Wheldon Moves On; Franchitti Moves In At Ganassi Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced they will be adding former IndyCar Series and Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti as a teammate of the 2008 Indy 500 winner and current points leader Scott Dixon, as the driver of the No. 10 Target Honda. In addition, Chip Ganassi Racing and Target announced the details of their joint plans to take their partnership into its 20th season and beyond.
NOTES OF INTEREST
Franchitti Returns to the IndyCar Series: The former Indy 500 and IndyCar Series champion will return to open-wheel racing but this time behind the wheel of the No. 10 Target Dallara Honda. The native of Scotland has over 180 starts under his belt between the CART and IndyCar Series resulting in 18 wins, 17 poles, 63 top-five and 95 top-10 finishes (1997-2007). Franchitti is the winningest driver in U.S. open-wheel history from Great Britain. He was part of the winning Rolex 24 At Daytona team this year for Ganassi and also captured the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring in the LMP2 Class in his first ever American Le Mans Series start in 2007. This creates a team that will have the last two Indy 500 winners as they take the green flag next year in St. Petersburg.
Right On Target: The team’s partnership with Target continues to rank as one of the longest relationships in motorsports. Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with Target. Today, their Target properties include two IRL IndyCars and along with Felix Sabates one car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). TCGR’s IndyCar program captured its second Indianapolis 500 earlier this season with current IRL points leader Scott Dixon. Along with teammate Dan Wheldon, the Target duo has combined to win eight of 16 races this season – second only to the Target team’s CART championship run in 1998 that tallied 10 wins at the hands of former Target champions Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser.
Chip Ganassi, Team Owner: “It is going to be very exciting to have Dario in one of our IndyCars next year. I have always admired his competitive spirit when he raced against us and have really grown to see more of what he is about this season while he raced in NASCAR. When there was a possibility of an opening on our IndyCar team, the only person I thought about was Dario. This is going to be a great move for Dario and for our team.
“There is little in my racing career that I am more proud of than my team’s partnership with Target. We will be entering our 20th year with Target in 2009 and we could not be happier. In the market place Target has created a powerful brand that represents – VALUE, INNOVATION, DIFFERENTIATION & QUALITY. The image that Target has cultivated over the years played a huge part in how I wanted my race teams to be viewed. I have said many times that I am much less interested in having sponsors than I am in having PARTNERS. Partners look out for each other’s best interests at all times. I can honestly say that Target is our PARTNER.”
Gregg Steinhafel, CEO, Target: “We are excited about our relationship with Ganassi in both their IndyCar and along with Felix Sabates in their NASCAR operations, and we look forward to celebrating our 20th year with the team in 2009. This program has had tremendous success over the years, and we look forward to even more success in the years to come.”
Dario Franchitti, Driver No. 10 Target Honda Dallara: “Part of the reason that I signed with Ganassi last year was because of how many options that Chip has at his disposal for a driver. You can do almost any form of racing that you want. With unification and the new schedule having more road and street courses it made me think about this more and more. I have really enjoyed this last season in stockcars and have not completely closed that chapter of my professional career but the opportunity that arose was just something I could not pass up. I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of one of those Target cars and be a teammate to Scott Dixon. Target is a tremendous sponsor and they and Chip always give you everything you need to win.” Press Release
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