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Lloyd in frame at Ganassi?


While Scott Dixon continued to go about the business of chasing a second IndyCar Series title for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, team-mate Dan Wheldon's future continued to hang in the balance.

The veteran has yet to ink an extension to his current deal with TCGR, apparently haggling over the extent of a rumoured pay cut, prompting speculation as to whether he will even be partnering Dixon in 2009.

While many expect Wheldon and Ganassi to eventually reach a settlement that will allow him to wear red next season, two other Britons have apparently moved into contention for a seat with the team.

Mischievously, Dario Franchitti hung around the IndyCar paddock while on hand in Detroit to watch younger brother Marino carry out American Le Mans Series duties with the Dyson Porsche squad. The reigning champion's debut season in NASCAR has hardly gone to plan, with a broken ankle preceding the loss of his seat with Ganassi's Sprint Cup team and, although he has since achieved a modicum of success in the Nationwide Series, the suggestion that he may either return to the IRL of look to join his brother in sportscars continue to swirl.

"I never say never, but I guess we need to see what's happening with the #41 team," the Scot told television reporters, referring to Ganassi's mothballed NASCAR operation when asked whether he was looking for an IndyCar seat.

Intriguingly, there could be three Ganassi cars on the grid next season - whether or not Franchitti decides to make the switch back to open-wheel racing - as the Indianapolis Star
The Briton won last season's feeder series in dominant style, but has but one IndyCar outing - with a combined Ganassi/Rahal Letterman operation - to show for it. That race, at Indianapolis, ended in a frightening crash into the pit-lane entrance, and Lloyd hasn't been able to set the record straight since.

"I'm happy to stay patient because this is such a great organisation," the Briton said in Detroit, "The past few [Pro Series] champions are sitting on the couch, so at least I have a team behind me. At least there's some light at the end of the tunnel."

The Ganassi team would not be drawn on possible deadlines for either resolving the Wheldon situation or calling time on its ambitions for Lloyd, but general manager Mike Hull did confirm that the younger Briton definitely featured in possible expansion plans for 2009.

"That's what we're working on, and we were almost there [with sponsorship] mid-season," he revealed, "We'd like to do that because we think Alex is special."


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