One of the ideal situations for IndyCar would be to have one of its brightest young talents driving for one of the best teams. And it appears that's a distinct possibility for 2011.
In what would be a win/win for the principals and the series, SPEED.com has learned that Chip Ganassi is close to signing a deal to run Graham Rahal in a third team in 2011 with Target/Ganassi personnel and utilizing all the resources of an operation that's captured three consecutive championships, two of the last three Indianapolis 500s and won 28 of the last 68 races.
The 21-year-old second generation driver bounced around with four teams in 2010 following an impressive '09 season but scored a major sponsorship from TBC Retail Group. Rahal drove in the colors of NTB, a subsidiary of TBC, at Mid-Ohio earlier this year.
Ganassi, who swept the two biggest plumbs in open wheel this past season when Dario Franchitti won Indy and then snatched the title in the last race, is also considering a second new car for Indy Lights veteran Charlie Kimball as young Rahal's teammate.
The Target team of two-time IndyCar champ Scott Dixon and three-time king Franchitti will remain separately housed on Indy's northwest side and be independent of the new entity.
Since Don "The Snake" Prudomme is a friend of Ganassi's and attended the last couple races, the speculation is that the Rahal team could be housed in the drag racing legend's shop in nearby Brownsburg, Ind.
Ganassi's last American driver to run full-time in open-wheel was Jeff Ward in 2002 in the IRL. He was preceded by Memo Gidley in CART in 2001 and Jimmy Vasser, who won the first of four consecutive CART titles in 1996.