25 YEARS OF TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING
A FIRST QUARTER CENTURY
It doesn’t feel like only yesterday that
Target Chip Ganassi Racing first hit the
track…but it doesn’t seem like 25 years
ago, either. The team’s success in that
time frame has been something other
teams might only dream of, and it still
shows no signs of slowing down…
Illustrations Paul Laguette
Owner Chip Ganassi partners with
Target to launch a one-car CART
team. Driver Eddie Cheever earns
podiums in Detroit and Toronto and
finishes eighth in the Indy 500.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Arie Luyendyk
takes the Indy 500 pole and finishes second
in the race. Two more podiums help the
Dutchman to eighth in the final CART points.
I’ve got to thank Chip, because I was
coming back from the toughest year
of my career, with my morale almost
destroyed in F1, and he gave me an
opportunity to rebuild my confidence.
Winning in our first race together, and
giving Reynard a victory in its first
Indy car race, was a proud moment.
Thereafter, reality set in – we were
quick at some places and completely
out to lunch at other times. But it was
a brand new chassis design, so there
were no data sheets from previous
years to work off and I think struggling
in practice was to be expected. The
important thing was that the team
itself was really strong: they’d make
good changes overnight so we
always made progress in the races.
It was tough to up and leave after
just one year; Chip wanted me to
stay, and I was tempted. If I could
have persuaded my old engineer Pete
Gibbons to leave Newman/Haas and
join Ganassi, I might have stayed…
Curb-hopping in qualifying and bouncing
off a wall in its debut, Michael proved the
Reynard 94I’s strength in every sense.
At Target Chip Ganassi Racing for
just one year, 1994, but scored its
(and Reynard’s) first two victories.
f you want to break down Target Chip
Ganassi Racing’s winning ethos to its
smallest verbal component, it’s the word
“we” that defines many of the greatest
teams. Some racers use “we” when they
mean “I” but when TCGR long-timer Scott
Dixon hits Victory Lane and says, “We took
the decision to…” that’s exactly what he
means: a team effort won the race.
That sounds like a tiny detail, but it’s
important: Chip Ganassi has never stood
for any team member implying they had a
bigger role to play in success than anyone
else. This TCGR culture, handed down
from on high, promotes and nurtures
team pride over any individual ego.
Dixon, reigning IndyCar champion, is a
modest man, a natural fit for this kind of
environment, and he agrees it’s important
that everyone’s effort is acknowledged.
“I love my job,” he says, “but it’s Chip,
the management and the engineers who’ve
allowed me to do what I love doing up at
the front of the field. Occasionally I’ve had
to carry a bad car to a good result, but
there are times when I’ve made a mistake
and thrown a good car in the wall. We all
depend on each other to do a good job
“It’s Chip, the management
and the engineers who’ve
allowed me to do what I love
up at the front of the field”
Michael Andretti took
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s
first win at Surfers Paradise,
Australia, in 1994.
Mid-season in Toronto,
he added a second.