BIGGEST LOSS IS ASHLEY JUDD


It’s halfway through the year and several Sprint Cup drivers already are deciding their next career moves and sponsors are shopping for new teams.
Tuesday’s big news was a decision by Chip Ganassi Racing to shut down the No. 40 Dodge driven by reigning IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, a Cup rookie.
Worse than losing a personable driver and a Cup team is that wife Ashley Judd won’t be strolling along pit road.
Ganassi says lack of a sponsor and poor performing economy forced the decision. More likely it was poor performance by the team on the track.
Franchitti was 41st in points and had competed in only 10 of 17 races.
Ganassi drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Reed Sorenson race on. Montoya is 20th and Sorenson 31st in points.
What a powerhouse.

MUSICAL CHAIRS: THE OFFICIAL FURNITURE OF NASCAR

The music has been playing as drivers dance around empty cockpits, but some of it could stop this weekend at Daytona where a couple of drivers might announce their future plans.
A few rumblings from a man living where it is 110 degrees:
Tony Stewart needs a change and should buy his way out of Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart should buy out Haas CNC Racing. He doesn’t need a partner. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli should go with Stewart, provided part ownership is offered.
Stewart’s teammate at a new two-car Stewart Motorsports team should be Martin Truex Jr., the only other Cup driver like Stewart who needs to shave twice a day.
Stewart will not join Hendrick Motorsports as Casey Mears' replacement in the No. 5 next year. When is the last time you saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. with beard stubble since joining Hendrick?
Who fills Stewart’s No. 20? Throw Nationwide Series rookie phenom Joey Logano to the wolves next year. ...
Ryan Newman should leave Penske Racing for the new fourth team at Richard Childress Racing. Penske’s Kurt Busch won with pit strategy Sunday, but the Penske group is lacking what it takes for Newman to again contend for a championship like he yearns to. ...
Mears never got a fair shot with Hendricks; this is only his second year. He should replace Newman at Penske where it would unite two of open-wheel racing’s biggest names: Penske and Mears. ...
Mark Martin will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. and race part-time in the No. 5 at Hendrick. Martin has coached Aric Almirola to be worthy of full-time status at DEI, and now Martin can do the same with Brad Keselowski at Hendrick.
It feels like 112 degrees now.

TWO CENTS ON QUARTER MILES

The drama is nothing compared to the National Hot Rod Association trying to get its Nitro cars down the track without killing a driver.
Thanks to the New Jersey State police the NHRA has released preliminary findings into what contributed to the June 21 death of Scott Kalitta in a Funny Car crash in Englishtown, N.J.
In that state, police take over the scene of a serious racing crash or fatality.
Without the cops, NHRA would not have been so quick to react.
We’re still waiting NHRA to release findings from its investigation into the racing death of Darrell Russell in a 2005 Top Fuel crash near St. Louis.
After the Kalitta crash, the NHRA said it plans to study speeds, brakes, engine explosions, length of shutdown areas, safety sand traps and catch netting at the end of tracks.
Shortening races to 1,000 feet is a quick fix but only a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.
Top Fuel dragsters and Nitro Funny Cars don’t have to be going over 300. Drag racing is racing -- side by side racing -- not all-out runs at the Bonneville Salt Flats.