Fantasy NASCAR team preview: Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing

by C.J. Radune on January 23, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT


No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet

Owner: Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi
Driver: Martin Truex Jr.
Crew chief: Kevin Manion
Sprint Cup debut: 2004
Age: 28
Career Sprint Cup wins: 1
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 15

2009 fantasy outlook: Truex should be the best option for fantasy owners from this racing team. He has finished in the top 20 in points each of the last three seasons and made the Chase of the Cup in 2007. He finished in the top 10 11 times in 2008 and has one career win to his credit. He may receive some pressure to perform well for the newly formed company but has a solid track record. He should be considered as a low No. 1 driver or a very strong No. 2 for owners.

No. 42 Wrigley's Chevrolet

Owner: Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi
Driver: Juan Pablo Montoya
Crew chief: Brian Pattie
Sprint Cup debut:
Age: 33
Career Sprint Cup wins: 1
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 25

2009 fantasy outlook: Montoya had a decent second season in the Sprint Cup Series but could not live up to his top-20 overall finish as a rookie. He closed the year 25th in points, posting two top-five and three top-10 finishes. Unfortunately for Montoya owners last season, he failed to finish nine races last season, eight because of being involved in an accident and one because of engine trouble. This season, Montoya should become even more comfortable behind a Sprint Cup car but fantasy owners should consider him as a mid No. 3 driver.

No. 8 (no sponsor) Chevrolet

Owner: Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi
Driver: Aric Almirola
Crew chief: Doug Randolph
Sprint Cup debut: 2007
Age: 24
Career Sprint Cup wins: 0
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 42

2009 fantasy outlook: Almirola had a chance to run one-third of the racing schedule last season in the No. 8 car, so he has some familiarity with the crew and the car. He showed flashes of potential last season with five top-20 finishes, which included a season-best eighth-place finish. He also had his struggles like other young drivers, too, finishing 30th or worse in five races. Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing has said the sponsorship for the car will be announced soon and that Almirola will race in the Daytona 500. Almirola should not be considered a top-three driver for owners this season, and there may be a question about if he would be a good No. 4 driver.

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About C.J. Radune

Radune has been a KFFL contributor since January 2008.

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