Chip Ganassi Racing’s ‘human bulldozers’ plow back into shop work

Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar team went back to work Wednesday at its shop on the northwest side of Indianapolis with a smaller but no less dedicated and passionate group.

Once the logistical and paperwork hurdles were conquered of getting approved by Marion County to reopen its doors in a limited capacity for the first time in nearly two months, the team’s main task became tempering the enthusiasm.

“When you have a room full of Type A personality people, they’re all human bulldozers,” Mike Hull, the team’s managing director, told “What you have to do is smooth out the bulldozing and continually remind them they can accomplish an awful lot, and especially in this case together, to keep us engaged going forward. That’s what we always have done at Chip Ganassi Racing is become a master of the obvious first and go from there.”

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Hull said Ganassi’s IndyCar and NASCAR teams had been meeting regularly for the past month to formulate the plan to restart racing operations in Indiana and Concord, North Carolina, as the easing of Stay At Home Orders continues during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The IndyCar team used a single entrance Wednesday, and each employee underwent a temperature check (“we were fully prepared to send anybody home who didn’t meet that requirement”). The team supplied N95 facemasks and other personal protective equipment, and social distancing of at least 6 feet was in place (measured by the square footage of the building).

Ganassi’s IndyCar operation, which started back several days after the NASCAR team, is working in shifts. Some departments are alternating employees daily while others are working in back-to-back shifts on the same day with a deep cleaning in between.

“I was on the phone this morning at 8:30 with all the managers and engineers in the building this morning, to understand if we had any red flags,” Hull said Wednesday. “So far, so good.

“But we had a preview based on what happened for our people in NASCAR in Concord. So that really gave us a leg up on what to do.”

Hull said an approval document was on file with Marion County via IndyCar administration.

“IndyCar was really helpful with this,” he said.

Ganassi employees were being encouraged to be careful with outside interaction.

“What we then tried to reinforce with all our people is if they have followed the Stay at Home orders that have been requested, today they’re in the best state they can be in for health,” Hull said. “But going forward, once they get out and go to work and might stop at Target or wherever they decide to stop, they might become exposed to other people, and then they’re exposing us to the same thing.

“We’ve asked them to be very vigilant in what they’re doing, so when it comes time for us to tell them to go to the racetrack or come back from the racetrack, we can do the right thing and be socially responsible going forward. We’ve tried to emphasize that with our people so we just haven’t said, ‘Hey, here’s 26 rules, please abide.’ Use some practical sense and help us all get through this now that we have been given the right to go back to work.”

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s