IZOD IndyCar Series championship-winning team owner Chip Ganassi’s 2010 keeps getting better and better.
Ganassi, whose Target Chip Ganassi Racing team has won the last three IZOD IndyCar Series championships, received the first-ever International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) Achievement Award on Nov. 30 during the IMIS welcome reception at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Chris Paulsen, owner of C&R Racing and one of the founders of IMIS, presented the award to Ganassi, who scored two championships and numerous high-profile race wins throughout the 2010 season as an owner in the IZOD IndyCar Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
“What Chip was able to accomplish as a car owner this season was incredible,” Paulsen said. “To have the amount of success he did across three completely different racing series was amazing, and it will be tough for any owner to repeat what he did in 2010. It was a no-brainer for us to award him the first-ever International Motorsports Industry Show Achievement Award. Our show is for hardcore racers and no one is a better example of a hardcore racer than Chip Ganassi.”
Ganassi’s incredible statistics speak for themselves:
• Became the first owner to win both of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s marquee events in the same year. In May, Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500, while Jamie McMurray captured the Brickyard 400 in July.
• Won two championships in the same season for the second time (2008) by winning the IZOD IndyCar Series (Franchitti) and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series (Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas) titles.
• Claimed first-ever weekend sweep Aug. 7-8, winning races in all three of the major touring series (NASCAR Sprint Cup, IndyCar and Rolex Series) in which Ganassi’s teams compete. Pruett and Rojas won the Rolex Series event at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Juan Pablo Montoya picked up a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen, and Franchitti completed the hat-trick with an IZOD IndyCar Series win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
• All five teams (two IndyCar Series, two Sprint Cup and one Rolex Series) and all six of his drivers (Scott Dixon, Franchitti, McMurray, Montoya, Pruett, Rojas) won races during the 2010 season.
• Captured fourth Indianapolis 500 victory as an owner: Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989 (co-owned team with Pat Patrick); Montoya in 2000; Dixon in 2008; and Franchitti in 2010.
• Won his first Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, both with McMurray.
• Rolex Series and IndyCar titles were the 11th and 12th overall for his teams (eight Indy car and four Rolex Series).
• The organization now boasts 134 total wins from 1990 through 2010: 80 Indy car, 33 Rolex Series, 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, six NASCAR Nationwide Series and six ARCA Racing Series.
“Everybody wants to talk about how we won the Daytona 500, the Indy 500, the Brickyard 400, the sports car championship and the IndyCar championship,” Ganassi said. “What’s most gratifying to me, and you’re going to think I’m nuts, is that every one of our drivers won races. You’ve got all your different personalities and cars and people. Yet somehow, every one of our guys found victory lane. That’s the best barometer of success for me. Granted, if we did all that and didn’t win the Daytona 500, Indy 500 and Brickyard 400, it wouldn’t have been as great a year. You wouldn’t dare dream about the kind of year we’ve had.
“I sit there and look at how many great teams and drivers in the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) that barely have been mentioned all year. The last time they got a mention is when they got in the Chase. I’d much rather have the races we won. I’m not bad-mouthing NASCAR or the Chase, but I’ll take the Daytona 500 win any day over not winning the Chase. It’s also rewarding to get the monkey off our back about, ‘You guys should be winning in NASCAR like you do in all these other series.’”
The Indianapolis-based IMIS show was founded by Paulsen, Tom Weisenbach, executive director of the Indiana Motorsports Association (IMA), Jeff Stoops, president of Stoops Freightliner, and two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. All four are residents of Indiana.
A total of 579 hardcore racing companies purchased 1,145 booths for the three-day trade show, which offers individuals and companies from all facets of the racing industry the chance to interact, share ideas and products, build relationships and attend seminars to improve motorsports business around the world. The welcome reception kicks off the show, which will be conducted Dec. 1-3 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.