Sterling Marlin will be bumped from Ganassi Racing’s No. 40 next year by Busch Series driver David Stremme, team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates confirmed Sunday.
The car also will also have a second primary sponsor, as Lone Star Steakhouse joins Coors Light in sharing the Dodge.
Marlin, who turns 48 this month, will drive a Busch Series car for FitzBradshaw Racing, co-owned by Sabates’ son-in-law, Armando Fitz, next season. The longtime NASCAR star also has been offered a contract by Coors and the Ganassi team to remain with them as a driver coach. But his current ride will go to Stremme, who celebrated his 28th birthday Sunday and will race for Rookie of the Year honors in Nextel Cup next season.
Sabates also said the team would not stand in the way if Marlin finds another Cup ride for next season.
“I have a whole lot of respect for Sterling Marlin,” said Stremme, who started with the Ganassi team as a developmental driver and is in his third Busch season. “I have full support behind him. But I’m also looking forward to this opportunity.”
Jeff Gordon has said many times he enjoys racing at Michigan because the wide, 2-mile oval allows for high speeds and lots of passing. But he couldn’t take advantage, finishing 32nd and continuing a midseason slump.
Gordon said tires on the right side of his car were worn down to the cords early in the race, and he was concerned about tire trouble the rest of the race.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” Gordon said. “I don’t know what was going on out there.”
Gordon finished ninth last week at Pocono, and has now finished 30th or worse in four of his last five races. He has dropped to 12th in the Cup points standings.
Freebie for F1 fans
Because of the trouble at the Formula One race in Indianapolis, Champ Car officials say tickets from that race are good for free admission at Sunday’s Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland.
Tom Kristensen won the 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans (France) for a record seventh time.
Kristensen, who won in his debut in 1997, eclipsed the previous mark of six titles he shared with Belgian Jacky Ickx, who achieved his feat between 1969 and 1982.
“Brilliant. It was a great race,” Kristensen said. “I am so happy to be the record holder, to have been part of a fantastic victory.”
The Dane shared driving duties with Audi teammates JJ Lehto of Finland and Merco Werner of Germany.
Kristensen took the lead in the fourth hour of the race, and his team then held off a strong challenge from Pescarolo driver Jean-Christophe Boullion and his French teammates Emmanuel Collard and Erik Comas.
Kristensen completed 370 laps, while Boullion was two laps back. Another Audi car, driven by Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Allan McNish, finished third with 364 laps completed.
Larry Dixon raced to his fifth consecutive Father’s Day victory, taking the Top Fuel competition at the K&N Filters Supernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
Del Worsham (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also scored victories at the $2 million race.
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