Report: Danica Patrick set for Ganassi in 2010?
Danica Patrick could be joining IndyCar Series champions Chip Ganassi Racing next year, according to Robin Miller of SPEEDtv.com.
American open-wheel racing’s biggest star had recently been linked with a switch to NASCAR, but with her three-year contract at Andretti Green Racing due to expire at the end of this season, Patrick’s IMG agent Alan Zucker is now said to be in negotiations on her behalf for a third car at Ganassi alongside reigning champion Scott Dixon and the 2007 champ (and Danica’s former teammate) Dario Franchitti.
Ganassi’s managing director Mike Hull told Miller: "We've always entertained having a third driver if we could get the comparable funding that Target provides us. If Danica has something and wants to talk to us, that would be great because I think she's ready to take that next step. But I can tell you we haven't spoken to her." Given that Zucker will have done all the negotiating with Ganassi’s squad, that last comment will not be regarded as a denial.
With IMG having allegedly brokered a deal between Patrick and a Fortune 500 company, there will be no shortage of funding for a third Ganassi car, and, given her immense marketability, AGR’s $7m per year deal with Motorola/Boost Mobile is likely to be dwarfed by Patrick new sponsor opportunities.
Andretti Green Racing, which was once considered to be one of the IndyCar Series Top Three teams, along with Penske Racing and Ganassi, has slipped from that perceived plateau recently. In 2008, the four-strong IndyCar squad scored just two victories – one of which was Patrick’s ground-breaking triumph at Motegi. That earned her the accolade of the first woman to score an Indy car victory, and it also sent her status in the racing world to stratospheric heights.
Patrick’s 2009 season, highlighted so far by a third place in the Indy 500, has been consistent enough to earn her fifth place in the ICS point standings, ahead of all three of her teammates, and behind only the Penske and Ganassi drivers.