Skip to content

IndyCar: The road to winning in Texas goes through Penske, Ganassi

Jun 3, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

Firestone 550 Getty Images

We wrote after Detroit how rare it has been since the introduction of the Dallara DW12 chassis and new engine formula in 2012 that entries from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing have swept the top four positions in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Sunday’s Dual 2 in Detroit was only the third time it happened in the last three years.

But if history is any indication, we could potentially be in for back-to-back type performances here this weekend at the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Aside of Tomas Scheckter’s 2005 win for Panther Racing, the last win in that team’s history, and Justin Wilson’s surprise triumph for Dale Coyne Racing in 2012 (his most recent victory), drivers from Penske and Ganassi have won every IndyCar race at Texas since fall 2004.

In fact, Tony Kanaan’s triumph for Andretti Green Racing in the 2004 spring race was AGR’s last triumph at this circuit.

Here’s a breakdown of the Penske/Ganassi domination, in the top-5, since 2006 (two different cars, but still):

  • 2006: 1. Helio Castroneves (Penske), 2. Scott Dixon (Ganassi), 3. Dan Wheldon (Ganassi), 4. Sam Hornish Jr. (Penske), 5. Scott Sharp (Delphi Fernandez)
  • 2007: 1. Hornish (Penske), 2. Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green), 3. Danica Patrick (Andretti Green), 4. Dario Franchitti (Andretti Green), 5. Vitor Meira (Panther)
  • 2008: 1. Dixon (Ganassi), 2. Castroneves (Penske), 3. Ryan Briscoe (Penske), 4. Wheldon (Ganassi), 5. Kanaan (Andretti Green)
  • 2009: 1. Castroneves (Penske), 2. Briscoe (Penske), 3. Dixon (Ganassi), 4. Marco Andretti (Andretti Green),  5. Franchitti (Ganassi)
  • 2010: 1. Briscoe (Penske), 2. Patrick (Andretti), 3. Andretti (Andretti), 4. Dixon (Ganassi), 5. Franchitti (Ganassi)
  • 2011 Race 1: 1. Franchitti (Ganassi), 2. Dixon (Ganassi), 3. Will Power (Penske), 4. Alex Tagliani (Schmidt), 5. Takuma Sato (KV)
  • 2011 Race 2: 1. Power (Penske), 2. Dixon (Ganassi), 3. Briscoe (Penske), 4. Castroneves (Penske), 5. Kanaan (KV)

NEW CAR INTRODUCED

  • 2012: 1. Justin Wilson (Coyne), 2. Graham Rahal (Ganassi), 3. Briscoe (Penske), 4. James Hinchcliffe (Andretti), 5. Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Hamilton)
  • 2013: 1. Castroneves (Penske), 2. Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti), 3. Kanaan (KV), 4. Ed Carpenter (Carpenter), 5. Andretti (Andretti)

So as you can see, the introduction of the new chassis and different aero formulas have brought other teams into the equation and combined, Penske and Ganassi only have three of the 10 top-5 finishes over the last two years (30%). Add in three other Andretti Autosport top-fives and that number between the established “big three” jumps to 60%.

But from 2006 through 2011, Penske and Ganassi captured all seven race wins, and 23 of 35 possible top-5 finishes – a staggering 65.71%! Add in seven more from Andretti Green/Andretti Autosport and those three teams took home 30 of 35, or 85.71%.

There were only five top-5 finishes achieved by teams outside the big three in that stretch. Meanwhile there have been four just in the last two years, with the Coyne, Schmidt Hamilton, KV and Carpenter teams all grabbing one top-5 apiece.

But in a series that’s still so wide open at most races, Texas is one place where you’ve gotta beat the big dogs first. History bears that out, and it’s still hard to bet against any of the seven cars entered this year from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Latest Posts
  1. Sam Bird tops Formula E practice in Malaysia

    Nov 21, 2014, 8:27 PM EST

    AUTO-FORMULAE-CHN Getty Images

    The Virgin Racing pilot takes top honors in a 75-minute practice session ahead of qualifying and tonight’s Putrajaya ePrix.

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: A well-deserved title for Kevin Harvick (VIDEO)

    Nov 21, 2014, 7:00 PM EST

    NASCAR Champions Portraits Getty Images

    Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team had to go through a lot in 2014 to win the Sprint Cup title. NASCAR AMERICA’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA: The final pit strategies of the Championship 4 (VIDEO)

    Nov 21, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    Credit: Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/MCT Credit: Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/MCT

    Kevin Harvick’s four-tire call late at Homestead proved to be the difference in his title-clinching victory last weekend. NASCAR AMERICA discuss how pit strategy made an impact.

  4. NASCAR: John Wes Townley to run full-time trucks, part-time XFINITY in 2015

    Nov 21, 2014, 4:48 PM EST

    UNOH 225 Getty Images

    His Athenian Motorsports team will switch to Chevrolet and get Hendrick engines for its dual programs.

  5. Kevin Magnussen not seeing Abu Dhabi as battle for survival at McLaren

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Practice Getty Images

    Magnussen on his future with McLaren: “I honestly assume that no decision has been made on the management level so far, but I would deny that this race is something of a shoot-out.”

  6. Watch NASCAR America 5 pm ET – Final Scan All 43 – Championship Edition

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    nascar america

    You say you need a NASCAR fix? Well, don’t worry, Friday is the final installment of our NASCAR America – Scan All 43 episodes, entitled “NASCAR America: Scan All 43 – Championship Edition.”

  7. Abu Dhabi GP Paddock Notebook – Friday

    Nov 21, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Lewis Hamilton sent out a statement of intent during practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today, beating Nico Rosberg in both practice sessions.

  8. Kristensen’s retirement leaves a void bigger than just a race seat

    Nov 21, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    FRA-AUTO-LEMANS Getty Images

    Replacing Tom Kristensen will be no easy task at Audi.

  9. Alonso anticipating hardest qualifying of 2014 in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 21, 2014, 1:45 PM EST

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Electrical failure in FP2 robs the Spaniard of some much-needed track time after sunset in Abu Dhabi.

  10. Mercedes drivers confident there is time to be found after Abu Dhabi practice

    Nov 21, 2014, 1:15 PM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Hamilton and Rosberg leaving nothing in reserve as they fight for the F1 drivers’ championship in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

  11. Jimmie Johnson: Kevin Harvick winning Sprint Cup title was “the right thing”

    Nov 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick AP

    The six-time champ says a title victory for Ryan Newman last weekend at Homestead “would have been tough to swallow for the sport.”

  12. Sports car notes: Emerson Fittipaldi to return to racing in Brazil, and more

    Nov 21, 2014, 12:45 PM EST

    2013 Laureus World Sports Awards Nominations Getty Images

    Emerson Fittipaldi to a race a Ferrari F458 Italia in Brazil next week, plus two PWC notes.

  13. GP2: Vandoorne claims fourth straight pole position in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 21, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    © GP2 Media © GP2 Media

    McLaren junior driver becomes the first in GP2 history to score four poles in a row.

  14. 2014 F1 championship showdown preview: Nico Rosberg

    Nov 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PRESSER Getty Images

    Part two of the championship profiles sees us take a look at Nico Rosberg’s rise through Formula 1 and to within reach of the world championship. Can he follow in his father’s footsteps and win the title?

  15. GP3: Alex Lynn wins championship after qualifying in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 21, 2014, 11:30 AM EST

    © GP3 Media Service © GP3 Media Service

    Red Bull junior driver picks up the championship in Abu Dhabi, and is now targeting a move up to F1 in 2015.

  16. 2014 F1 championship showdown preview: Lewis Hamilton

    Nov 21, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Practice Getty Images

    In the first half of our articles profiling the championship contenders, we take a look at the leader, Lewis Hamilton, ahead of Sunday’s showdown in Abu Dhabi.

  17. Grosjean handed 20-place grid penalty in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 21, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PRACTICE Getty Images

    Stewards in Abu Dhabi penalize the Frenchman after changes are made to his engine on Friday.

Video from NASCAR America

Most unexpected event of 2014?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Harvick (1948)
  2. R. Newman (1908)
  3. J. Gordon (1835)
  4. J. Johnson (1793)
  5. J. Logano (1792)
  1. D. Hamlin (1767)
  2. M. Kenseth (1425)
  3. K. Larson (1373)
  4. T. Stewart (1323)
  5. B. Keselowski (1286)