Scott Dixon wins TCGR’s
first IndyCar Series title.
Highlight of his season is
leading all 206 laps at
Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Casey Mears give
TCGR a first victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona,
one of sports car racing’s marquee events.
Partnering with Felix Sabates, Target Chip
Ganassi Racing enters the NASCAR Sprint
Cup Series. Driver Jimmy Spencer takes two
top- 5 finishes in the team’s debut campaign.
TCGR’s winning Riley-Lexus
MkX1 (BELOW) notched up
2,613.38 miles on Daytona’s
3.56-mile road course.
I was a huge fan of Alex Zanardi, so
when I took over from him I knew what
to expect and what was expected of
me. It was big pressure, but I was
thrilled to drive the car. The next
good feeling was when I felt I was
living up to Chip’s expectation of me.
It was a strong team. Ganassi had
a lot of experience and data with the
Reynard chassis and so the car
already drove pretty well. At first the
engineers were asking me, “Do you
need this, do you need that?” and I
was like, “Meah, it’s fine, I’ll drive it.”
I had a good working relationship
with Chip where we could both say
what we thought, good or bad, and
maybe that’s why it continued after I
went to F1: we’d speak three or four
times a year. When I called him that
summer in 2006, it was just to say
“Hi,” and within that conversation
he offered me a chance in NASCAR.
Montoya went one better than Alex
Zanardi, nailing the CART Indy car
title in his rookie season of 1999.
Won 11 races for Ganassi in two
years, scooping the 1999 CART
title and the 2000 Indy 500.
THE SUPER ROOKIE
Zanardi-Zanardi-Juan Pablo Montoya.
Another major switch from Reynard-Honda to Lola-Toyota for 2000 ended the
title run – although the combo was quick
and Montoya led the most laps by far that
year – but the high point was the trip to
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A CART
team running to IRL IndyCar Series rules
with a totally different chassis/engine
combo could have been made to look
foolish; instead, it looked dominant.
At season’s end, it was Montoya’s turn
to head off to Formula 1, and Ganassi was
also casting his net beyond U.S. open-wheel, buying an 80 percent stake in Felix
Sabates’ NASCAR team. Later, sports cars
would be added to the Chip Ganassi Racing
portfolio, too – with phenomenal success.
“Entering different series
was to ensure our livelihoods
would be in racing – my
passion, my only business”
The gap between Ganassi’s first and second Indy
wins was long. But following Dixon’s triumph
(ABOVE) in 2008, it added two more in four years.
25 YEARS OF TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING