Steve Lauletta is stepping down as president of Chip Ganassi Racing, the team confirmed Tuesday.
Lauletta will remain with the company through March and serve as a consultant the rest of the year.
No replacement has been named. Doug Duchardt, who joined the organization Jan. 3 as chief operating officer, will take over most of Lauletta’s duties.
Duchardt spent 12 years as an executive at Hendrick Motorsports before leaving there in June 2017.
When Ganassi announced Duchardt’s hiring, it also stated that it had formed a Corporate Office of Ganassi that included Duchardt, Lauletta, CFO Chuck Gottschalk and Vice President of Human Resources Rob Wilder to oversee all of CGR’s racing and commercial activities globally.
Ganassi competes in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup, Xfinity, Verizon IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship.
Lauletta joined Chip Ganassi Racing in July 2007 as the team’s president.
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An executive from Chip Ganassi Racing said Thursday night that the team no longer is in discussions with Danica Patrick to have her drive for the team in either the Daytona 500 or Indianapolis 500.
Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing, made the comments on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s “Dialed In’’ show.
“We’re not talking any longer,’’ Lauletta said. “I think it would have made sense, and we did have conversations if she wanted to run in both races, the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500, and ultimately we couldn’t come to a solution that worked for both of us.
“We’re going to stay focused on the task at hand … getting (Jamie McMurray) and (Kyle Larson) in Cup and the 42 in Xfinity into Victory Lane as much as we can with the hopes of winning a couple of championships. The same on our IndyCar program. We have got two cars that were testing yesterday in Sebring. We’re going to stay focused on that rather than put another temporary effort together and not doing it up to the standards that we would want to, so I don’t think you’ll see that happening with us in 2018.’’
Patrick announced in November that she planned to finish her driving career by racing in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 this year. Ganassi was viewed as one of Patrick’s best options to compete in both races since it competes in both NASCAR and IndyCar. She said earlier this month on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that finding a ride for both races is “taking longer than I’d like it to take, I’ll be really honest.’’
Asked if he thought Patrick would end up with a ride, Lauletta told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:
“Ultimately I think she will. She has been fairly successful in some of the races that she’s run at that place. She knows her way around. There are teams that run just the Indianapolis 500 because of the size of the event itself and the history of it. I think that they’ll be able to put something together and certainly wish them luck. I think it would be great for the sport of IndyCar racing to have her come back and run the Indianapolis 500 from an exposure standpoint and people wanting to tune in, and hopefully it will be to see (Ganassi drivers) Scott Dixon or Ed Jones win it while she’s running around behind us.’’
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Chip Ganassi Racing has hired Mark McArdle to be its competition director, a new position for the organization.
McArlde will oversee the team’s two Cup teams — Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray — and its Xfinity operation, which features Brennan Poole, Tyler Reddick, Justin Marks and Larson.
McArdle had been with Roush Fenway Racing. He joined the team in Nov. 2014 to oversee engineering for its Cup and Xfinity programs. He previously had been director of racing operations at Richard Childress Racing, joining that organization in April 2013. He spent four years before that at Furniture Row Racing, overseeing the team’s competition department.
At Ganassi, McArdle will report to Max Jones, team manager.
Last year marked the first time in the team’s history that it had two cars make the Cup playoffs. Both Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, though, failed to advance from the first round. Larson, who had one win, finished ninth in the points. McMurray, who was winless, placed 13th.
“I think everybody in the building feels like we took a good step forward last year,’’ said Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing. “We’re not happy with the step we took. We have more to do. So, being able to bring more of the leadership into the building that can focus on how we get there, the process that we need, we continue to bring on more people.
“I think Max feels like another person can help us make sure that everybody is focused on the right thing and we’re not wasting time and resources. Mark brings a tremendous amount of expertise to continue that growth that we’ve seen.’’