Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) will celebrate its 25th year with the start of the 2014 season. CGRT, which began as Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 1990, is recognized as one of the most successful teams in the motorsports industry. Beginning with their first win in 1994 at Surfers Paradise, Australia, the organization has compiled historic victories in some of the most iconic races around the globe. CGRT has claimed five wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500 and a Brickyard 400 victory. In total CGRT has claimed 17 series championships and more than 150 race victories.
Of the 21 drivers that have competed in NASCAR races for CGRT, Jamie McMurray has more NASCAR wins for the CGRT organization than any other driver, with six total NASCAR victories in Ganassi owned race cars (one NASCAR Nationwide Series, five NASCAR Sprint Cup).
Jamie McMurray will make his eighth start in Sprint Unlimited at DIS driving the No. 1 Cessna Chevy SS. In his previous seven starts, in the select field of pole winners from the previous season and former eligible winners of the Sprint Unlimited, McMurray has a best start of third in 2004 and a best finish of second two times (2009 and 2011).
The weather in Daytona recently has not been the most conducive for testing the No. 1 Cessna Chevy SS. During a break in the action on Friday, McMurray tweeted "At New Smyrna test in the rain. How about a brief chat? shoot me some questions using #AskJamie. 4 #BudweiserDuel tix up for grabs, GO!"
You should probably keep your eye out for additional ticket giveaways between now and the #Daytona500.
NASCAR fans will determine the format and rules of the 2014 Sprint Unlimited, the season’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Fans will have the power in their hands to shape the event in real-time with their Sprint mobile devices via NASCAR Mobile and NASCAR.com. From now until 6 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 15 fans can vote at NASCAR.com/SprintUnlimited or on the NASCAR Mobile App. Voting is UNLIMITED and votes cast on the app count double. Fans will determine one of three choices for the race format, one of three choices for starting order and one of three choices to determine the restart order for the final segment.
Since joining the NSCS full-time in 2002, only four active drivers (Jeff Gordon - six wins, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson - each with five wins) have more victories on restrictor plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega) than Jamie McMurray - four wins. McMurray was also the winner of the most recent restrictor plate race at Talladega Superspeedway in Oct. 2013.
Cessna Aircraft Corporation, primary partner on the No.1 Chevrolet SS that Jamie McMurray will pilot in the Sprint Unlimited Saturday night at DIS, is calling on all Cessna Citation owners and operators across the country to register their Citation jets and crews to fuel the 2014 Citation Special Olympics Airlift in June. Many Cessna owners will donate their aircraft to transport athletes and their coaches to and from the Special Olympic Games that will take place in Trenton, NJ this June. A Citation business jet will land or take off every two minutes for 10 hours and will transport over 800 athletes and their coaches from across the country. The Citation Special Olympics Airlift elevates Special Olympics athletes and the pilots who fly them to the Games to gold-medal status.
Beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23 (FOX, 1pm ET), the speed and excitement of Target will be on display at the track each week in these fresh, new designs that offer edgier, modern updates to iconic firesuits. In his inaugural NSCS season, Kyle Larson and crew will hit the ground running with the new designs that will ensure they stand out from the pack both on the track and in the garage.
Larson is set to make his NSCS debut at Daytona International Speedway, as he embarks on his first full season racing in the NSCS. In 2012, Larson made two starts at Daytona in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS). He finished the 2013 NNS season eighth in the final standings on his way to the NNS Rookie of the Year honors.
“I’m really excited about getting the season started and to be part of Team Target," stated Kyle Larson, Driver, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS. "I’m also really excited about the new designs to the car and firesuits. The Bullseye is already a really visible logo, and I think the new designs make it stand out even more than in the past. It’s cool that Target and the team are doing something a little different. There’s no doubt our team will stand out at the track.”
Throughout the season, Kyle Larson and crew will rotate wearing one of three different firesuits that highlight the Target Bullseye below the left shoulder instead of the more traditional position of centered on the suit. Each firesuit also highlights Target’s recently launched digital savings program, Cartwheel.
“Our long partnership with Target was built on a foundation of innovation, both on and off the race track and the new look of the No. 42 Target team exemplifies exactly that," Steve Lauletta, President, Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates commented. "In conjunction with Target, we have taken the very classic look of the Target firesuit and modified it into a fresh new style that we think Kyle Larson race fans are going to enjoy.”
The primary colors of the suits are black, white, and red respectively; each with a different design. The black suit has crisp red lines that lead diagonally around the front and back of the suit’s midsection. The white suit has two bold red lines, resembling racing stripes, running from just below the Bullseye logo down the left front of the suit. The red suit has a more traditional look with one primary color, but is contrasted by a white accent running down the inseam.
This season the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS will feature a two-tone paint scheme of red and white, with the dominant color changing based on the start time of the race. The car will shine bright at night races with a white paint scheme that fades into red along the rear of the car. For day races, a red paint scheme will dominate the front of the car and fade into white along the rear. The iconic Target Bullseye continues to be prominently displayed on the car’s hood, and for the first time numerous small Bullseyes drape the lower panels all around the car.
"The debut of Kyle Larson in the No. 42 car was a perfect opportunity for a fresh and enhanced design for Team Target," added Dan Griffis, Vice President, Target. "Target is synonymous with design and innovation and we think this fun and bold look for the Bullseye will be both eye catching and appealing to fans. The relationship between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing is among the longest current partnerships in all of racing and one that has always been marked by differentiation on and off the track.”
Over the next couple weeks, this column will strive to provide full coverage of the events leading up to the Great American Race, including a possible interview with the head of the CJ Mears Gang himself, Casey Mears, as well as other members of the NASCAR garage.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opens with the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Feb. 23. The race will be televised live on FOX at 1 p.m. ET. The cars will also be on track throughout the "SpeedWeeks" leading up to the "Great American Race," including the Budweiser Duels qualifying races, which will be televised live on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
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