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GRAPEVINE - SOFT NEWS, RUMOURS & SPECULATION 

Franchitti linked with Ganassi NASCAR

As speculation continues regarding the future of Dario Franchitti, the IRL points leader is rumoured to be on Chip Ganassi's list to drive for his Nextel Cup team in 2008.

Only a few weeks ago NASCAR team owner Richard Childress said he would like to talk to the Scotsman about a possible future together, as he works on trying to field a fourth car in the Nextel Cup next year.

This week Chip Ganassi confirmed that he would not take the option he had on the services of his current driver David Stremme for next year, after the team lost their Coors Light sponsorship for the No. 40 team.

"First of all, we had an option on Stremme and I have no sponsor," Ganassi told ESPN. "When they say Coors isn't coming back - would you sign Stremme without a sponsor? That's all I told him. I can't sign you here without a sponsor.

"Is he free to look elsewhere? Yes. I hope he stays with us. I hope we find something and he stays right here."

Dario Franchitti is said to be an option for Ganassi to attract new sponsors to his team, although two weeks ago Briton Dan Wheldon, who drivers for Ganassi's IRL team, said his boss wanted him to stay put despite his desire to try out NASCAR.

Franchitti's management held talks with Ganassi last year to fill the vacant seat of Casey Mears, who switched to Hendrick Motorsports for 2007. However a possible deal fell through when Juan Pablo Montoya quickly struck a deal with his former boss in early July last year.

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