The braintrust at TrackSide Online just dropped the bomb.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) and Dan Wheldon, driver of the No. 10 Target Honda Dallara in the IndyCar Series, announced today they have agreed to part ways.And now ... the REST of the story.
Chip Ganassi: "Dan Wheldon has done everything this organization has asked of him. (blah ... blah ... blah) Dan is a class act both on and off the track and we wish him nothing but the best."
Dan Wheldon: "I have enjoyed these last three seasons with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, but will be moving on to pursue a very exciting opportunity for 2009. (yada ... yada ... yada) I will be announcing my plans for next season in the near future. In the meantime I want to focus my efforts on winning the last race of the season. I wish the team well for 2009 and beyond."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced they will be adding former IndyCar Series and Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti as a teammate of the 2008 Indy 500 winner and current points leader Scott Dixon, as the driver of the No. 10 Target Honda. In addition, Chip Ganassi Racing and Target announced the details of their joint plans to take their partnership into its 20th season and beyond.Hang on a second, my head is still spinning.
This makes sense in some respects, as Wheldon has struggled on the growing number of road courses, but Ganassi supposedly (a) offered the job to Tony Kanaan and (b) had an agreement in place with Wheldon. Which means (c) Mr Judd was his third option after NOT having an agreement with Wheldon. Dario is probably a superior choice, but you gotta wonder about a guy who already seemed like he wanted to get away from IndyCars, don't you?
I can't wait to find out how this decision got finalized, as well as where Wheldon ends up. Wow. Silly season just got ridiculous.
UPDATE: As noted in the comments below, the Intrepid Curt Cavin is on the case.
Wheldon will replace Vitor Meira in the No. 4 car of Panther Racing. Panther officials did not renew Meira's contract, although the driver said it's still possible that he could drive a second Panther car if sponsorship materializes. Meanwhile, he is exploring his options.Looks like what goes around comes around, as Wheldon returns to the team that brought him into the league. Wow. Dan Wheldon representing the National Guard in stylish footwear. Go figure.
At any rate, that puts Vitor on the clock in the game of musical chairs.