Scott Dixon is the latest in the Target Chip Ganassi Racing camp who acknowledge while it’s not the best of circumstances for Alex Tagliani to be joining the fold, he’s as good as an addition as possible in a last-minute injury replacement scenario for Dario Franchitti.
“As Tag has put out there before, it’s a tough situation, and we would have liked Dario to be here this weekend and in fighting spirits,” Dixon said Thursday in a teleconference. “Dario’s doing OK. He’ll mend well, but obviously can’t race at the moment.”
Tagliani and Dixon – veterans of the IZOD IndyCar Series since 2000 and 2001, respectively, in the CART/Champ Car days – have actually never worked as teammates before. After having seven different teammates in the Target camp from 2002 through 2005, Dixon has had just two – Franchitti and the late Dan Wheldon – since 2006 (this does not count the satellite Ganassi team which Charlie Kimball and others have driven for).
“Tag was a solid choice,” Dixon said. “We don’t have much control in situation like this, but Chip, Mike (Hull) and the rest of the team picked the best guy. I’m great friends with Tag, we hang out a fair bit, so it makes an easy transition.
“Last year Alex was very fast at Fontana until he had a mechanical issue,” he added. “He ran first or second most of the night. “He’s a good friend, hell of a competitor, and will be tough to beat.”
Dixon and Tagliani were teammates in an unofficial capacity earlier this year. The two had a wager who to see who could raise more money for charity, and the loser had to pay off a bet. Dixon out-raised Tagliani, and the Canadian had to wear a beaver suit at the Indiana State Fair as his penalty.