By admin | November 2, 2010
By Richard Allen
The rumor mill has swirled around Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing for the last few days. Published stories say that the team is being courted by Ford Motor Company in an attempt to entice them to switch their allegiance to that brand in 2011. Supposedly, Ford has put up good money to make this deal happen.
In today’s tough business climate it would be difficult for any team to say no when they have been offered a significant amount of money. However, there seem to be a few too many strings to untie in this case for a switch to be made.
The Earnhardt part of Earnhardt-Ganassi has had a long standing relationship with General Motors and their Chevrolet brand. Granted, this company is only a shadow of what once was Dale Earnhardt, Inc. For that matter, both DEI and Chevy are only shadows of their former selves. Still, it would seem as though GM would want to keep the Earnhardt name associated with their product for as long as possible.
Keep in mind, though, that it’s not as if there is no relationship at all between the Earnhardts and Ford. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. once drove for soon-to-be Hall of Famer and Ford campaigner Bud Moore in the 1980s.
But most importantly, the Earnhardt part of Earnhardt-Ganassi has a long standing relationship with Richard Childress. Senior drove for RCR during the more memorable portion of his career and when he formed his own team he saw to it that the two teams worked together in chassis development and other aspects.
Today, even in the absence of Senior and with the merger of DEI to Chip Ganassi’s team, the two teams are closely tied. Earnhardt-Childress Engines have been very much a part of the NASCAR story in 2010. Those power plants have been under the hoods of cars winning a number of big races on the circuit. All of this season’s restrictor plate races, including the Daytona 500, were won with ECR engines. Also, races in Indianapolis, Charlotte, New Hampshire and Michigan were captured by either RCR or EGR drivers.
What happens to those powerful ECR motors the company has put out this year if the two main teams are employing separate manufacturers? Granted, there is little difference among the manufacturers when it comes to the body styles of the Car of Tomorrow. However, there is a difference among the engines.
Chevrolet is not going to be pleased with a company that produces engines for one of its teams at the same time producing Ford power plants. And the same could be said for Ford, especially in the relative infancy of their FR9 engine.
RCR is certainly not switching to Ford. So, what will happen?
It seems the most obvious answer is that Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing will be in Chevrolets in 2011. However, these troubled times may cause the powers that be within this current arrangement to think ‘outside the box’ so to speak.
Quite possibly an answer will be forthcoming very soon. I am not saying and EGR switch to Ford won’t happen but the idea seems a bit far fetched when all that would have to happen is taken into consideration.
*It was announced at a luncheon on Wednesday that EGR would remain with Chevrolet.
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