How does it happen that you go from a team of four to Scott Dixon and a TBA, then that TBA then turns out to be the Rookie of the Year who you sort of sneaked away from his prior team? It’s because your Chip Ganassi and you #LikeWinners. One of the bigger news stories of last season came in September when Ganassi Racing let it be known that they would be cutting the four-driver IndyCar program down to two, and the driver would be Scott Dixon and a TBA. This left Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, and Max Chilton without rides in 2018. Kanaan had let it be known he would not be staying on with CGR at the end of the season, Chilton had whispers surrounding him that he’d be leaving to drive cars in the UK, and then Kimball had been with CGR nearly all of his IndyCar career.
When the dust settled it was Dixon, and a TBA. What can be said about Dixon that hasn’t been said already? In 2017 he only was out of the top-10 once…and that was Indy 500 following that horrific crash. He had one first-place finish at Road America, and then nine top-five finishes. He was third in standings, busting up the Penske Party. I can keep going on with statistics, but it’s simple: Scott Dixon is a perennial favorite, with good reason.
If the announcement that Chip was cutting half of his IndyCar team in half was a huge announcement, Ed Jones jumping from Dale Coyne to Chip Ganassi. It seems to have boiled down to the biggest mistake anyone makes without consulting with a lawyer – get everything in writing. Coyne says they nearly had everything buttoned up and were just waiting for signatures, Jones indicates that the deal was not yet done. I don’t know who is right, but free legal advice: send each other written communications about the progress. Jones is on Chip Ganassi Racing now. He secured the Rookie of the Year last year following an okay showing. Third place at the Indianapolis 500 and three other top-ten finishes in the season. I think he’ll continue to grow, but I’m not expecting a fantastic season.
CGR is the team for Dixon. Dixon’s their winner, their star driver. I’m not disagreeing with the idea of putting the brunt of their energy behind him. You back the winning driver. Unfortunately, Jones may suffer as the prior drivers in CGR suffered. If Jones can step out and prove himself, CGR will reward him.