It’s weird when Chip Ganassi Racing enters into an extended “drought” as you were, but this season has been a case of that happening.
The four-car team had not won a Verizon IndyCar Series race this season through the first 14 races, although nine drivers from six other teams had.
But in the 15th race, Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a track where Scott Dixon dominates, Ganassi and “Dixie” finally broke through. It took strategy to do it but Dixon, in the team’s No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, is now the 10th different winner in 2014 and from the seventh different team.
Last year it took until the 11th round of the season, when Dixon captured another improbable victory – coming from 17th to win at Pocono following his car getting excellent fuel mileage.
Of course the difference this year is CGR now runs Chevrolet engines compared to Hondas.
Other slow starts for Ganassi before they hit victory lane have been few and far between.
Here’s when CGR has won its first race of the season for the last decade:
- 2014: Round 15, Mid-Ohio, Dixon
- 2013: Round 11, Pocono, Dixon
- 2012: Round 5, Indianapolis 500, Dario Franchitti
- 2011: Round 1, St. Petersburg, Franchitti
- 2010: Round 5, Kansas, Dixon
- 2009: Round 2, Long Beach, Franchitti
- 2008: Round 1, Homestead, Dixon
- 2007: Round 1, Homestead, Dan Wheldon
- 2006: Round 1, Homestead, Wheldon
- 2005: Round 16, Watkins Glen, Dixon
The 2004 and 2005 seasons were tough slogs for the Ganassi organization, due primarily to a down-on-power Toyota engine. Dixon’s win in the 16th race of 2005 at Watkins Glen saved the team from its second consecutive winless season; 2004 marks the last time CGR failed to visit victory lane.
Dixon and the pit crew saved the team from matching that mark a full decade later.
Besides Dixon’s win, the Novo Nordisk and NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing teams also bagged top-10 finishes (Charlie Kimball and Ryan Briscoe were seventh and eighth), while Tony Kanaan’s strong weekend ended early when he was caught up in the first lap collision at Turn 4.