This morning, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced that Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball would be their drivers in 2011. As has been rumored, this will be a satellite team in addition to Target Chip Ganassi Racing which will continue to field Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon as their drivers.
Don Prudhomme’s former NHRA shop out of Brownsburg, Indiana will play host to this newly formed team.
Graham Rahal found himself in utter turmoil last offseason, as his McDonald’s sponsorship at Newman Haas completely disappeared. But almost immediately, rumors started spreading that he was working with a major team for a 2011 seat since it was already too late to begin work on anything major for 2010. Robin Miller broke the story that Graham would land with Chip Ganassi, and today that story came true with a few interesting twists.
Graham will be driving the #38 entry sponsored by Service Central / National Tire and Battery.
Charlie Kimball is an American driver who was born in England, but spent most of his youth in the US. His racing background includes karting, Forumla Dodge US, Formula Ford US and UK, British Formula Three, Formula Three Euroseries, Renault Formula 3.5, A1GP (for Team USA) and Indy Lights. In 2007, Charlie was hospitalized for Type 1 diabetes and now uses a wireless blood sugar monitor while racing. He has teamed with Novo Nordisk to help raise awareness for diabetes prevention and maintenance.
For 2011, Charlie will drive the #83 sponsored by Novo Nordisk.
One of the themes of this press conference was the expanding opportunities found in the IndyCar Series. It is a very positive thing to see two American drivers hired to run for a top tier name such as Chip Ganassi. Many have referred to this operation as a development team for Chip’s organization. It is highly unlikely that Novo Nordisk and NTB are able to provide the level of funding that Target brings to the big team. That said, I have new respect for Chip who has now committed to developing young talented American drivers inside his top tier organization, instead of leaving that work to teams with less funding and resources.