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Chip Ganassi would sign James Hinchcliffe ‘in a second’ if he had a sponsor

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Add Chip Ganassi to the list of team owners interested in James Hinchcliffe, along with the same major obstacle to keeping the popular Canadian in the NTT IndyCar Series.

“If I had a sponsor, I’d have (Hinchcliffe) in a second,” Ganassi told NBCSports.com after a Saturday news conference to announce the re-signing of Kurt Busch. “I’d love to have him. It takes more than he and I wanting to work together. But I’d have him in a minute.”

Just as with Dale Coyne and Bobby Rahal (both of whom confirmed their interest this week to NBCSports.com), Ganassi has spoken with Hinchliffe since his abrupt firing by Arrow McLaren Racing SP.

The holdup is the millions in sponsorship needed to field a car for Hinchcliffe.

Chip Ganassi Racing announced last month that it will add a third Dallara-Honda entry next season for Marcus Ericsson, who will be teamed with Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist.

The team has fielded four cars in IndyCar as recently as the 2012 season, and Ganassi seemed willing to expand again if Hinchcliffe could bring the funding.

“We’ve talked, and he knows where we’re at,” Ganassi said. “He knows how to find us. He knows where we’re at, and we know how to find him.

“It’s just a matter of, at the end of the day, in all these deals, somebody has to come with the sponsorship. I’m not asking him to do that. But I’ve got my hands full with what I’ve got right now.”

Hinchcliffe has driven full time in IndyCar for the past nine seasons, earning six victories and 17 podium finishes in 139 starts.

In his first public comments Thursday since Arrow McLaren SP signed Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward, Hinchcliffe said being released “shocked” him but struck an optimistic tone about finding a new ride, which Ganassi wants to see happen even if it isn’t his team.

“I hope so,” Ganassi said. “I wouldn’t want to see the series without him.”