DC ON THE ROAD - CHIP'S PLACE How goes the old saw, something like "If (prophet name purposefully omitted) will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to (prophet name purposefully omitted)?" (It'll be interesting to see if this...
DC ON THE ROAD - CHIP'S PLACE
How goes the old saw, something like "If (prophet name purposefully omitted) will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to (prophet name purposefully omitted)?"
(It'll be interesting to see if this writer's effigy gets burned just for the presumption of a name being there, donchathink?)
Deep in the gap between the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the upcoming Rolex Series second round at the Mar. 27-29 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Grand Prix of Miami, I couldn't wait any longer to feed the need and on Tuesday exchanged some mid-70s Florida temperatures for mid-30's Indianapolis weather - and loved darn near every minute of it.
Chip Ganassi Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, sportscar division, share the same Indianapolis digs, with the respective teams dedicated to the singular purpose of each other winning races. As history shows, they do it quite well.
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 CART champions; 2000 Indy 500 winner; 2003 IRL Championship; 2004 Rolex Series Driving Championship; 2006 Rolex Series Team Championship; and, the 2006, 2007, 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona winners.
Smack-dab in the middle of Ganassi's Indy facilities is a huge shop floor where Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon's IndyCar rides sit alongside Scott Pruett's and Memo Rojas' two Lexus-powered Riley MkXX Daytona Prototypes (the team, true to the promise of the DP concept, have updated only to the MkXX bodywork, which the team will debut to the racing public Mar. 27 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in a Rolex Series practice session.)
Double-doors abound on the shop-floor's perimeter, each leading to other enclaves - from a gear room, to CNC and fabricating, to parts, paint shops and the transporter "enclave" (where four haulers sat today, sealed from the outside weather).
Each of the rooms contained busy souls who displayed the cool, confident (but not cocky) and, most evident of all, professional demeanor of winners.
The level of professionalism in that facility was just flat-out impressive.
Without taking exception to Pruett's talent - for it is considerable - with Ganassi's people it is little wonder why Pruett is the most successful Daytona Prototype pilot to date, holding records for total wins (15), total pole positions (21) and total podium finishes (35).
This writer has seen some mighty fine race car drivers over his five-decades of sportscar watching, but none are worth a darn unless the ride matches the talent in the seat. The same is true of the open-wheel side.
And the really neat (some might say "whacked-out") thing is the guys at Ganassi want their competitors to be at the same level - even if the Ganassi guys have got to help them get there.
Before providing this writer with his Tuesday-afternoon guided tour of the shop facilities (and the surrounding Indianapolis area, to boot), on Tuesday morning Ganassi Racing director Mike Hull had spent time at the former PKV, now just "KV" shop, helping bring that organization's team up to speed on the Dallara chassis it got from Ganassi so as to help facilitate its transition from Champ Car to the IndyCar Series.
Back in the Ganassi shop, this writer couldn't resist: "Tell me, Mike, what did you give them; a castaway?"
Hull didn't miss a beat before shooting back, "And what would that accomplish?"
"Not a darn thing," Hull quickly answered his own question.
"I can't speak for everyone else out there, but we don't see that there is anything for us to gain by giving them a bad car. If anything, we made sure they got the best we had.
"There's no value in their doing poorly because the chassis they've got isn't up to the task. They've already got a tall enough hill to climb without also having to deal with something that doesn't work in the first place.
"In the final analysis, we can only be proud of what we've accomplished if we've only also competed against the best. There's really no pride to be gained in beating someone who brings inferior equipment to the table in the first place. That's not what we're made of at Ganassi Racing."
Looking at Hull and each of the Ganassi guys, one just knows that's what they're all about.
Tuesday: Wayne Taylor Racing.
DC Williams, exclusively for motorsport.com