The 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding showed us all one thing and that is despite a tricky start to the weekend in terms of pace, you can never count out Chip Ganassi Racing.
Ganassi managed to have three of their four cars finish inside the top ten in Sunday’s 100 lap race on the streets of St Petersburg.
In the opening practice session for the race on Friday, Marcus Ericsson in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Honda was the fastest of Ganassi’s four cars in 15th place.
Defending series champion, Alex Palou in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda was 17th while six-time champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda was 19th.
Jimmie Johnson ended the opening session in 24th place in his No.48 Carvana American Legion Honda.
In the second practice session on Saturday morning there was a bit of an improvement from the team with Alex Palou ending the session in seventh place.
Marcus Ericsson improved to 13th while Scott Dixon was 20th. Jimmie Johnson was 26th.
In qualifying for Sunday’s race, Scott Dixon was the leading Ganassi car in seventh place while Marcus Ericsson was eighth. Alex Palou started the race from tenth while Jimmie Johnson started the race from 26th.
In the race itself, it was Alex Palou who made the most progress over the 100 lap race as he came from tenth, making up eight positions to finish on the podium just behind race winner Scott McLaughlin.
Scott Dixon used a three-stop strategy to finish the race in seventh place just ahead of Marcus Ericsson in eighth with the pair finishing where they started.
The Iceman led a number of laps through pit cycles but came home with a solid top ten finish.
Jimmie Johnson finished the race in 23rd place one lap down but felt he made plenty of progress compared to last season and heads to Texas Motor Speedway later this month full of confidence, telling Paddock Eye over the weekend in St Pete that he sees no reason why he can’t challenge to be in the top-15 or even the top ten in the race.
This consistent results are why Chip Ganassi Racing can never be ruled out.