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Target Chip Ganassi Racing brings back the bolt

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INDIANAPOLIS – The livery that made Target Chip Ganassi Racing famous is making a comeback for 2016.

In the races where Target serves as a primary sponsor of the No. 9 Chevrolet driven by four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, the “lightning bolt” scheme will be back adorning the car.

The livery raced from 1995 to 2001, and scored 36 race wins from 1996 through 2001 between CART and IndyCar.

Here’s the unveil of the new one as it happened:

Here’s the team’s full release:

Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) announced today the return of the team’s classic “Lightning Bolt” livery to the No. 9 Target Chevrolet driven by four-time and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon for the 2016 season.

The Target Lightning Bolt livery debuted in 1995 at the season-opening race at Bicentennial Park in Miami with drivers Jimmy Vasser and Bryan Herta, and ran through the 2001 season finale at California Speedway with drivers Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley.

The livery reached a fever pitch in the mid-1990s when drivers Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-1998) and Juan Pablo Montoya (1999) accomplished the first-ever four-peat in Indy car racing history by winning four-consecutive Championships. Shortly after, Montoya put the Lightning Bolt livery in victory lane at the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 for Target’s first win in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

To commemorate Montoya’s return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Target, the paint scheme also made a one-off return in 2009 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400.

“Heading into such an historic season with the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, the Lightning Bolt paint scheme taps into some of the most memorable times in Target’s longstanding partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing,” said Steve Lauletta, President, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

“Scott Dixon will be carrying a big part of history with him in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season, not only as the four-time and defending Champion for Team Target, but with the livery of past Target Champions such as Vasser, Zanardi and Montoya from a very special era in Target’s racing history.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”