IndyCar 2015 team preview: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams

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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)

2014 STATS

Races: 18
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)

2014 RECAP (Dixon, Kanaan, Briscoe, Kimball driver recaps)

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.

2015 OUTLOOK

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.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).