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

Leave a comment

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.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.