Despite lackluster results, no major changes for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

Sean Gardner

No one would be surprised if after back-to-back down years Chip Ganassi made sweeping changes to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. However, the car owner has elected to stay the course for the 2013 season.

Chip Ganassi is someone who isn't gun-shy about making changes, as he is a car owner who doesn't second guess himself when he feels a shakeup is needed with one of his many race teams.

However, this past offseason Ganassi didn't call for an overhaul of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, which for the second straight NASCAR season failed to meet anyone's expectations. This was a big surprise when you consider that his two drivers, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya, posted no better results than sixth in 2012, and not once in the last two seasons has either made a visit to Victory Lane.

This is in stark contrast to the teams Ganassi fields in the Grand-Am and IndyCar series, where he has won a multitude of races and championships.

"I've never shied from the fact we need to get our NASCAR team up to where the other teams are," Ganassi said Wednesday during the Sprint Media Tour.

Instead, what Ganassi has elected to do with his NASCAR team is stay the course.

His thinking is that the makeover he enacted last offseason after a 2011 campaign that he referred to as "pathetic," still needs time to take complete effect. Among the changes that were made a year ago included the jettisoning of some longtime personnel and bringing aboard Max Jones as team manager and John Probst as technical director.

"To have the courage to stay on the path, it's very humbling on all levels," Ganassi said.

"We made a lot of changes in 2012. We invested a lot into engineering and software. Quite frankly, it didn't translate as fast as I'd like on the track. But if you talk to Max and John Probst or the crew chiefs, they'll tell you we are light years ahead of where we were a year ago. And I think the early season testing has been very promising."

Also promising is that the uneven results of the last couple of years hasn't deterred EGR from being able to sign adequate sponsorship - an impressive feat considering many upper-echelon teams are still searching for funding.

Despite losing the primary backing of Bass Pro Shops, which has moved over to Stewart-Haas Racing, EGR found a replacement in Cessna, which will be the main sponsor for McMurray in 10 events.

Additionally, McDonald's has upped its commitment to the team and will be on the side of the No. 1 car for 15 races.

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