Ganassi to pickup American driver UPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to near-'false' today. Despite the presence of some quality racing drivers on the free market, IZOD IndyCar Series championship-winning car owner Chip Ganassi said this week that he is not likely to expand his two-car operation in the series.
“First of all, there are some great free agents out there,” Ganassi said on the weekly IRL teleconference. “None, I think, as great as the drivers I have, but nonetheless there are some great free agents out there that are available.”
Second-generation driver Graham Rahal has a sponsor in hand and is shopping for a team while Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay are among those looking for sponsorship or new rides for the 2011 campaign.
Dario Franchitti has won consecutive championships for Ganassi, while Franchitti’s teammate Scott Dixon won the IndyCar title in 2008.
“I’m perfectly happy with the two guys I have whether these free agents became available last week, last month or six months ago,” Ganassi continued. “I’m perfectly happy with the guys I have. And I doubt very much that I would do anything to dilute our team right now.
“Whether that’s with a — I wouldn’t think a third car is in the cards at Target Chip Ganassi Racing.”
However, Ganassi left himself some wiggle room to change his mind.
“Having said all that, I would be perfectly happy to have a well‑funded development team of some younger guys that are on their way up that have some potential down the road if the proper sponsorship could be found,” he explained. “Not necessarily under the roof of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, but I think in terms of a development team, we could easily compete with a lot of these teams out there now running less than a total budget for a well‑funded front‑running car.
“I think if done right, that could add to Target Chip Ganassi Racing down the road three or four years or something. The things you do now could possibly augment your team for the future.
“Again, having said that, it’s not something — it’s not something that’s going to make or break our organization. If our organization looks exactly the same a year from now as it does today, it won’t bother me a bit.” NSSN09/17/10 One rumor suggests Rahal could become a third driver at Ganassi. They tried to make that happen in 2010 but could not get it done. We are not aware of Rahal having any major sponsor in his back pocket to bring to Ganassi.
09/16/10 Word on the street is that an American driver is in position to join the Penske or Ganassi IndyCar team in 2011 and rumor has it that Graham Rahal or Ryan Hunter Reay are the most likely candidates. We could see Ganassi running a third car or Penske replacing Ryan Briscoe.