IndyCar »

Ganassi: Franchitti, Dixon pairing `real special`.

The teaming-up of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti at Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2009 IndyCar Series will see the pairing 'bring out the best in each other' and has the potential to become the most successful partnership in the history of the multiple championship-winning outfit.

That is the conviction of the North Carolina-based concern's team owner Chip Ganassi – who has in the past run such legendary drivers as Alex Zanardi, Juan-Pablo Montoya and Dan Wheldon in Champ Car, NASCAR and IndyCar circles – after the Scot and Kiwi competed alongside each other for the first time in the Nikon Indy 300 at Surfers' Paradise in Australia last weekend.

The line-up will also mark the first time in US motorsport history that a team has run drivers who have triumphed in both the IndyCar Series (Franchitti in 2007, Dixon in 2008) and the iconic Indianapolis 500 (likewise) for the two previous campaigns. Last season Franchitti stole the championship laurels from Dixon on the final lap of the final race at Chicagoland Speedway when the latter ran out of fuel.

“It's going to be a lot of fun to see these two guys as team-mates next season,” enthused 50-year-old Ganassi. “I think they'll bring out the best in each other. They are very similar drivers in that they are both calm, cool and patient, and are equally adept on road courses as they are on ovals.

“I know we have had some pretty good duos in our cars over the years like [Jimmy] Vasser and Zanardi, Vasser and Montoya and Dixon and Wheldon, but I think this one has the chance to be real special.”

If the early signs are anything to go by, Franchitti and Dixon have certainly hit it off well, and the former banished all doubts about his ability to return rapidly to the pace in single-seater competition by qualifying fourth for the 'non-championship' Surfers' outing – just two spots adrift of his new team-mate.

“First weekend back, it's gone a lot better than I expected,” reflected the 35-year-old, who had driven no fewer than five other types of racing car before returning to the IndyCar fold at the end of a year's absence following his 2007 title success. The eight-time series race-winner had conducted just a day's testing in the Honda-powered Dallara before making his competitive comeback.

“I knew coming to the team the car would be fine. It wasn't like, 'Oh my god, is the car going to be quick enough?' It was like, 'Okay, am I going to be able to come out of the box this first weekend and be competitive?' I wasn't sure.

“I didn't really put any expectations on myself, and it was surprising to be in the top three in every session and end up qualifying fourth.

“It was good to get to know [his engineer] Chris [Simmons] and everyone in the team, and working with Scott the first time, I'm going to write a book – 'Scott Dixon: The Truth' – because he comes across as quiet and serious.

“I know him away from the track and he's a very good laugh. He's really relaxed and it's a good atmosphere in the team. At the same time, everybody's working hard. You don't get success in any series without working hard.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Chip Ganassi looks incredulous on the pit wall at Mid Ohio.
Ed Jones, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar [Credit: Ed Jones PR]
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones celebrates winning the 2016 Indy Lights championship
Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) celebrates at Laguna Seca
Kyle Kaiser - Juncos Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Indy Lights action
Indy Lights title contender Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media]
Santiago Urrutia - Schmidt Petersen Motorsport
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.