Dixon, Ganassi finally break through in 15th IndyCar race of the season

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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.

On a lighter note, team boss Ganassi avoided an encore of when he fell off the pit wall last year, when Charlie Kimball secured his first victory of his career.

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.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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