INDIANAPOLIS – On the surface, Chip Ganassi Racing’s move back to Honda starting with the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season is shocking. Ganassi, has been with Chevrolet for only three years, but with that being said, Chevy has been the superior manufacturer in the series since joining it in 2012.
Chevy drivers have won 68-percent of the races and 76-percent of the poles since the start of the 2012 season, and with a freeze in the aerokits in the offseason, they will likely only improve on those numbers even more in 2017.
But, that still doesn’t make it a shocker to me that Ganassi switched away from Chevy power in favor of Honda though.
First off, it’s all about money. With Ganassi losing Target as a primary sponsor, Honda can fill the void by giving funding and technical information to the organization now. This offsets the loss of Target and keeps Scott Dixon with the team.
Then, it’s about the resources. With Chevy, Ganassi and Penske were sharing the top resources. Now, Ganassi will undoubtedly get all of Honda’s main attention which in turn makes the team even stronger moving forward.
Also, beginning in 2018, there’s a new universal aerokit, so all this competitive advantage that Chevy teams have could go out the window. Even further, Honda was actually the superior manufacturer in the most important race in the world in the Indianapolis 500, so with Ganassi joining their side, look for them to be even stronger in 2017 at Indy.
But, most of all, Ganassi has had their most overall success with Honda. 77 of their 102 career IndyCar victories as well as nine of their 11 championships have come with Honda. It’s a championship caliber relationship, so that combined with all the other factors make this move a no-brainer.