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Sunday, September 23, 2007
Franchitti's Cup debut with Ganassi expected to begin at ARCA race

By David Newton
ESPN.com

DOVER, Del. -- The move of reigning IRL champion Dario Franchitti to the Nextel Cup Series with Chip Ganassi Racing is expected to begin in two weeks at the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Ganassi is using the same plan he implemented a year ago when he broke former Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya into NASCAR's premier series at the Alabama track.

"We're trying to get him in [the ARCA race]," Ganassi said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "We have a few little hurdles left to get done before we can announce something.

"We're feverishly working at it, and we're confident that we're going to be able to put something together with him. Much like with Juan last year, if and when we get to that point, it's going to be a work in progress and you're going to have to constantly adjust and readjust."

Franchitti is expected to move into the No. 40 Cup car driven by David Stremme, whose option for next season was not picked up when Ganassi couldn't get a commitment from sponsor Coors Light.

Ganassi said that Franchitti "is a candidate for our team next year."

Ganassi said Franchitti is not bringing a sponsor amidst rumors that Canadian Club was following him from the IRL.

He added that Franchitti has no qualms about driving a 36-race schedule.

"He definitely wants to do it," he said. "I don't think there's a question. Some people that [schedule], it would intimidate. Some people it doesn't."

Details of Franchitti's deal could come within the next week. He will continue the flow of open wheel drivers -- Montoya, Jacques Villenueve and possibly Sam Hornish Jr. -- to NASCAR.

"This is where the action is right now," Ganassi said.

David Newton covers motorsports for ESPN.com