Sabates Guarantees Chase Spots

F.Sabates

Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sabates has guaranteed that both Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray will make the post-season Chase in 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sabates has guaranteed that both Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray will make the post-season Chase in 2015.

The flamboyant Sabates took to the podium Thursday during NASCAR's pre-season Media Tour and predicted that his two-car team would secure a pair of Chase berths this season.

"I’ve never guaranteed anybody anything in all the years I’ve been in racing," Sabates said. "But I’ll guarantee you that both of these guys will be in the Chase."

For his part, Ganassi wouldn’t go as far as his partner did but praised McMurray and the young Larson.

"Kyle Larson’s development is nothing short of amazing," Ganassi said. "I want to thank all the people who told us we were bringing him along too fast last year. Thank you for that. It was great to see him win Rookie of the Year. We look for bigger and better things out of him in 2015."

Larson, fresh off a victory in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, nearly notched his first Sprint Cup Series win last year and missed a post-season berth by just 16 points.

However, as successful as the first-year driver was a year ago, he admits there’s room for improvement.

"Hopefully, 2015 goes a lot better than last year did for me," said Larson, who placed 17th in the final point standings. "I’d like to get a couple wins, make the Chase and go for the championship. We can do that."

McMurray, who is paired with new crew chief Matt McCall after Keith Rodden returned to Hendrick Motorsports to work with Kasey Kahne, believes the team can accomplish much more this year than it did in 2014.

"We have everything we need to compete and win races," said McMurray. "Matt has that racer’s mentality and we’ve jelled early. We need to translate that communication and connection to the racetrack. This is the best chance I’ve had to succeed at a high level during my entire Sprint Cup career."

Ganassi added his usual candor to Thursday's presentation, saying it was "unacceptable" that the team missed out on NASCAR’s playoffs last year. McMurray won the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway but wasn’t able to take a regular-season victory and earn a Chase spot, falling 47 points short.

Larson took the challenge from Sabates head-on and echoed that bold prediction.

"We're capable of being a top-10 car each week, winning at least two races, making the Chase and going for the championship," Larson said. "Those are realistic goals. I would guarantee it, too. I’m with Felix!"

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