The Target No. 10 car of Dario Franchitti has showed markedly improved form over the past couple of races after a somewhat slow start. I think as our team learns about the car, Dario is adapting himself quite well – as he should, given his great experience, ability, and positive mindset. He has shown the clear determination to climb the mountain, and he has the will to solve all problems. Our expectation is that his performance will keep moving us upward.
Scott, meanwhile, always starts the day with a fresh perspective, and is surrounded at Chip Ganassi Racing with teammates of the same attitude. We continue to constantly gain from each other, and that's the definition of a team that is consistent over the long haul. Scott is very, very focused in creating long-term improved success. Look at how he's done with Chip Ganassi Racing since he joined; not only does he hold the tenure record, but has two IndyCar championships, 27 race wins, a win in the 24 hours of Daytona and, more importantly, he's always there in the hunt, always a factor over the course of a championship.
That consistency is what every professional racecar driver should aim for. Look at the most successful drivers in IndyCar racing since its inception, and you'll see they have been with one team for a long, long time. They remember “where they came from.” With the skill set perhaps as a given, they became embedded in a team; Scott, with his integrity, represents the past, the present and the future of how race drivers should conduct themselves. In some sports organizations, loyalty creates a degree of complacency by familiarity, but the good ones create consistency through their contribution of continual learning.
If Scott has been unlucky, Graham Rahal, in the Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car, has been more than that, and to see him in 12th in the championship standings is not reflective of Graham himself. What I like about Graham is that whatever the knock-backs, he's always ready to go again, as are his team members. From the moment he came back from Brazil, he was right into it with his guys, getting ready for the Texas test, getting ready for Indy, and just constantly thinking about improvement. He has moved from his Ohio home to be in Indianapolis so he can be close to the team. He's very much an integral part of our entire team on a daily basis to support his team with his consistent involvement.
Graham is the son of a very famous race driver who won major events and Graham studied all of that and took notes. I'm convinced that he actually wrote them down rather than using a mental etch-a-sketch. Some kids grow up around famous fathers and don't make the transition; they rely too much on their last name and not enough on what they should have been learning from the crib forward. Graham is very special because he was not only close to someone who successfully did a job he wanted ultimately to do, he was also paying attention to how it was done and I have a great degree of respect for drivers like that. It's a special quality and, as a result, although he's only 23, he drives like a guy with a lot more experience than a 23-year-old.
His teammate, Charlie Kimball, in our Novo Nordisk car, keeps doing a better job with each race although, like some others, he had a little difficulty with the new DW12 at the beginning, as he found it didn't mesh with what he described as his “intuitive driving style.” Well, CK is now adapting his style with very impressive drives at Long Beach and Sao Paulo.
Plus, he's gaining in experience. As I've said before, young drivers don't get the huge test miles that were once a prerequisite to success, so on-track time on race weekends are now sink or swim for guys like Charlie. Therefore, we're really pleased to see his progress. People often use the phrase about a driver – “He is learning every time he goes onto the racetrack,” but in Charlie's case, it's genuinely true. Outside the car, he has three great teammates from which to learn, and he does. He's not afraid to ask questions within the support system and when he gets back in the car, he always endeavors to apply what he has learned. When he sees that it works, he gains pace and confidence.