CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Chip Ganassi Racing wants to build a driver development program around Sage Karam and is close to putting together a second full-time entry in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship that could pair the Indy Lights champion with Marino Franchitti.
Franchitti and Karam were both part of Ganassi's two-car program in last weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. Ganassi team President Steve Lauletta said Tuesday the organization would like to keep Franchitti and Karam in a car if sponsorship can be found.
"There are other guys we are talking to, but it would be great to keep the momentum going from this weekend if we could," Lauletta said.
There's plenty of time for Ganassi to put together a deal because the next TUSC event — the 12 Hours of Sebring — isn't until March 15. But Lauletta said the program is taking shape.
"We're close," he said. "It's not at zero, we're getting really close to making it happen."
Franchitti, a two-time class winner at Sebring, is the younger brother of recently retired Ganassi driver Dario Franchitti. He said last weekend he has nothing else lined up yet for this upcoming season and hoped a strong showing at Daytona would lead to more work.
Part of the lineup that included Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Kyle Larson, the car was running second early Sunday when it developed a flat tire that took them out of contention.
The inclusion of Indy Lights champion Karam in Ganassi's plans is part of the team's desire to place the 18-year-old in a development program that could also include IndyCar races. The team invested in Larson the last two years and has promoted the 21-year-old to NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series this season to replace Juan Pablo Montoya.