With about a month away to the start off the 2018 season, Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) is gearing up for another hopeful season with drivers Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.
To start off the new year, CGR added experienced Doug Duchardt as their Chief Operating Officer.
This upcoming season we’ll see the CGR Chevys in the new Chevy Camaro ZL1 and on some occasions with matching paint schemes as DC Solar extended their sponsorship to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Larson had a breakout year last season after winning four races, earning 15 top-five finishes and three poles.
It is safe to say that Larson and the No. 42 team started their momentum right off the bat from Daytona. Larson finished in 12th, led 16 laps and was in the front of the pack during the closing laps until he ran out of fuel.
The momentum and energy from the No. 42 team transferred into three straight second-place finishes and finally winning their first race of 2017 at Fontana. The No. 42 team proved throughout the season they could be the Chevy team to pressure the Toyota’s for the championship.
Unfortunately for Larson and the No. 42 team, the run had to end somewhere. And it was during the most crucial part of the season, the Playoffs.
NASCAR’s Playoff system did not go their way. After having one of the best cars all season long, Larson’s championship run went up in smoke after blowing an engine during the elimination race at Kansas.
From there on Larson had three straight DNFs but finished the season off on a high note by earning a top-five finish at Miami.
The start of 2018 did not start very well for Larson. While running the prestigious Chili Bowl, Larson’s car blew an engine and took him out of the race. It sure would have been fun to see Larson and reigning Chili Bowl winner Christopher Bell duke it out until the end.
Although Larson had a rough ending to last season and bad luck at the Chili Bowl to start off the new year, Larson should keep his head up and look forward to the 2018 Cup Series. Chad Johnston will be back to serve as his crew chief.
CGR’s longtime sponsor Target left after the conclusion of last season but the No. 42 team is happy to have Credit One and DC Solar on board for 2018.
Larson will feature DC Solar at ‘The Clash at Daytona’ for the first time in 2018 and is no stranger to driving them to victory lane.
“I’m really looking forward to representing DC Solar this season in the Cup series. You can tell Jeff and Paulette are passionate about being here and about racing, so I’m excited to be a part of their first season in NASCAR’s premier series. I’ve won with them once in the Truck Series, so I’m hoping to repeat that a few times this year in Cup.”
As for Jamie McMurray, the Joplin, Missouri native will be back at CGR for his 12th season. McMurray and the No. 1 team raced their way back into the Playoffs last season.
The former Daytona 500 champion started off the season by wrecking out of ‘The Great American Race.’ As for the remainder of the season, McMurray and the No. 1 team had three top fives and 17 top 10 finishes.
McMurray’s first top five of the season came at Talladega when he finished second, a track where he has tasted victory in the past.
No, the No. 1 team did not have a stellar season like the No. 42 team, but they still had top 15 speed which led them into the Playoffs.
During the Playoffs, McMurray made it to the Round of 12. The No. 1 team’s championship hopes ended after crashing two straight weeks at Talladega and Kansas.
Going into the 2018 season McMurray is one of the oldest drivers in the Cup Series. The youth movement will start to show this upcoming season but last month McMurray said he is not going anywhere just yet.
“My goal is to be able to race for four more years, maybe a little bit more,” McMurray said during Champion’s Week in Las Vegas.
Returning this upcoming season is crew chief Matt McCall as well as several sponsors which include McDonald’s, Cessna, and GearWrench.
McMurray will also make several starts in the XFINITY Series, which he has not run since 2013. DC Solar will sponsor McMurray in both the XFINITY and Cup Series.
“I’m looking forward to racing with DC Solar in Cup this year and a few times with them in the Xfinity Series. Our team has really done a nice job in that series having won with several different drivers the last couple of seasons. I’m also excited to drive a few times in the Cup series with DC Solar on-board and be a part of their first full season in that series. Their enthusiasm for our team and sport is evident and I’m glad that I get to be a part of this growth with them.”
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