Earnhardt Ganassi Racing are set to enter three cars in the 2009 Sprint Cup season-opener, driver Martin Truex Jr said on Friday.
The partnership between Dale Earnhardt Inc and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates was initially expected to run four entries, combining the No.1 and No.8 from DEI with the No.41 and No.42 from Ganassi.
However Truex Jr, driver of the No.1 car, all but confirmed that the team would not run the No.41, when asked about the team's entries for the season-opener during the NASCAR Pre-season Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona on Friday.
"As far as I can tell, I believe three (cars)," Truex said. "I'm pretty sure that's what's going on. If it changes, don't hold me to this, but as far as I know, it'll be three - the 1, the 42 and the 8. I believe that's it. That's about all I've got there. (Juan Pablo) Montoya, me and Aric (Almirola)."
Autosport.com understands that the Target sponsorship, which had been with the No.41 car until last season, will now go to Montoya's No.42 car, with Wrigley's remaining on board as an associate sponsor.
Montoya will be back in Target colours for the first time since 2000, when he won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. He also won the Champ Car title in 1999 with Target sponsorship on his Ganassi Reynard-Honda
Wrigley's was expected to supply half the funding for Montoya's No.42 Chevrolet through their Juicy Fruit and Big Red brands, but Target will now have most of the space available on the car.
Ganassi had been trying to secure sponsorship to replace Texaco Havoline, after Chevron pulled the plug on its long-time involvement in NASCAR last year, leaving a void in the team's budget for this season. Montoya's car now has a full budget, although the team are still looking for sponsorship for the No.8 entry of Almirola.
With EGR now running a three-car effort, and the recent announcement of the Gillett Evernham-Petty Enterprises merger resulting in two fewer cars, it is possible that some races will only just have enough cars to complete the 43-car field.