24 January 2012
Ganassi admits EGR must do better in 2012
Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team boss Chip Ganassi has admitted that the team's 2011 Sprint Cup season had been "just pathetic", but says improvement is on the way.
"Hopefully this is the last time I have to say we finished 21st and 27th in points last year," said Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team owner Chip Ganassi during the second day of NASCAR pre-season media activity. "That's just pathetic for a team with our ability and our resources. Simple as that."
2011 is certainly a year that Ganassi, the team and its drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray will be keen to see firmly in the rear-view mirror. No wins for either driver, and just two top-fives and eight top-10s for Montoya. But how is Ganassi going to ensure that 2012 is any different?
"After last year, we had to start over in a lot of areas," said Ganassi in his trademark blunt, no-nonsense way. "You either have it or you don't ... If you're working, good. If you're not, you'd better make some changes."
EGR has said goodbye to veterans Steve Hmiel, Ed Nathman and Tony Glover, and brought in Chris Heroy as Montoya's new crew chief, John Probst as technical director and Max Jones as head of competition.
"These two cars are probably the best-funded cars in the garage," said new arrival Max Jones. "Chip provides the team with everything they need. You have great drivers in Jamie and Juan. We should be able to put all the pieces together and win races."
"It's just a matter of putting the right people in place and letting them do their job," explained Ganassi of the sweeping changes he's made throughout the team during the off-season. "It was obviously time to make a change. We took a big swipe at it. I'm certainly happy with the people we have. If more changes need to be done, we'll do that as well."
He's sticking with his drivers, though - at least for the time being. There had been rumours that Montoya in particular was unhappy with the competitiveness of EGR last year and had cast around for a seat elsewhere - with Red Bull Racing a particular possibility, before the shock news of its closure emerged during the summer put paid to any such possibility.
Now, Montoya seems happy that he's re-signed with his long-time mentor and that things are looking up for them both
"I know it's very early, but you can see the changes. You can see there's a direction where we're going. The team is heading somewhere," said Montoya. "Sometimes before it was like: 'What are we doing?' There were a lot of long faces and no answers. Now there's a direction, and there's so much potential."
"Like so many other sports, racing's about momentum. We want to start out fast, and certainly success can breed success," said Ganassi. "As for 2012, the great thing is you get to start all over again," he continued.
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