Chip Ganassi on 2018 lineup: ‘It’s going to look the same’

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Chip Ganassi says his organization is “going to look the same” next year as Silly Season rumors swirl around the NASCAR garage.

The statement came Thursday morning when Ganassi was asked on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Tradin’ Paint about how confident he was for 2018 when it came to his current stable of drivers, crew chiefs and sponsors.

Coming off his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Michigan, series points leader Kyle Larson, 24, is an elite driver drawing plenty of commentary on his future. Larson has three career wins and is locked into the playoffs for the second straight year.

Ganassi could have both of his drivers among the championship contenders. Not to be overlooked by his teammate, Jamie McMurray has quietly been putting together one of his best seasons. After compiling 12 top-10 finishes in 2016, McMurray has already knocked down nine top 10s through the first portion of 2017. He sits seventh in the point standings.

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With how well the organization has been running, it’s only natural to shift its overall expectations. The bar is now much higher and Ganassi could be as close as ever to breaking through – either with Larson or McMurray – for his first NASCAR championship.

“We’ve always had high expectations,” Ganassi said of how the mindset has changed since beginning of the year. “The nice thing is, dare I say, we won some races in the past, obviously, but I think at times we didn’t know why we won or how we won or what contributed to that win.”

Ganassi credited Max Jones for helping in that department. Jones is the managing director of Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operation.

“It’s one brick at a time how you build these teams and when you’re having the kind of year we had, before we certainly didn’t know how we got there,” Ganassi continued. “So, I think the team is in a position now where we’re making solid steps, we know where we came from so if we have to we can go back to that point, and we have a little better book, if you will, of knowledge. We have a little stronger book of knowledge behind us, so if we get off too far out in left field there we can come back to a pretty good point.

“I think thats the big difference. Not so much winning but to become a championship contending team, you have to know where you came from and how to get back to there if you get off course quickly. You can quickly get back to the starting point.”