It’s absolutely natural to compare Chip Ganassi to Roger Penske. After all, Penske is the most successful Indy car
team owner of all time, with 159 race
wins and 11 series championships under
USAC, CART and IndyCar Series sanction,
and Ganassi is the obvious heir apparent.
But these days, maybe it already
would be more appropriate to compare
Penske to Ganassi instead. A little more
than two decades into the history of
Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Ganassi has
emerged as the leading team owner of
his era, with Dario Franchitti this year
completing a “Ganassi Slam” of four
consecutive series championships for the
second time since 1996.
In fact, if you were to analyze the
statistics, you’d find that since Michael
Andretti won TCGR’s first Indy car race in
the 1994 CART series opener, Penske and
Ganassi are in a virtual dead heat.
Race wins: Ganassi 86, Penske 81. Series
championships: Ganassi nine, Penske four.
Indianapolis 500 victories: Penske six,
Ganassi three. So Ganassi is actually ahead
of Penske’s pace for their first 22 years.
From 1968-’89, Penske’s Indy car team
scored 60 wins and seven championships.
Put in a wider context, Ganassi’s nine
Indy car titles since 1994 (CART 1996-’99,
and IndyCar Series 2003 and 2008-’ 11) are
second only to the 10 NASCAR Cup Series
championships achieved by Hendrick
Motorsports in that period of time.
Scuderia Ferrari has matched Ganassi
with eight Formula 1 Constructor’s
Championships, while Newman/Haas
Racing, with five CART/Champ Car
World Series crowns, is the next most
successful Indy car team. Overall, since
1983, Newman/Haas has claimed 107
Indy car race wins and eight series
“When I was growing
up, Roger was the guy
to beat, the guy at the
top of the mountain”
the form of his father, Floyd Ganassi, it’s
obvious that in many ways he has been
strongly influenced by Penske.
“When I was growing up, Roger was
the guy who set the pace,” says Ganassi,
“the guy to beat, the guy at the top of the
mountain. There’s no question he sets the
pace in raising the bar and pushing hard
on his team. And that’s who we’re here to
emulate right now, it’s that simple.”
The numbers don’t lie, so clearly
Ganassi is doing an excellent Penske
impersonation. But there really aren’t
that many similarities between the two
Chip and Roger’s respective kingpins Dario
Franchitti and Will Power again dueled for
the IndyCar crown, and again it was the
CGR driver who prevailed. (LEFT) Each
states they have a friendly rivalry. Certainly
both have the sport’s interests in common.