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Target signs off incredible 27-year Ganassi Indy run in Sonoma

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SONOMA, Calif. – There have been partnerships in racing, and then there have been epic, legendary, long-standing partnerships.

The partnership between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing has been just that over a period of 27 years, from 1990 through 2016. The near-inextricable link between the two of them, however, comes to an end this weekend at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN), on the IndyCar side once the checkered flag falls, before Target continues with Ganassi’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program into 2017.

Humble beginnings started in 1990 for Ganassi, who’d branched off to his own team after breaking away from U.E. “Pat” Patrick the year before. Eddie Cheever was the first Target driver for Ganassi that season.

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Cheever in 1990. Photo courtesy Chip Ganassi Racing

“It started with, if you go back then, that was the time I’d bought Patrick Racing. They were sort of going in one direction, I went for another,” Ganassi told a pool of reporters this year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’ve developed some long-standing, lifelong relationships. They were so much more than a sponsor. You’ve seen that over the year. Arguably, my team’s development is squarely on their shoulders, and maybe my own development to some extent. Like I said, my takeaway is, they’re greatest sponsor ever.”

And Target stuck with Ganassi through some tough early seasons. There were only two wins between 1990 and 1995 with Michael Andretti at Surfers’ Paradise and Toronto in 1994, and a rotating driver lineup where Cheever, Andretti, Arie Luyendyk, Robby Gordon, Jimmy Vasser and Bryan Herta all had flashes of brilliance but no sustained success in this period of IndyCar competition.

The floodgates opened for the partnership in 1996, following a team switch to the Reynard/Honda/Firestone package in the PPG IndyCar World Series.

Zanardi and Vasser. Photo courtesy Chip Ganassi Racing
Zanardi and Vasser. Photo courtesy Chip Ganassi Racing

Vasser, in his second year with the team, grew into a championship contender while a then-unheralded Italian named Alex Zanardi won a shootout for the second seat, to replace Herta.

That 1996 season kicked off a period of moves that came to define Target Chip Ganassi Racing as arguably of the team of this era, the last 21 seasons, where the team has won 11 championships and four Indianapolis 500s together. Vasser’s title some 20 years ago – the anniversary of which just passed – was the first title, while Zanardi’s epic move on Herta at the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca came to be known as simply as “The Pass”.

All the while, Target was there, and there not just from a sponsorship standpoint – but an activation one as well.

“They did as much for the sport as for the team,” Ganassi said. “I think we were lucky to have those at a time when CART at the time was on an upswing. And they were squarely a part of it. They generate a lot of buzz. People still talk about those ads. Racing the motorhomes. Or going through the stores with shopping carts. Running radio control cars. We had a lot of fun with those.

“The other thing you take away from those is look at all the great things that came with them involved as part of the team. Zanardi on ‘The Pass’ at Laguna, Jimmy the first championship on the same day, and everything that’s happened since then.

“You guys have been around a long time. There was Roger [Penske] and Carl Haas and no one else got in that door. You had to go create your own door. Target did that for us.”

Tough decisions lay ahead come the turn of the century. Zanardi left for F1 after back-to-back titles in 1998; Juan Pablo Montoya took his place, then won the title a year later.

(Photo credit should read ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Montoya in 2000. Photo: Robert Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images; courtesy Chip Ganassi Racing

Ganassi – with Target – was first to cross the “picket line” a year later during the height of the IRL/CART split. Montoya promptly dominated the 2000 Indianapolis 500 in a car that was new to the team, while their day jobs – running a new Lola/Toyota/Firestone package in CART – brought more heartaches in terms of mechanical failures while pushing the boundaries of technology.

Where would Ganassi race? In 2002, the team split its strategy by running two – later three – full-time CART entries for Bruno Junqueira, new signing Kenny Brack and a then-21-year-old named Scott Dixon in midseason. Jeff Ward gave the team a foothold in the IRL, which was underrated at the time but important given Team Penske had switched from CART to the IRL fully that year.

Ganassi’s team fully switched to the IRL a year later in 2003, and Dixon won the title. More importantly, Target followed – knowing Ganassi had run the Indianapolis 500 each of the three previous seasons but not had it as a centerpiece of their full campaign.

“No question it was hard,” Ganassi said. “The time of the split, we had to make some difficult decisions. Whether it was ‘breaking away to go to the Speedway in 2000. I’d like to think we were some small part of bringing the thing back together.”

The success that followed from 1996 until now comes as a result of Target’s dedication in the tough, early years.

Said Ganassi, “The good news was, I think I was honest and said, ‘Here’s what’s going on, and what do we need to do better?’ And they said, ‘Let’s go get one of these,’ or whatever else we needed. That’s the kind of partner they were. If you needed something, they said go get it.”

The lone ‘lean years’ in the last 20 years came as the Toyota engine program’s competitiveness waned in 2004 and 2005. While Dixon stayed, from 2003 to 2005, Ganassi went through Tomas Scheckter, Tony Renna (who never got the chance to race before being killed in testing), Darren Manning, Ryan Briscoe, Jaques Lazier and Giorgio Pantano as teammates, but none were able to provide a similar spark. Only when Dan Wheldon and Honda joined alongside Dixon in 2006 did the fortunes turn back to regular race winners and title contenders – but Target stayed throughout.

Dixon’s only had one primary sponsor for Ganassi since joining the team midway through 2002. He’ll go into 2017 knowing the sponsor will be different, but he wouldn’t have been able to have the steady career he’s had without them.

“From my view, Target and Chip worked so well together,” Dixon said. “Chip alluded to the business side, but the relationships – for me, the relationships are important. I’ve spent a great part of my life working with Target. They’ve been the best sponsor. We’ve achieved a lot together. Some pretty crazy stats. For me, it’s been a blast.”

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Franchitti’s first points start at CGR, 2009 at St. Pete, saw him in the Air Wick/TomTom car.

Charlie Kimball never drove a Target car but said that stability they’ve provided is what has helped make Ganassi the powerhouse team it is.

“You see it in the longterm success of Chip Ganassi Racing,” said Kimball, who drives the No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet. “Target’s long-tenured relationship has meant that they as a team have year-on-year stability.”

Although the red has been the long-standing primary color – either with white, black, or the yellow lightning bolt as the secondary color – sometimes the Target cars have gone all sorts of different colors.

That’s thanks to the business relationship where companies which sold their products at Target are smaller logos on the car, and occasionally, got their own paint job (see a couple examples to the right, that Franchitti ran).

2013-franchitti
Glad was one of several alternate schemes for Franchitti on the DW12. Here at Iowa in 2013.

“I’d say there 30 or 40 special ones. What can we do for others? Give ’em a paint job,” Ganassi said.

Overall, Ganassi said the decision for Target to leave IndyCar was a company business decision, pure and simple.

“It’s a business decision Target made. I don’t think there’s any secret message or ulterior motive, or hidden agenda. It’s not a referendum. There’s no sub story here.

“They’ve been in 27 years, and now they want to do something else.”

THE PARTICULAR STATS, 1990-2016

  • 21 drivers (Eddie Cheever, Arie Luyendyk, Robby Gordon, Michael Andretti, Bryan Herta, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Juan Montoya, Bruno Junqueira, Nicolas Minassian, Memo Gidley, Jeff Ward, Kenny Brack, Scott Dixon, Tomas Scheckter, Darren Manning, Ryan Briscoe, Jaques Lazier, Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan)
  • 101 wins (2 in 1994, 7 in 1996, 6 in 1997, 10 in 1998, 8 in 1999, 5 in 2000, 1 in 2001, 4 in 2002, 3 in 2003, 1 in 2005, 4 in 2006, 6 in 2007, 8 in 2008, 10 in 2009, 6 in 2010, 6 in 2011, 3 in 2012, 4 in 2013, 3 in 2014, 3 in 2015, 2 in 2016)
  • 11 championships (1996, Jimmy Vasser, 1997-1998, Alex Zanardi, 1999, Juan Pablo Montoya, 2003, 2008, 2013, 2015, Scott Dixon, 2009-2011, Dario Franchitti)
  • 4 Indianapolis 500 wins (2000, Juan Pablo Montoya, 2008, Scott Dixon, 2010, 2012, Dario Franchitti)

AN ASSORTMENT OF ALTERNATE LIVERIES/PRIMARIES

Target has had a variety of alternate liveries the last several years. Here’s some of the extra companies/entities that have been on Target cars as a separate, one-off primary paint scheme, via the last four primary Target drivers:

  • Scott Dixon: Clorox, Coca-Cola, Cottonelle, Degree, Jurassic World, Energizer, Brita, Commit, Coors Light
  • Tony Kanaan: Huggies, Glad, TNT, Suave for Men, Energizer, Lexar, GE Reveal
  • Dario Franchitti: T-Mobile, Cessna, GE Reveal, Energizer, Glad, Huggies, Belkin, Suave for Men, Lexar, Banana Boat, Cottonelle, Clorox, Downy, Kellogg’s, Nikon, Dixie, Breathe Right, Air Wick, LifeLock, Vaseline MEN Lotion, Polaroid, TomTom, Nicorette
  • Dan Wheldon: Polaroid, FujiFilm, Nicoderm CQ

Jimmy Vasser ran a Superman livery at Michigan in 1999 but neither he nor Alex Zanardi or Juan Pablo Montoya, or really any of the 2001-2005 drivers that followed, ran too many alternate liveries.

AN ASSORTMENT OF TARGET LIVERIES, 1990-2016 (all photos courtesy Chip Ganassi Racing)

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Chip Ganassi praises Target’s legacy; confident in finding replacement

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Over the weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Chip Ganassi and driver Scott Dixon took the opportunity to reflect on the Target relationship with Ganassi’s race team, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

Ganassi expanded on earlier comments he made when the news dropped that Target would not be renewing its relationship with the IndyCar portion of the program while also expressing confidence that he’ll be able to find a new primary partner in relatively short order for the No. 9 car.

“Obviously I’ve developed some long standing lifelong relationships,” Ganassi told assembled reporters at Mid-Ohio.

“They were so much more than a sponsor. You’ve seen that over the years.

“Arguably, my team’s development is squarely on their shoulders, and maybe my own development to some extent. Like I said, my takeaway is that they’re the greatest sponsor ever.

“It doesn’t say anything about IndyCar. The sport. The TV ratings. It’s a business decision Target made. I don’t think there’s any secret message or ulterior motive, hidden agenda. It’s not a referendum. There’s no sub story here. The’ve been in 27 years and they want to do something else.”

So what would Ganassi look for in a replacement?

“It’d be pretty easy to look at the model we had and go with that,” he said. “Obviously having that long of a relationship would bode well for someone who wants to get involved with the sport. You’d think, ‘They were with them such a long time, they must be OK.'”

Asked whether Ganassi and his commercial team are the ones “doing the knocking on doors” or “being knocked on themselves,” Ganassi responded, “a little bit of both.”

Ganassi also said it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of the affiliated suppliers from Target – without tipping his hand as to who – continue into 2017.

“I think it’s safe to say you’ll see a couple of those around,” he said.

In a lot of ways, the Target/Ganassi relationship helped the sport of IndyCar racing as a whole when the two began flourishing in the 1990s.

There were some rocky early years but Target stuck by and starting with the first win in 1994, then the first run of domination starting in 1996, things came good.

“They did as much for the sport as for the team,” Ganassi said. “I think we were lucky to have those at a time when CART at time was on an upswing. And they were squarely part of it. They generate a lot of buzz. People still talk about those. Racing the motorhomes. Or going through the stores with shopping carts. The radio control cars. There was a lot of fun with those.

“The other thing you take away from those is look at all the great moments, and look at all the great things they were involved with being a part of the team. There was Zanardi on ‘The Pass’ at Laguna, Jimmy winning the first championship on the same day and everything that’s happened since then.

“You guys have been around a long time. They helped me. Robin (Miller), you remember this… there was Roger (Penske) and Carl Haas and no one else got in that door. You had to go create your own door. Target did that for us.”

Ganassi, who told NBCSN IndyCar analyst Paul Tracy he’d estimate there were “30 or 40” special liveries for other suppliers, said the decision to bring back the famous Target lightning bolt on Dixon’s No. 9 Chevrolet was paying tribute to when it first came on the car in the mid-1990s.

“That was one of my favorites,” Ganassi said. “I don’t know if it was the bolt itself – we just needed something to jazz the car up in those days. That’s how the whole thing started.”

DiZinno: Target’s IndyCar departure a stinging sign of the times

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One of the hardest parts to explain to people that aren’t racing junkies is that once you take the helmet off of drivers, they can often be personalities.

Yet one of the best ways companies can peel back the layer of these helmet warriors is to activate – and for most of its lifespan in the Verizon IndyCar Series, no company did that better than Target.

Which is why today’s news that Target is leaving IndyCar after 27 years leaves a simply giant void that no company will be able to fill – at least not immediately.

In the era of opulence in North American open-wheel racing, when activation was everywhere from retail companies, to cigarettes, to car manufacturers, it was as much a battle off track as it was on track.

You didn’t just have to have a superior product on-track, and that often depended on whether you had the right “package” of chassis, engines and tires.

No, you also had to showcase your drivers in commercials, stores or print advertisements in any way you could.

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Photo: Getty Images Archives
Fist title
First Ganassi title in 1996. Photo: Getty Images Archives

And for about a four-year period from 1996 (the year of Ganassi’s first title and the split) through 1999 – my formative years as a racing fan that eventually helped lead me into the role I have today – no company did that better than Target.

Yes, there were the Andrettis selling you Texaco and Havoline for your car, but when you’re 6 or 7 years old, you’re not exactly thinking about oil changes. Yet, anyway. Same with Shell (Team Rahal) and Pennzoil (Jim Hall Racing).

Cigarettes? I knew the Marlboro Team Penske cars looked cool, but I also knew I never wanted to have anything to do with smoking one of those bad boys. Same goes for Player’s despite their cool blue cars, Hollywood and its eye-popping multicolor scheme featuring Brazilian drivers, and eventually, the Team KOOL Green cars.

Beer? Despite being a connoisseur now, again, when you’re 6 or 7, you’re not thinking about chugging Miller Lite or Budweiser. And as an informed beer drinker who prefers craft and microbreweries anyway, you’re still not thinking about drinking either product.  I do miss the old Budweiser frogs and lizards, though…

Telecommunications? LCI and MCI were on cars before cell phones had even taken off.

Other B2B-type sponsorships – the Hogan Truck Leasing, Alumax Aluminum and the like – didn’t make sense to me at the time although those type sponsorships are the ones that are commonplace today.

Zanarid and Vasser in 1998.
Zanardi and Vasser in 1998. Photo: Getty Images Archives

So almost by process of elimination but also through the series of engaging, often humorous and mega TV spots, I discovered Target – by way of Jimmy Vasser and Alex Zanardi.

It was engaging. It was relatable. And it was reliable.

The banter these two had – whether it was joking about picture sizes, racing motorhomes around Gateway, introducing flags or Zanardi explaining how he “passed” his driver’s test – was unparalleled and served as a perfect compendium to the races I was watching.

“Look,” younger me thought as I’m watching the CART race from wherever it was that weekend, say a Detroit, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto or Road America. “Here’s the guys I’m watching on the TV, and now they’re joking with each other in the commercials breaks. I like these guys!”

As my Dad and I headed to races on the West Coast like Fontana (now Auto Club Speedway) and Long Beach, the goal was simple: buy Target-branded merchandise and root for the Target cars during the race.

That made it a damn sight unfortunate when after Zanardi had clinched his 1997 CART title, his first of two in a row, my Dad had purchased a “Donuts, not just for breakfast!” T-shirt that weekend to pay tribute to Zanardi’s winning trademark. Except Zanardi got hurt during the weekend in a practice crash and didn’t even get to race!

Arie Luyendyk got drafted in last-minute and the “flying Dutchman,” the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion and current INDYCAR Race Steward, got taken out by Arnd Meier in the race.

But my quest to meet Zanardi would not go unfulfilled. At Long Beach, 1998, I’m now 8 and I’ve staked out the Target paddock – autograph achieved. Zanardi then promptly delivered one of his best wins ever, coming back from a lap down to win the race, after making another move on the guy he always seemed to make incredible moves on – Bryan Herta. A then-unheralded Dario Franchitti scored his first career podium that day too, in second…

That day, I saw my favorite driver growing up finally do those donuts.

When Juan Pablo Montoya entered in 1999, the change was notable. And Montoya – who I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know much better now in covering the series full-time – was a different force then.

He was – and still is – a ridiculously focused driver with surreal car control. But he wasn’t the same as Zanardi outside of the cockpit, and despite the infamous/famous Vasser and Montoya “snipe!” ad they put together, there never felt the same bonding to me growing up.

The Target drawdown in TV ads began about 2000, when Ganassi’s fortunes began to shift as a team.

The previously dominant Reynard/Honda/Firestone package was tossed aside for Lolas and Toyotas. Gone were Vasser and Montoya, and in were the then unknown Bruno Junqueira, Nicolas Minassian and Memo Gidley. Kenny Brack and Scott Dixon joined in 2002. The team switched series in 2003, and despite Dixon winning the 2003 Indy Racing League title, there was never the feel that Target had the same motivation for activation.

Yet even through those rough Toyota years of 2004 and 2005 – Dixon recently recalled to me at Iowa that in 2005 at Milwaukee, they wrote off several cars and driver Darren Manning got canned – Target endured.

Target has continued with Ganassi through open-wheel’s rough patches, as noted above. They were always on par with Marlboro as one of the two most well-known sponsors in the sport through the needed open-wheel merger of 2008, and became the pre-eminent sponsor in the sport when new tobacco restrictions forced Marlboro colors off the Team Penske cars at the end of 2009.

Target continued. Still. And from 2008 to 2011, they won four titles in a row – again – a feat they did together from 1996 to 1999.

And yet now, when it feels as though IndyCar racing is back on something of an upswing, with Dixon and Ganassi serving as ambassadors for the company because you know every single race that Dixon is a threat to win as one of the greatest drivers of his generation, is when Target pulls the plug, owing to a change at the top of the company.

Signs have been evident and building, though, that this day would eventually come.

Target scaled back from two cars to one in the last couple years, and then this year they brought back the famous “lightning bolt” at the start of this year. Yes, it pays tribute to the past but in hindsight, it felt like a move that signaled the beginning of the end.

The departure comes because the new people in charge of overseeing the marketing programs don’t see the ROI and value in IndyCar racing today, plain and simple.

And despite recent small upticks in TV numbers the last two or three years, this is a legacy departure that comes as a result of the 12-year split through 2008 and the lack of value that has persisted in the interim years, especially in comparison to NASCAR.

The NASCAR sponsorship continues for one more year at least anyway because even though Kyle Larson usually finishes in the teens and 20s, he’s being seen by 5 million people – as was witnessed with Sunday’s Brickyard 400 – whereas IndyCar fans are pleased if a cable broadcast today can reach 500,000-plus. Dixon wins races, Larson wins eyeballs.

Here’s where this really stings: in appealing to my generation – the 20- or 30-somethings who maybe got hooked on racing, like me, in the 1990s, who have only known IndyCar racing with Target Ganassi entries.

We grew up with Target Ganassi cars as part of our identity, as something to root for, as something to get behind.

We knew that through thick and thin, whatever construct North American open-wheel racing would be, we knew there’d be at least one, but usually two, Target Chip Ganassi Racing entries.

Dixon and Ganassi will continue but without the company that’s served them both the longest.

It’s more than just a void on the sidepods that needs to be filled.

St. Pete 2017 is gonna be weird.

Target confirms exit from IndyCar at end of 2016 season

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Target has confirmed it will end its 27-year run with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, the longest team/sponsor relationship in North American open-wheel racing, on Wednesday.

The decision, first reported by the Associated Press although rumors of which have been swirling throughout the year, particularly in recent weeks, will see Target end its sponsorship of Scott Dixon at the end of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. A team spokesperson confirmed the news to NBC Sports as well.

Recent management changes within the company have driven this decision, although the AP report indicated and the team confirmed Target will continue with Kyle Larson’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program through 2017.

“It’s the greatest sponsor in racing, ever.  They’ve been nothing but good to me,” Ganassi said in a team-issued quote. “They developed me personally and professionally. I’ve developed lifelong friends and relationships.  It is unfortunate they will be leaving the IndyCar Series but rest assured that the No. 9 Chevrolet and the reigning IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon will still be in the IndyCar Series next year and beyond, the car will just have different colors on it.  We are working through some of those options now.

“Also, we are happy they will remain in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Kyle Larson and the No. 42.  I understand things change and people have different marketing efforts. It’s one of the longest running sponsors in racing and they delivered for me and the team, and the team delivered for them.”

Dixon, Ganassi’s longtime stalwart driver, has driven a Target-sponsored car since 2002 when he joined the team midseason and won four championships.

“I can’t thank Target enough for their partnership on and off the track over the years,” Dixon said in a quote released by the team.

“They have been with the INDYCAR team for an amazing 27 years, which is unheard of in professional sports, and on the car I’ve driven for the past 15 seasons. I have nothing but great memories and much thanks for Target being great partners for so long. I’m looking forward to being in the 9 car for years to come and fighting for more wins and championships with Chip and the team.”

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman &. Co., INDYCAR’s parent company, said “INDYCAR would like to thank Target for its exceptional commitment to open-wheel racing and to Chip Ganassi Racing for its stewardship of the partnership for the past 27 years. The Target brand will always be an integral part of our sport’s history as the number of race victories, championships and Indianapolis 500 wins that occurred in the iconic red livery were unprecedented. We’re confident that the No. 9 will have new colors to carry in the near future as the team continues its success in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

Target first joined the team in 1990 and while it was a presence on Ganassi cars for its first six years through 1995, in 1996 when the team shifted to an all-red livery with the yellow lightning bolt – a paint scheme which was brought back for the start of the 2016 season.

Together, Ganassi and Target have won 11 championships and four Indianapolis 500s. Champions for the team include its first champion, Jimmy Vasser, then Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Dixon and Dario Franchitti.

Dixon’s Road America livery is as eye-popping as his travel schedule

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So let’s recap the last nine days for the driver of the guy Chip Ganassi Racing Teams president Steve Lauletta is now calling “Freak 9” on Twitter, the driver of the No. 9 car in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Scott Dixon.

It’s usually the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, but it will shift to Clorox yellow colors this week.

And quite how it got there almost mirrors how crazy his last nine days have been.

Dixon raced in what he thought would be a full Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 12, which was already delayed a day anyway owing to a track that wouldn’t dry following a day of rain.

He and wife Emma then boarded a Cessna plane to go to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he’d need to arrive by Monday, June 13, French time to ensure he made it to scrutineering (technical inspection) and get checked in for the week. He missed the team shoot on Sunday, as did Sebastien Bourdais – no matter.

Wednesday, June 15, he took his first ever laps of the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, because although he’d gone to France earlier this year for simulator work, he’d not actually driven on the track yet. He missed the Le Mans Test Day on June 5 because of his IndyCar commitments at Detroit, where he promptly took a car with a broken suspension and drove it all race to finish fifth.

He was on track at Le Mans through June 19, the end of the race, where together with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook he finished third in the GTE-Pro class in the No. 69 Ford Chip Ganassi Team US Ford GT. For good measure, the Le Mans rookie promptly set the fastest lap of the race, a 3:51.514 on Lap 329 of Lap 340 – he got to close the race out. Dixon was one of a number of IndyCar stars who starred at Le Mans.

He then flew straight from Le Mans, with some other Ganassi crew members, to Watkins Glen International, for testing on Monday on the newly paved track surface. It was fast. Dixon won there multiple times when IndyCar last raced there from 2005 through 2010.

And then, today, we saw his livery unveiled for Road America and this weekend’s KOHLER Grand Prix (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

This livery, like Simon Pagenaud’s, is eye-retina popping yellow. It is bananas… b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

And it perfectly encapsulates just what a freak of nature Dixon is, because he’s an incredible talent, driver and human sometimes seemingly not of this planet.

His engineer, Chris Simmons, sums it up well: