Skip to content

Franchitti’s ride appears down to Briscoe or Tagliani vs. the field

Dec 8, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT

Indianapolis 500 - Practice Getty Images

Target Chip Ganassi Racing appears close to unwrapping an early Christmas present, in the form of the replacement for the retired Dario Franchitti in its No. 10 Target Chevrolet for 2014 in the very near future.

Reports from both Autosport and RACER this week have more or less narrowed the field of contenders, at least for 2014, down to two drivers: Ryan Briscoe and Alex Tagliani. TCGR managing director Mike Hull told Autosport’s Mark Glendenning the decision “will be before the holidays.”

Briscoe has not spoken outwardly about the possibility – or any possibility – regarding his 2014 future in IndyCar. He and wife Nicole just welcomed their first child, daughter Finley, last week. He has been tweeting some with Franchitti, Hull and Scott Dixon lately… so make of that what you will.

Tagliani has been a little more candid, as he filled in for Franchitti both at the Fontana season finale and at last week’s Sebring test, the first for the team with Chevrolet power. His development expertise was sought, and his full focus is on securing the seat.

“I think you need to be integrated and have good chemistry and the technical ability is important to them with changing from Honda to Chevy,” Tagliani said via IndyCar.com. “There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that it changes their whole dynamic.

“Dario was a big part of this team. He was a very technical driver and when it happened to him it threw a big curveball to the team and they’re going to take their time to assess this whole thing. In that respect it’s a process, but just the fact that I’m in the car is a big statement.”

While it appears highly likely one of these two will get the seat – these two were top candidates when MST first identified the contenders for the No. 10 – the nature and length of a contract will be the thing to watch from here.

Briscoe has already spent five full seasons with Team Penske (2008-’12) and one with Ganassi (2005) in his career, with seven career wins and 12 pole positions. On his day he can be excellent. If he was to get the No. 10 car he’d probably provide consistent support to Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball with a win or two over the course of the season.

Tagliani’s never truly had a full-season, top flight opportunity in his extended career dating to 2000. You could argue Player’s/Forsythe Racing, when he was there from 2000 to 2002, had the equipment necessary to contend for championships, but Tagliani was coming into his own as a driver and hadn’t fully maximized his potential. He has his flashes – and his second half of 2012 was excellent – but he’d need to convert that into regular results if he gets the 10.

The bottom line is while either would be a decent short-term fix for 2014, they’d be increasingly under the microscope with the prospect of more attractive free agents entering the market in 2015. James Hinchcliffe is on a one-year deal with a team option at Andretti Autosport, Justin Wilson has long deserved a top flight ride to match his talent, and Josef Newgarden could play himself into contention if he grows and matures even more than he did this year with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.

The Target ride, as team boss Chip Ganassi said during a November teleconference, is much more than just a car on the grid. It also means being the face of a national brand and it means providing ample support to teammates.

So, the waiting period might be at an end. But rather than building up to the excitement of seeing what new blood could do in the car, it appears as though the Target car is heading toward old memory lane…

Latest Posts
  1. Hamilton chases first ever career three-peat in China

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    He has come close before, but Hamilton finally can make it three wins in a row today in China.

  2. In re-released interview, Brad Keselowski recalls how Rick Hendrick left him heartbroken

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT

    keselowski

    In a just-released video interview, 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski – looking perhaps as somber as we’ve ever seen him, at times seemingly ready to break into tears – discusses how heartbroken, if not potentially betrayed he felt in 2009 when team owner Rick Hendrick picked Mark Martin to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet instead of giving Keselowski the opportunity, even though Bad Brad insists Hendrick had previously promised him that ride in 2010.

  3. FIA WEC: Mark Webber preparing for possible wet WEC debut

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    The former Red Bull F1 competitor will start sixth on tomorrow’s grid at Silverstone.

  4. Diesel pickup gives new meaning to ‘powering down the dragstrip’ (video)

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    nhrda logo

    If it has wheels and tires, it typically can be raced down a dragstrip. But take a pickup truck, throw in a high-power diesel engine in it, and you have a rolling battering ram that will take down anything in its path – even guard rails that are supposed to prevent that very thing from happening.

  5. FIA WEC: Ex-F1 prospects Calado, Bird do well in qualifying

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    The former GP2 competitors qualify up the grid in their respective classes for tomorrow’s WEC opener at Silverstone.

  6. Watch radio controlled cars pay awesome homage to Fast and Furious series, late actor Paul Walker

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:03 PM EDT

    fast and furious RC2

    While we don’t condone street racing whatsoever, the video below is one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. Even better, it’s more of parking lot racing, with radio controlled cars burning up the asphalt and concrete — so no actual humans, animals or real-life vehicles were put in jeopardy. An added bonus is this is an outstanding homage to the Fast & Furious series, with particular emphasis on actor Paul Walker, who was killed last December in a tragic street racing crash.

  7. An eggs-cellent day at the Brickyard (PHOTOS)

    Apr 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    IMS Pagoda Getty Images

    If the Indianapolis Motor Speedway isn’t *the* coolest place to hold an Easter egg hunt, we figure it’s at least one of them.

  8. Swan Racing struggles reportedly worsen, future uncertain

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT

    Swan Racing minority owner Anthony Marlowe is trying to find a way to keep Cole Whitt racing. Where that leaves teammate Parker Kligerman is uncertain, at best. Getty Images

    The future of Swan Racing in Sprint Cup racing is not looking good.

  9. FIA WEC: Toyota, Ferrari score top class poles at Silverstone

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    Toyota Getty Images

    Toyota takes the pole for Sunday’s FIA WEC opener in Silverstone.

  10. IMSA: New sponsors for Muehlner Motorsports America

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

    IMSA Daytona 24 Hours Auto Racing AP

    Couple new sponsors for GTD team within TUDOR Championship.

  11. Magnussen downbeat after poor qualifying display

    Apr 19, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Kevin Magnussen AP

    Danish driver can only manage P15, with teammate Jenson Button in 12th.

  12. Ricciardo gave his all, and is rewarded with front row start

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo AP

    All smiles for Daniel after qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

  13. Williams combats wet weather woes in Shanghai

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    Massa and Bottas both make the top 10 despite wet conditions playing against them.

  14. Hamilton breaks 46-year-old British record for most poles

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel AP

    Jim Clark’s record that has stood since 1968 has now been broken by Hamilton in China.

  15. Alonso upbeat about his chances in China (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2014, 5:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    He might be down in 5th, but the Spaniard believes that a podium finish is well within Ferrari’s reach in China.

  16. What went wrong for Rosberg in qualifying? (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    P4 disappointing for the German driver, but where did it all go wrong for him?

  17. Lotus reaches top 10 for the first time in 2014 thanks to Grosjean

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Grosjean qualifies 10th to finally give the team something to smile about after a tough winter.

  18. Hamilton keeps his cool to claim pole for Chinese GP

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:04 AM EDT

    Mercedes Formula One driver Hamilton of Britain gestures while celebrating after taking pole position at qualifying session of Chinese F1 Grand Prix at Shanghai International circuit Reuters

    British driver secures wet weather pole in Shanghai ahead of Ricciardo and Vettel.

  19. WATCH LIVE: Rivals set to rain on Mercedes’ parade?

    Apr 19, 2014, 1:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    Could Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel take advantage of the wet track to snatch pole position?

  20. FIA releases full findings in Red Bull fuel saga

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT

    Ricciardo AP

    Report reveals that Red Bull failed to supply accurate data, and what was supplied actually undermined the team’s argument.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

Featured video

Qualifying success: Hamilton, Ricciardo
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (4747)
  2. A. Seuss (1710)
  3. B. Myers (1247)
  4. J. Myers (1167)
  5. L. Fleming (1161)

More from NASCAR America

The new faces of NASCAR