INDIANAPOLIS – Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the most prestigious teams to ever compete in the NTT IndyCar Series. CGR boasts 12 series championships, all since 1996. They also have 106 trips to victory lane including four of which in the Indianapolis 500.
But, despite seven titles in the last 11 years, CGR hasn’t won the ‘500 since 2013. Yes, they’ve won 16 times over the last seven years, but none of them have come at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Does that change for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network)?
Scott Dixon leads a group of cars during practice for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 – INDYCAR Media Site
It’s not like they haven’t competed very well lately. Scott Dixon has three top eight finishes in his last four tries. The No. 10 Honda will have its third driver in it over the last three years, but even that car has been strong.
They just haven’t won the thing.
That’s not a byproduct of them being off their game at Indy, it’s just that this race has seen so much parity lately. There’s been eight straight different winners in this race and 12 in the last 15 years.
Dixon, has won just once though (2008). Does he need another Indy 500 win to cement his legacy?
Only AJ Foyt has more championships than Dixon now. Foyt has seven, Dixon has five. Only Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52) have more overall race victories in the series than Dixon’s 44. Only Andretti has as many runner-up finishes, 56-43, than Dixon. Just Andretti (144) and Foyt (119) have more podiums than Dixon’s 109.
In top five finishes, Andretti has 194, Dixon has 158. The next best is Foyt with 149.
Is it fair to compare Dixon to Andretti in this race?
Andretti, was close so many times but only had that one ‘500 triumph 50 years ago this year in 1969. But, he’s regarded as one of the best there ever was to race an open wheel machine because of those stats above.
Will Dixon be mentioned closer to Andretti than that of Foyt?
“I don’t think this place owes me anything,” said Dixon. “We’ve had the car to win some, but hey, if we didn’t get it right we didn’t get it right. We didn’t deserve it. I know there’s a couple where we thought we’ve had a good run at it but it didn’t happen. I feel very fortunate to have raced here. It’s the same goal for everybody. Unfortunately, there’s 32 others that want the same thing.”
Foyt, has four Indy 500 wins. Tied for most ever. I don’t think it’s a secret that Dixon is the best of this generation and that his name is mentioned in the same breath as Foyt and Andretti. But, what would another Indy 500 win do for him?
Since his lone ‘500 victory, Dixon has seven top eight finishes in 10 tries. So, it’s not like this race is one that’s escaped him too far. While he says he’s had a “very average” month, his car is really good in race trim and think he can be in the top five when it’s all said and done.
With Honda having won three of the five races this season and 12 of the last 16 overall, plus three of the last five Indy 500’s, is this the year that Dixon gets it done again?
After all, he does have four podium finishes in five tries this year.
What about his teammate Felix Rosenqvist? The last time a rookie won this race was in 2016 with Alexander Rossi. The last time before that was back in 2001 with Helio Castroneves. The last time even before that was Juan Pablo Montoya in a Ganassi car in 2000. Before that?
Those are tall odds.
But, this No. 10 car has actually been really good at Indy. Ganassi won three Indy 500’s in a five year span between 2008 and 2012 but this entry won two of those.
From 2009 on, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan led a ton of laps in this ride in the ‘500. This car has led at least one lap in nine of the last 11 Indy 500’s. While Ed Jones failed to lead a lap last year, the only other times this ride wasn’t out front for at least one lap in the ‘500 was in 2013.
Between Dario and TK, the No. 10 ride had five top seven finishes between 2009 and 2018.
Rosenqvist, may have never raced on an oval before, but he does have four top 10 finishes in his first five Indy Car starts.
This could be the year that Ganassi is drinking the milk again. They’ve been quiet and don’t have good starting spots, but they could make some noise on Sunday.