Ganassi makes strides with Chevy, Franchitti’s input at Sebring

Leave a comment

The Chip Ganassi Racing organization is not one to rest on its laurels. Judging by the quotes issued after Friday’s Chevrolet manufacturer test at Sebring International Raceway, the team continues to improve at the site of its much ballyhooed single-day test last June in a quest to take home another IndyCar Series championship.

Defending series champion Scott Dixon said the team is already adjusting well to the engine change from Honda to Chevrolet, and that he was able to crank out a series of consistent laps.

“Yeah it was really good,” Dixon said. “We had lots of different things to get through obviously and different sort of projects for each car. But the engine package just ran. We had a couple of little issues to work out, but you expect that with a brand new engine for the season. Really excited to see that it runs, it just runs.”

Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull offered a key insight on Twitter during the test of Dixon’s feedback level, one which he called “active.” See the tweet below.

Dixon’s teammate Charlie Kimball made sure to praise the input and feedback of Dario Franchitti, who is now retired from driving but still actively assisting the team. Franchitti was on site in Sebring.

“I think as a team we really fed off each other today,” said Kimball, who won his first. I can’t go without saying how much we appreciated having Dario (Franchitti) around actually for additional perspective. He is very good at that. That was helpful, but as far as all four of us the day went reasonably flawlessly as far as on-track mechanical stuff.”

The two new team members, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Briscoe, were pleased as well. Briscoe’s thoughts can be found here while Kanaan said despite his still getting used to the new car, it was a trouble-free day.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).