Prior to the Izod IndyCar Series finale at Homestead, Graham Rahal announced a full-season sponsorship deal with TBC Retail Group, which owns Tire Kingdom and National Tire and Battery, among other automotive retail stores.
Thing is, Rahal didn't announce a team. While it may seem like announcing a sponsor before a team is a cart-before-the-horse strategy, in this climate, it may be a smart move on Rahal's part. He's won before in the IndyCar Series and with financial backing in place, can afford to pick and choose a bit where he will race in 2011.
According to Bruce Martin at SI.com, Target Chip Ganassi Racing is one of those teams that Rahal would like to choose.
Rahal's agent, John Caponigro, confirmed that Chip Ganassi's team is certainly one that he is talking to about giving Rahal a ride in 2011.
"You're darn right, we are talking to Ganassi," Caponigro said. "We want to get Graham on one of the top teams in the series and that team is certainly at the top of the list."
Ganassi currently fields a two-car operation for Dario Franchitti, who has won the last two titles, and Scott Dixon, who won in 2008. However, if Ganassi's comments are any indication, Rahal and Caponigro may be wishing upon a shooting star that isn't shooting anything.
“I’m perfectly happy with the two guys I have whether these free agents became available last week, last month or six months ago,” Ganassi said during a teleconference with Franchitti earlier this week. “I’m perfectly happy with the guys I have. And I doubt very much that I would do anything to dilute our team right now. Whether that’s with a…I wouldn’t think a third car is in the cards at Target Chip Ganassi Racing.”
Pretty definitive, wouldn't you say? Ganassi did say that he would like to field a development car and that expansion in the future wasn't out of consideration, but Rahal, even at 21, isn't going to be a development driver.
(Yes, that's Kim Kardashian. Pageviews, baby!)