The third car in the Ganassi stable is driven by Charlie Kimball and backed by Novo Nordisk, which makes insulin products for diabetics. Kimball is the first diabetic to drive in the IndyCar Series and it’s a safe bet that Novo Nordisk will stay with him for the long haul. Kimball also just scored his first career IndyCar win last weekend in the Honda 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which probably has his Novo Nordisk backers and Ganassi bosses quite pleased.
With the three existing seats at Ganassi seemingly locked up, it is possible that Hinchcliffe and Go Daddy would move to there and have it run a fourth car, but it would likely have to be to be a long-term deal for the outfit which usually doesn’t just cash cheques in return for logos on its cars. Target has been with Ganassi for 24 seasons in IndyCar, with the relationship going back to 1990, while Novo Nordisk is in season three. Both do much more with the outfit than just sponsor racing.
For example, Dixon, Franchitti, and NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya are involved with Target House, a residence opened by the retailer at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. It is for families with a child receiving treatment at the hospital. The trio of drivers visited the facility earlier this week. Last month, the team’s Indianapolis headquarters hosted the first St. Jude Culinary 500, which raised more than $200,000 for the hospital. With Novo Nordisk’s support, Kimball is involved in diabetes awareness and won a Jefferson Award last year for his work. The award honours community service and volunteerism and is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Public Service.”
While things remain constant at Ganassi, it is thought that Irving is re-evaluating the company’s racing program, which also includes NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, who has been backed by Go Daddy since 2010.
That could mean it’s possible Hinchcliffe will sign a short-term deal to stay with Go Daddy as it decides on the direction it wants to take with its racing program, and then move into the No. 10 Target car when Franchitti retires.
And with Franchitti and Hinchcliffe close off the track, it could be assumed that the Scotsman might try to time his exit to ensure there’s an open seat for his pal at Ganassi when his next Go Daddy deal expires.
Since Irving took over, the company has refocussed its direction with a goal of highlighting the key role it can play for small business well beyond domain registration and expanding the public’s perception of Go Daddy as a company.
“Yes, we are the largest company in the domain space in the world – we have 50 per cent worldwide market share and 65 per cent in North America but that’s not the only thing we are about,” he said.
“We are about this little small business customer who has an idea, wants do something unique with it, knows what they want to name it and goes online and names it and then thinks ’now what do I do?’ Where you will see us focussed in a big way over the next 12 months – the next 5 to 10 years – is making it easy to get that person from idea, out into the marketplace to have them running a functioning business and then feeling like they have a giant capable pitcrew behind them helping them get business.”
Only time will tell whether Hinchcliffe fits into that strategy.
Last chance for Fellows
Ron Fellows gets behind the of the No. 33 Canadian Tire Chevrolet SS for his second and final NASCAR Sprint Cup start on Sunday in the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International.
The race at the track where Fellows, 53, has won in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series just might be his last shot at scoring an elusive Cup win.
The Mississauga, Ont., driver should be ready after a two-day test last week at “The Glen” with his Circle Sport Team, which gets its engines and technical support from the powerhouse Richard Childress operation.
“It’s a real bonus to get to test, particularly for me when I’m not driving nearly as much,” Fellows said.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity with Circle Sport Racing and appreciate the effort that the team and also Richard Childress Racing have put together for me and for Canadian Tire.”
For more from Jeff Pappone, go to facebook.com/jeffpappone