Photo: Ford Chip Ganassi Racing

Ford, Ganassi riding high following three straight IMSA wins

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Victory for Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller on Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix from Lime Rock Park continued a hot summer stretch for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing outfit.

Hand and Mueller, in their No. 66 Ford GT, previously won the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on July 1. Teammates Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, winners of the Rolex 24 at Daytona back in January, also won at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 8.

Combine all of that with the Hand/Mueller victory at Lime Rock Park last weekend, and it’s three wins in a row for Ford and Ganassi.

And Saturday’s win was particularly dramatic, as Hand had to close down a gap of 12 seconds to then leader Jan Magnussen, in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R For Corvette Racing.

Hand managed to get onto Mangussen’s back bumper as they worked through GT Daytona (GTD) traffic, and then had to outduel him in the final laps.

But, when Magnussen drifted wide onto the grass exiting the final corner, it was all Hand needed to seize control of the lead, and he cruised to victory from there.

“It’s just amazing,” said Hand after Saturday’s victory. “We knew (Lime Rock) was going to be about being around at the end.  We knew tire longevity was going to be key here, and you have to be impressed with Michelin and our tires.  They went the distance when we needed them to because I was 12 seconds down there, and that set of tires, we were hard on them.  I could see I was reeling him in (No. 3 Corvette).  He was struggling in traffic and I was making some moves in traffic that were really aggressive, including getting in a full-on battle with the leading GTD cars.  It’s the last stint and you have no choice.”

Mueller was equally as elated, particularly of what the win means in terms of the championship standings, a point he was sure to highlight.

“This Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team just impresses me, weekend to weekend,” said Mueller.  “It’s such a big family.  It’s great.  I feel a little bad for (Westbrook and Briscoe in the No. 67), since they had a little trouble there today, but this win means so much to me and the team.  It’s our first overall win as a team, and a big win in terms of the championship. ”

Indeed, Saturday’s win proved to be very significant in the GTLM title chase, as it vaulted Hand and Mueller into the GTLM lead. However, it is only by one point over Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, and their Ford/Ganassi teammates Westbrook and Briscoe are only one further point back in third.

In short, three points separate the top three in GTLM leaving Lime Rock Park. A Corvette lineup has won the last two GTLM driver’s championships, but three wins in a row, and four on the season, leave Ford and Ganassi poised with a pair of efforts in position to dethrone them.

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Chip Ganassi to be honored in Petersen Museum exhibit

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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This Saturday, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will debut a new exhibit honoring one of the most successful teams in American motorsports.

Titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute,” the exhibit will display several significant cars, trophies, and other artifacts from CGR’s storied racing history. Ganassi will formally be honored April 15, 2020 at the Petersen’s Annual Racers Night before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Dario Franchitti’s 2010 Dallara IR-05. Photo Kahn Media

Vehicles displayed in the exhibit will include the 1983 Patrick Wildcat MK9B raced by Chip Ganassi to his best finish in the Indianapolis 500, the Lexus-powered Riley MK X1 raced by Scott Dixon in the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona, the Dallara IR-05 driven to victory by Dario Franchitti in the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the Ford GT that finished first in the LM GTE category at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Kurt Busch in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series.

“Chip Ganassi is an influential member of the automotive community, and his team’s penchant for success is a reflection of his raw skill and passion for the sport,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Complemented by a visually dynamic and compelling 180-degree video, ‘Chip Ganassi Racing’ will celebrate the team’s victories and tell its story while taking visitors on a trip down memory lane.” 

“Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute” will run through January 31, 2021. The museum will host a ticketed opening reception on December 13. More information on the Petersen Museum can be found at www.petersen.org.

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