That is a big hole in the 2014 IndyCar roster, who can fill those shoes?
The motorsport world was rocked today to hear the news that Dario Franchitti will be retiring from driving based off of the opinions of his doctors after a scary crash in Houston last month.
The accident saw Franchitti’s car launched into the fence after running into the slower Takuma Sato.
Franchitti was transported to local hospital for his injuries, underwent multiple surgeries, and began his recovery. However, “based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing,” Dario said in a release.
The driver boasts 31 wins, 3 Indy 500 titles, and 4 IndyCar titles, and said he hopes to remain a part of the sport.
“I love open-wheel racing and I want to see it succeed. I'll be working with Chip to see how I can stay involved with the team, and with all the amazing friends I've made over the years at Target.”
Now, with an already busy silly season slowly coming to a close, this job opening, if you will, puts a wrench into the 2014 picture.
There are so many options for Chip Ganassi.
He can fold the 83 team into the 10, and work Kimball into the picture.
That might be the most logical for the owner, as being able to focus the effort and energy back into the 2 Target cars with a defending champion, and one of the most improved drivers of the past two seasons could almost guarantee race winning contention throughout next season.
Last month’s season finale saw Canadian Alex Tagliani drive the car at Auto Club Speedway. Had it not been for a late race spin, the Canuck could have had a very strong result.
This option is very interesting. The well liked Tagliani brings a little bit of sponsorship money to the table, great driving talent and an amazing amount of experience in open wheel racing.
In addition, Target, the primary sponsor of the two iconic Ganassi cars has recently moved into Canada, just another point in favor of Tagliani’s cause.
If I was Tagliani, I would be all over my phone getting in touch with Ganassi. While truly an unfortunate turn of luck for Franchitti, this could be the career revitalization that Tagliani needs!
The last possible move is grabbing hold of one of the IndyLight's veterans who are always looking for a ride. Peter Dempsey and Sage Karam are good options, however Karam's title handed him a $1 million step up on the competition.
No matter the final result of Dario's retirement, Chip Ganassi Racing will look just a little different come St. Pete in 2014.