Ganassi, who was conspicuous by his absence in Newton, Iowa, Sunday, apparently mistakenly ended up in the Idaho community of 355 people.
“I guess Chip got on the plane and said ‘let’s go to Idaho,’ and the pilot took him seriously,” said an insider who declined to be named.
The pilot apparently became a bit worried in flight as they closed in on the tiny Idaho town with an elevation of 5,079 feet. So he got on the intercom and said “We are going to Idaho, right? The place where they grow potatoes?”
“I’M ON THE PHONE!” was the only response.
Chip said later ‘Iowa/Idaho, corn/potatoes, whatever. Who knew they were different states?’ "
When the pilot couldn't find a runway (let alone a race track) in Newdale, he again contacted Ganassi by intercom. "Sir, I think we're in the wrong place. All I have to land on is a gravel road."
"Land the (FBOMB) plane," was the response. "These guys are lucky they have running water for chrissakes." By the time the mistake was realized — they were supposed to go to Newton, IA not Newdale, ID — it was too late to get to Iowa.
“Chip finally sat down with a map of the U.S. and someone pointed out Idaho and Iowa are separate states hundreds of miles apart. We think the "d" sound in Des Moines and Coeur d’Alene confused him, maybe."
After Chip finally said "my bad," the lost crew calculated that by the time time they flew to Newton, buzzed the runway to get the cattle and hogs off it, then landed, they'd be too late to see one or the other of their drivers win, the insider said.
“Besides, we found some good barbecue, cheap beer and an HD TV (Chip was kind of surprised HD had found its way to Idaho) and thought ‘this is pretty sweet.’ Plus, nobody asked us about Danica all weekend."
In related news, rumors that Dan Wheldon said he was inspired to victory by Ganassi’s absence could not be confirmed.