Can Chip Ganassi Racing Get a Last Hurrah Before the 2021 Season Concludes?

Published 09/16/2021, 11:53 AM EDT
Jun 13, 2021; Fort Worth, TX, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain (42) drives during the NASCAR All-Star Open at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


Earlier this year, news broke that the 2021 season would be the final year for Chip Ganassi Racing. Trackhouse Racing team bought the outfit, and there have been big changes. This includes laying off at least 55 employees, which could potentially jeopardize their playoff run.

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On the bright side, reports suggest that the team has had a breakthrough in performance.  To be precise, both Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain have received a surge in raw speed. With the former in the Playoff battle, this is definitely a big boon for his chances of making it far.

Already, the 2004 Cup Series champion has showed off top four level speed in the past two playoff races. Meanwhile, his teammate has notched up top-seven finishes in both races. This feat is pretty incredible, considering that this season has seen restrictions on parts development, wind tunnel testing and simulation.

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Will there be a Chip Ganassi Racing swan song?

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Admittedly, the team’s playoff chances looked slim during the month of May, as both drivers had sub-par performances. Furthermore, their lack of straight-line speed turned out to be quite problematic in the regular season and during the playoffs. The situation was not so bad on 550-horsepower tracks. Unfortunately, this does not translate into performance on the shorter 750-horsepower ovals.

SONOMA, CA – JUNE 21: Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing enters Turn 4 during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Toyota / Save Mart 350, in Sonoma, CA. (Photo by Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Although Chastain is not a playoff driver, he could throw a spanner in the works. Meanwhile, teammate Busch possesses the best average median lap out of his contemporaries. Sadly, a blown tire squandered his hopes of achieving a good finish at Richmond. Fortunately for him, this weekend’s race at Bristol is a happy hunting ground, having won there six times.

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For now, Busch and Chastain will be eagerly waiting for the coming race weekend. They will definitely want to give Chip Ganassi Racing the best kind of farewell gift. What better way to do it than to try and win a Cup Series Playoff race.

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Dhruv George

12115 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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