STAYING PUT, PROBABLY: Four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and team owner Chip Ganassi have an understanding. As long as Franchitti feels his No. 10 car can run with the leaders, he wants to come to work.
Franchitti has every intention of clocking in next year. The 40-year-old Scotsman said during last weekend’s visit to Mid-Ohio he “definitely” would like to drive for Ganassi in 2014. A deal may be a formality, but it doesn’t appear imminent. Franchitti and Ganassi have worked on a series of one-year contracts since Franchitti returned to the circuit full-time in 2009 after a miserable stint in NASCAR.
“I would love to come back next year,” Franchitti said. “Chip would like me to come back. Target would like me to come back. The team would like me to come back. So we are all on the same page but we haven’t anything to announce yet.”
But both Ganassi and team manager Mike Hull both told The Associated Press during the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race last month they expected Franchitti to be driving for them in 2014.
Franchitti finished third behind Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Charlie Kimball at Mid-Ohio and is sixth in the points with five races remaining _ a remarkable comeback from last in the IndyCar standings at the start of the season. Though he is a distant sixth in points and hasn’t won since the 2012 Indianapolis 500, Franchitti believes there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank to chase a fifth championship and a fourth Indy 500 win.
“If I’m competitive and if I’m enjoying it, then I’ll keep doing it,” Franchitti said. “Those two are pretty closely linked. If I’m not competitive, I won’t be hanging around long.”
BUSCH’S PUSH: Kurt Busch just might Moneyball his way into the Chase.
Small team, small budget. Some help from NASCAR’s big boys. It all could add up to a spot in the field.
His talent never questioned, Busch still may be the surprise entrant in the 12-driver field. He’s winless and in 13th in the standings, but only 11 points out of the 10th and final guaranteed spot.
Busch, the 2004 Cup champ, is on a hot streak at the right time. He matched a season-high with his third-place finish last week at Pocono and has four top 10s in his last six races, all while putting Furniture Row Racing on the map.
“What I’m happy about is this group of guys, we’re small, but we can shoot from the hip a lot and make up a lot of ground by being aggressive with going back to a track a second time knowing exactly what we did wrong the first time around,” he said.
With stints driving for Jack Roush and Roger Penske behind him, Busch’s comeback would pretty much be complete if he could make the Chase.
And it could make him attractive to multiple-car organization like Richard Childress Racing.