Ganassi changes name for Cup team, drops Earnhardt

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Bob Pockrass of The Sporting News has confirmed that the legendary Earnhardt name has been dropped by Chip Ganassi’s Sprint Cup operation – which has now reverted to the “Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates” name after a five-year run as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

EGR was forged going into the 2009 season after the merger of Ganassi’s team and the former Dale Earnhardt Inc. squad, two teams that were struggling at the time to find sponsorship to fund their respective groups.

The combined team has primarily carried on as a two-car operation in Sprint Cup, and will maintain that this year with veteran Jamie McMurray and Cup rookie Kyle Larson.

“It’s been an honor to have the Earnhardt name affiliated with our team,” CGR president Steve Lauletta said Wednesday according to Pockrass. “Dale and Teresa have done a tremendous amount for the sport. She was visionary enough with us to do this partnership in the first place. We felt like it was a benefit…The goal of becoming a better race team partnered together, we think we did that.

“That’s a tribute to her wanting to do the right thing for her partners, her company and her employees. We have nothing but good things to say about the partnership.”

During the combined team’s tenure as EGR, it won the 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, both with McMurray at the wheel. However, it also endured a winless drought that lasted for three seasons until McMurray won this past fall at Talladega Superspeedway under caution.

Day-to-day operations of the No. 1 and No. 42 programs are expected to keep going along normally as Teresa Earnhardt, widow of seven-time Cup champ Dale Earnhardt Sr., has had little influence on that front. In addition, Lauletta told Pockrass that CGR would continue to maintain a business relationship with the DEI companies.

However, considering how much the Earnhardt name means to NASCAR fans, we can probably figure some of them won’t be happy with this decision – even if it shouldn’t really affect the team all that much.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”