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Briscoe replaces Franchitti at Chip Ganassi Racing

| Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, 3:33 p.m.

In the wake of a bittersweet IndyCar Series season, Fox Chapel native Chip Ganassi announced Friday the signing of Ryan Briscoe to replace retired four-time champion Dario Franchitti.

Briscoe, who raced for Ganassi at this year's Indianapolis 500, will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet during the 2014 season.

“We not only get the driver that we wanted to add to our team in Ryan Briscoe, but in addition, we are able to put them in the cars that I felt were the most appropriate,” said Ganassi, whose drivers have amassed 10 series titles. “The news couldn't really be better for all of our teams.”

Briscoe, a perennial title contender while driving for Chip Ganassi Racing's chief rival Team Penske, joins a team with reigning series champion Scott Dixon, reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan and rising star Charlie Kimball.

Briscoe has an impressive resum, including seven wins and 12 poles in 111 starts. He has led more than 1,400 laps and finished third in the 2009 championship.

“I can't wait to get back behind the wheel of the No. 8 car again,” said Briscoe, who finished 12th in the No. 8 at the Brickyard. “We built some great chemistry during the month of May this year with the whole crew.

“I think all four drivers can win races next season, and it's not every day you get to be a part of a team like that. For me personally, it's been an amazing last few days, this announcement coupled with the birth of our first child just a few days back. I couldn't be happier.”

Kanaan, who signed with Ganassi two months ago, will pilot the No. 10 that was driven by Franchitti the past four seasons.

“I'm extremely excited, but this is a very bittersweet day for me,” said Kanaan, who has 16 career wins.

“On one hand, I'm driving for the Target Team and couldn't be more thrilled about the possibilities for next season.

“On the other hand, I'm taking over the seat my good friend Dario had to leave. I was looking forward to reuniting with him.”

Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rpaulk@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.

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