Driving In IndyCar Memory Lane with Target

Each start of a new IndyCar season brings to mind of not only the tracks of the circuit, but a few very noticeable cars such as the Verizon car and of course the Target car with the bulls-eye on the back.

It is actually very hard to think of an IndyCar season without Target being a part of it period.  However, Target has decided to pull out of sponsoring Chip Ganassi’s IndyCar racing effort.

Target will retain their racing presence by sponsoring Kyle Larson’s No. 42 team in the NASCAR Cup series.  Many of the greats raced with Target as their sponsor, proving just how dominant they were.

Let us take a journey into the past twenty-seven years of racing with Target and the accomplishments they have done as a team.

Jimmy Vasser was immortalized as the 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series champion with Target as his sponsor.

Jimmy Vasser was immortalized as the 1996 PPG Indy Car World Series champion with Target as his sponsor.

Jimmy Vasser comes to mind as a driver who not only raced for Ganassi, but landed Ganassi his first championship, all with Target backing him up.  He actually won his championship when IndyCar was split back in 1996, taking top honors in the PPG Indy Car World Series.

Vasser would go on to compete for Ganassi until 2000, which is when he left to race for other teams.  Today, he is co-owner of KV Racing Technologies.  Interestingly, Vasser would be the last American driver to win a championship under PPG Indy Car World Series banner.

Another great would be Alex Zanardi, who would go on to dominate the next two years after Vasser, winning Ganassi’s next two championships.  Zanardi would win twelve races in total after signing on with Ganassi after finding it difficult to get interest from any team in Formula 1.  He quickly became a popular driver and did so well that he won Rookie of The Year honors in 1996, the same year Vasser won his championship.

How could one forget Juan Pablo Montoya and his racing career with Ganassi?  Montoya is one of the few drivers who raced in NASCAR, IndyCar, and F1 and has done well in all three series.  He took over the reigns of the seat vacated by Zanardi, who would go back to race in F1.

Yes, JPM did more than his infamous crash at Daytona in 2012.

Yes, JPM did more than his infamous crash at Daytona in 2012.

Montoya would take the American racing scene by storm, winning the championship in his very first year with Ganassi.  He won the championship by merit of having more wins than Dario Franchitti as he earned seven victories to Franchitti’s three.  JPM would stay for another year and win his first Indianapolis 500 in 2000 and did so on his first attempt at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  Ultimately, he would leave to try his hand at F1 before coming back in 2014 to sign on with Team Penske.

The last decade of Target’s sponsorship saw pure domination from Dario Franchittti and Scott Dixon.  The sheer power both drivers had while employed by Ganassi is no laughing matter at all.

Scott Dixon still competes for Ganassi, but Franchitti, who had his dominant years with the organization, bowed out after a horrible crash at the Grand Prix of Houston back in 2013.  This led to his immediate retirement from IndyCar, but he would still work on the team as more of a set up insight role for the team.

Franchitti’s career was short lived by the crash, but his accomplishments still are a mile long, as he has won three Indianapolis 500 races along with four IndyCar championships.  All of those alone have proven that he was one of the greats who was forced to leave the driver’s seat a bit too soon.

Dixon will still be one of the targets to win the IndyCar title, even if the famous bulls' eye leaves IndyCar.

Dixon will still be one of the targets to win the IndyCar title, even if the famous bulls’ eye leaves IndyCar.

Scott Dixon is another powerhouse of a driver who has sported the Target brand for years.  He has one Indianapolis 500 win under his belt along with four of his own championships as well.  The list of his wins is also long as he has the most wins out of any active driver, tied for fifth in the all-times wins list with thirty-eight victories in total.

Dixon is also in his 15th year of racing with Chip Ganassi, which according to his profile on IndyCar’s website, is the longest tenure in team history.  He has yet to have any desire to retire at all and with how impressive he is as a driver, he is not likely to be cut from his team any time soon.

It is almost bittersweet to say goodbye to Target, as they have the distinction of having the longest running sponsor tenures in all of racing history.  Like the adage goes, all good things must come to an end.

It will be very interesting to keep your eyes peeled for a new primary sponsor for Ganassi.  With so many companies out there in the world who may already sponsor in a different racing series but may seek for another outlet to advertise in, it shouldn’t be too hard for Ganassi to get a new sponsor.

Consider the fact that when you have Scott Dixon and Tony Kannan driving for one of the most prestigious teams in racing along with Team Penske, needless to say, it will be exciting to see who signs up to sponsor Ganassi’s team next year and becomes part of a dynastic run to open wheel glory.

Mandy Winslow

Birthday: May 3rd, 1992 (24)
Hometown: Montgomery, IL

I am Mandy and I am a huge indycar fan with interest in F1 as well. If it is open wheeled chances are I am a fan. My first race every was and Indy 500 back in my freshman year of high school. I was a band kid and we got to go to march the race. Needless to say, I caught the racing bug and have been watching ever since. I enjoy tracks I can camp at as I enjoy hanging out with other fans and waking up trackside.

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