–by Mark Cipolloni–
Although everyone may think that Takuma Sato is signed to drive all the oval races for Chip Ganassi Racing this year, that is not the case.
Getting long on tooth, the 46-year old Japanese driver’s deal in fact only covers the upcoming Texas race and the Indianapolis 500 for now.
January’s Ganassi press release stated he will “pilot the No. 11 Honda in oval competition.”
On whether Sato contests the other three oval races, Ganassi himself told reporters from the St Petersburg season-opener, “We’re trying to get it all together. I don’t have the sponsorship right now.”
If sponsorship is not forthcoming for a longer campaign for the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, or if another ride-buyer does not hand Chip Ganassi a nice check, the #11 entry could be parked for the other three oval races, given it is not eligible for the Leader’s Circle program.
Rookie New Zealander Marcus Armstrong is driving the car at all the NTT IndyCar street and road course events, but was reluctant to do the ovals given his inexperience and the danger.