing Development next season, meaning that it will be running the same power units as those used by Michael Waltrip Racing.
The move follows a worrying trend of engine failures for JGR in 2011, with 11 engine failures recorded so far this season resulting in Denny Hamlin starting from the back in four races.
The consolidation is also required by Toyota, as they face the likely loss of one of their three NASCAR Cup teams with the fate of Red Bull Racing still in the balance. Toyota could not make a viable plan out of supplying just one team (MWR) from its southern California facility going forward in 2012.
JGR will receive the Toyota-built parts and add its own package to the motors, and has also struck a deal with MWR to do the same for that team - safeguarding jobs in the JGR engine program.
"It's just a great deal for both organizations, as well as the Michael Waltrip Racing organization," said the president of Toyota Racing Development, Lee White. "It brings all three of the entities closer together cooperatively in terms of engines, drivability, supporting the engines at the racetrack and also extending into the chassis."
The current Toyota-built engine does not fit in the 2011 JGR chassis, but the team have not ruled out making changes to their cars before the end of the season to allow for the team to get a jump on the transition, which will also see the introduction of electronic fuel injection to the series, replacing carburetors.
Pocono shortens races for 2012
Organisers at Pocono Raceway have announced that both NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the circuit will be shortened from 500 to 400 miles in 2012, as debate continues about the length of races in the series.
"The 400 mile distance will make NASCAR racing at Pocono even more exciting," said the president and CEO of Pocono, Brandon Igdalsky.