Franchitti loses NASCAR Cup drive

Dario Franchitti has lost his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drive with Chip Ganassi Racing and will not compete in next weekend's Coke-Zero 400 at Daytona, following the team's decision to reduce to a two-car operation

Franchitti loses NASCAR Cup drive

Team personnel working on the No.40 car have been laid off following a disappointing first half of the season where they struggled to get a major sponsor and were running on race-by-race deals with different companies.

"This is a difficult decision for (co-owner) Felix (Sabates) and I that did not come without its share of anguish," said Chip Ganassi in a team statement. "In this tough business environment continuing to run the car without proper funding has become increasingly difficult."

Although Franchitti will not compete in the Sprint Cup Series any more, the team say they remain committed to developing his career in stock cars but would not confirm whether the Scot will continue to drive for them in the Nationwide Series.

The IRL IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner has not enjoyed a successful transition from open-wheel racing to NASCAR, with a 22nd place finish at Martinsville being his best result to date.

Franchitti's season got off to a difficult start when he lost the top 35 status in the standings that he inherited from last year, which forced him to qualify for races on speed from the sixth event onwards.

He then failed to qualify at Texas and two weeks later his season became even more difficult when he fractured his left ankle in an accident during the Nationwide Series race at Talladega.

The Scot returned for the Nationwide event at Dover where he finished in a respectable 15th place but a week later on his Sprint Cup return at Pocono he was involved in two incidents and could only manage to finish 41st.

In the next round at Michigan an engine failure put an early end to his race and then on his road course debut at Sonoma two weeks ago he surprisingly failed to make the field for a second time.

Last weekend he scored his best qualifying result with seventh on the grid at New Hampshire but was then involved in an early incident in the race and finished only 38th

Autosport.com understands that Chip Ganassi Racing also plan to announce further reshuffles to their organisation.

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