Scott Dixon has signed a multi-year deal to remain at Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon had considered an offer from McLaren and also had drawn interest from Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, and another team. 2019 will be Dixon’s 18th season at Ganassi, the longest any driver has been with the team. he made his 300th Indycar start at Mid Ohio July 29. Dixon began his Indycar career with PacWest Racing in Champ Car in 2001, then moved to Ganassi for the 2002 season.
Dixon has 44 career wins, third on the all time list behind A. J. Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52). While the length of the contract isn’t known at this time, he should have time to catch Andretti. Dixon currently leads this year’s points, holding a 46 point lead over Alexander Rossi with four races remaining. Winning the the title would be Dixon’s fifth, just two behind Foyt.
Rob Edwards, COO of Andretti Autosport, expressed disappointment but not surprise at the announcement. ” Probably some of the other conversations took too long to come together to the point where Scott needed to make a decision,” he said.
In this afternoons’ teleconference, both Dixon and Ganassi gave a glimpse of how the new deal came about. Dixon talked to Ganassi about a month ago and Dixon told his car owner that they were okay. He conceded there were “moderate discussions going on” with other teams, but in the end, it was “a fairly straightforward decision.”
“These people gave me the opportunity to start with,” Dixon said.
As for the championship race this season, his approach is to “take each weekend as it is. The worst thing you can do is points racing.” Dixon hopes the missed opportunities at the beginning of the year don’t reflect at the end of the season.
Ganassi thinks Dixon is driving as well in 2018 as he has in his career.
“It was easier for Scott with teammates Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon. It’s tougher now without a champion driver on the team.”
Ganassi said he has no plans to expand the team beyond its current two cars.
Talking about the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono this weekend, Dixon said the new front wing configuration “gives everybody more options,” but will not “fundamentally change things.”
He went on to say he thinks the race will be “similar to last year.”
Dixon said, “I like this year’s style of racing better. ”
On the health of the series, Ganassi said, “It’s in a period where it’s on the uptick,” noting that he has seen Indycar go through up and down cycles. He is very excited about the NBC package.
Dixon added that his PNC sponsorship “speaks volumes about Indycar racing.”
Dixon staying with Chip ganassi racing is also a positive for the series.
Seeing Dixon at any other team would just not feel right.
I wonder how much sponsor PNC Bank influenced the decision.
Staying with Ganassi means if he wins the title, we likely won’t see a number 1 car next year. Ganassi has been reluctant to have that number on his championship cars. can PNC help here? I think the champion should carry the number 1 the following year.
Some late news items:
Zachary Claman de Melo will drive for Harding Racing at Pocono and Gateway. DeMelo, who drove earlier in the season for Dale Coyne Racing’s shared number 19 car, takes over the 88 car as the team seeks to audition drivers for 2019.
Richmond is looking more likely as the oval to be added to next year’s schedule.
fernando Alonso is making an announcement tomorrow. Is Indycar involved? I may be up late tonight waiting to hear.