ShareThis Page
Nation, World Sports

Fox Chapel's Ganassi has shot at wins in Coca-Cola 600, Indy 500

| Saturday, May 27, 2017, 6:27 p.m.
Scott Dixon celebrates with car owner Chip Ganassi after winning the pole during qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar  race Sunday, May 21, 2017 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis.
Scott Dixon celebrates with car owner Chip Ganassi after winning the pole during qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar race Sunday, May 21, 2017 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis.
Cars race during the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 29, 2016, in Indianapolis.
Getty Images
Cars race during the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 29, 2016, in Indianapolis.
Car owner Chip Ganassi congratulates Scott Dixon after he won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
Car owner Chip Ganassi congratulates Scott Dixon after he won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 21, 2017.

INDIANAPOLIS — After 17 years, Chip Ganassi is on top of the two biggest racing series in America.

Now that he's there, the car owner puts little stock in his current position.

“Being the points leader in May, that and $4.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks,” Ganassi told the Associated Press. “It's a nice feather in the cap for the team, but it doesn't mean anything. We want to count the points up at the end of the season, not in the middle.

“But it does show the hard work and the dedication of so many people, that we've been working so hard in Charlotte and Indianapolis.”

Fox Chapel's Ganassi heads into the biggest Sunday in racing with drivers leading the point standings in NASCAR and IndyCar. Scott Dixon will start from the pole in the Indianapolis 500. Kyle Larson will start last in the Coca-Cola 600 but had a car capable of winning last week's All-Star race.

His teams also are leading the standings in the World Endurance Championship series and are ranked second in IMSA's sports car series. But it's the first time his IndyCar and NASCAR teams simultaneously are leading the standings.

If he's giddy about the possibilities for Sunday, Ganassi isn't letting on.

Sunday is considered the biggest day in auto racing, and Ganassi has chances to win two races. His Indianapolis lineup of Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton is strong, and Larson and Jamie McMurray have upped their performance in NASCAR and are contenders nearly every week.

“Any weekend is a big day for me when we are at the races,” Ganassi said. “Wins are wins, and that's what we are here for, and we are having a good season with Kyle. We are already in the (playoffs), and we can work on some things that maybe we couldn't have in years past.

“In terms of Dixon, this is early in the year for him to be leading the points. He usually is just about ready to start get going in June. So we're pretty happy right now.”

That should be obvious with Ganassi, who very much likes winners. He says so, often, on social media, using the hashtag #ILikeWinners in many of his social media postings. It's driven by the competitive fire of the owner, who already has five Indy 500 victories.

His drivers know the best way to keep the boss happy is to run well, and that pressure always exists. Last year Larson and McMurray gave Ganassi two cars in NASCAR's playoffs for the first time since the format launched in 2004. It's a big turnaround for an organization that had ranked in the second tier of the series since Ganassi entered NASCAR in 2001.

“For me personally, it's been very exciting to watch the Cup side,” said Dixon, a four-time IndyCar champion, the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner and the longest-tenured driver in Ganassi history.

“We know there's a lot of talent over there, and it seems like they've finally got on a roll, and Jamie and Kyle have done a (heck) of a job. I am kind of pumped for them. On our side, I think we are always expected to be on the top. I just hope we haven't peaked too early.”

Ganassi's plan is to leave for Charlotte, N.C., after the Indy 500 — barring a victory, of course — but he wasn't interested in discussing travel plans.

“We'll see what happens come race day,” Ganassi said. “That's why they have race day.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me