Target Chip Ganassi Racing has hit the double digit stratosphere.
The team captured its 10th IZOD IndyCar Series championship Saturday night courtesy of Scott Dixon, and the fifth since Team Penske won its last one in 2006 (2008 through 2011).
It’s also the last for Ganassi with Honda, for now at least, as the team shifts to Chevrolet in 2014. Interestingly Ganassi won a title with Honda in 1999, a year before switching to Toyota in the CART ranks in 2000.
Per the eponymous team owner, this one was made all the sweeter by how resilient the team was in the face of adversity earlier this year.
“This one’s pretty special, I have to say, considering how our season started,” Ganassi said. “The fact Scott Dixon did it. We had a tough, tough beginning of the season. We had a tough Indy 500. We had a tough mid-season. Obviously Honda turned it around at Pocono. Ups and downs all season. Losing my father at one point. That took a lot of wind out of my sails. Then of course the Sonoma incident and the Baltimore incident.
“We had a lot of things – these guys never, never gave up. These guys don’t know the word ‘give up.’”
Managing director Mike Hull said Dixon’s car nearly didn’t survive the overheating caused by debris chunks entering the radiator.
“I’d have to say as hot as the engine got, Honda did what we wanted them to do what they wanted to do, and that was build an engine that didn’t break under severe conditions,” he said.
Ganassi reflected lastly on winning this championship in a year when he lost his father, Floyd.
“I’m sure he’s up there smiling down on us right now,” Ganassi said, holding back tears. “He was a big part of my career and my life. You always see people in positions like this saying, I wish my mom or dad were here. I know what that feels like here.”