Next up on our list of teams to hit for the Verizon IndyCar Series preview is Chip Ganassi Racing. The team continues with four cars for St. Petersburg, with rookie Sage Karam joining the veteran trio of Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball.
Team: Chip Ganassi Racing
Engine/aero kits: Chevrolet
Sponsors: GE LED (No. 8), Target (No. 9), NTT Data (No. 10), Novo Nordisk (No. 83)
Wins: 3 (Dixon 2, Kanaan 1)
Podiums: 11 (Kanaan 6, Dixon 4, Kimball 1)
Pole Positions: 1 (Dixon)
Fastest Laps: 5 (Dixon 3, Kanaan 1, Briscoe 1)
Points: 2011 (Dixon 604, Kanaan 544, Briscoe 461, Kimball 402)
Laps Led: 509 (Kanaan 407, Dixon 97, Briscoe 5)
Championship Position: 3rd (Dixon), 7th (Kanaan), 11th (Briscoe), 14th (Kimball)
2015 LINEUP (Engineer in parentheses)
8 Sage Karam (Eric Cowdin)
9 Scott Dixon (Chris Simmons)
10 Tony Kanaan (Todd Malloy)
83 Charlie Kimball (Brad Goldberg)
There was plenty of change for Ganassi at the start of the season, with Dario Franchitti medically forced into retirement and Tony Kanaan, originally signed to the team’s fourth car, moving over to replace his good friend in the No. 10 with Ryan Briscoe back in the fold as well. The team also switched from Honda to Chevrolet engines and the meshing of parts took a bit longer than anticipated. By the second half, the team was back to firing on all cylinders; Dixon was great as always and Kanaan had one of his better seasons in years.
Last year it was the drivers and engines that were changing. This year, it’s engineers and aero kits. Ganassi’s run of success in North American open-wheel racing began nearly 20 years ago in 1996, when the team discovered “the package” of a Reynard chassis, Honda engine and Firestone tires. Nineteen years later, CGR will be hoping the Chevrolet aero kit and engine will have the edge. Dixon’s longtime engineer Eric Bretzman shifts to the team’s NASCAR program and he’ll have Chris Simmons to work with; Kanaan and Todd Malloy should be a good pairing, particularly at Indianapolis; Kimball will look to recapture his 2013 form and Karam is the wild card as the rookie, very high on potential. Get used to TK in blue NTT Data colors too, while Karam’s No. 8 for St. Pete will have GE LED colors and Kanaan’s longtime engineer in Eric Cowdin.