Friday, we saw the prime example of what happens when corruption rules a sport. In the waning stages of the Brickyard Grand Prix, Juan Pablo Montoya, driving a second entry, #02, for Chip Ganassi Racing, deliberately wrecked both the #9 and the #8 cars. Grand-Am proceeded to take absolutely no action despite the fact that Montoya clearly veered his car to the RIGHT by more than 10 feet on both occasions on the same part of the track, a hard, almost flat-out LEFT turn.
The first car Montoya wrecked, the #9, was coincidentally leading the 3 round North American Endurance Championship (NAEC); the #01 was second in those standings. Sure enough, around went the #9, and with it the NAEC. The #9 lost a lap because the officials had to get the car out of the wet grass and restarted. Ironically, earlier in the race Scott Dixon, co-driver of the #02, also had turned around a car, the #5, which was a teammate to the #9 and thereby eligible to help the team in the NAEC.
The second car Montoya wrecked, the #8, was coincidentally 2nd in the points to Ganassi's #01 car, 3 points back. With the #8 in 2nd, the #02 in 3rd, and the #01 struggling at the back of the DP battle and set to lose the points lead, what better thing could Montoya do for his teammate than wreck the #8? One guess what happened. Yep, around went the #8, bringing out the caution.
Is it not coincidental that the car that did all this, #02, was not a full-time entry? This car was normally used exclusively for the Rolex 24. This is not new for Grand-Am, however; Ganassi cars have been stirring up trouble for years. In the 2006 Rolex 24, Scott Dixon turned around a GT car for absolutely no reason other than it didn't go off the course to let Dixon pass. This happened with less than 30 minutes and got Dixon a 1 lap penalty, not that it mattered since the car had a 2 lap lead at the time. During the 2008 race at Mexico City, Memo Rojas attempted to run the #91 of Marc Goossens off the track and into the barriers along the frontstretch. Grand-Am responded by saying Rojas wouldn't be allowed to drive the closing stint at the next round. Some penalty. Later that year at Barber Motorsports Park, Pruett ran the #58 off the course when it tried to pass him for the lead despite the #58 having the preferred line.
Throughout the years, Chip Ganassi's Grand-Am drivers and IndyCar drivers have made it a habit to intentionally wreck other cars, yet officials have always turned the other way. Can they not see the Ganassi will do anything it takes, including what is in essence race-fixing to win? What if they kill another driver? If somebody were killed, there is enough reasonable suspicion to arrest Ganassi and the whoever was driving Ganassi's car and charge them with manslaughter. There is obviously a connection. I think that connection is that, even before NASCAR "Media Group" purchased Grand-Am, there has always been a connection between the two besides financing and race sanctioning. Is it not ironic that one team in the entire series that ever gets away with intentionally wrecking someone else is the only NASCAR team in the series? There appears to be something foul going on behind the scenes, but what we could only guess. I would not be the least bit surprised if Peter Baron and Starworks were to pull out of the series. But one thing is clear, Chip Ganassi and everyone of his drivers, have proven to be characterless people who stop at nothing for money. And what is the point of racing, but to have fun? The objective of the game, and note that it is a game, is to win, but the point of the game is to have fun.
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