Chip Ganassi Racing Teams owner Chip Ganassi said that the team is committed to four cars for the 2014 IndyCar Series schedule, though who will replace Dario Franchitti has not been decided.
Franchitti, a four-time series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, announced his retirement Nov. 14 based on physicians' recommendations following the incident on the final lap of the penultimate race of the season in which he suffered a spinal fracture, concussion and fractured right ankle.
Three-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will join Charlie Kimball, among the four first-time race winners this past season, and 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan in Chevrolet-powered cars for the 18-race season that kicks off March 30 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Kanaan and Ganassi announced in early October that the 2004 series champion would be joining the team's expanded lineup for 2014.
Kanaan sees his first on-track activity in testing Dec. 4 at Sebring International Raceway along with Dixon and Kimball. Alex Tagliani, who stepped in for Franchitti in the No. 10 car in the finale Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway, is scheduled to join them.
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Whether the veteran from Montreal remains in the car for the start of the season or other drivers are vetted is among the team's priorities.
"The obvious question is do you go with a proven talent in that car or do you go with a young up-and-comer," Ganassi said. "I think that's probably one of the first decisions you have to make. We'll confer with everyone. We've always taken the best driver that's available at the time. We sort of followed that rule that we learned from a great mentor of all of ours, a guy named Morris Nunn.
"Once we go through that analysis, we'll go from there. I would love the opportunity to give a young guy a chance. I think there are better places for young people to come into the sport than into that 10 car. Whoever fills that seat not only has obviously big shoes, if not the biggest shoes to fill in the sport, but you're also somebody that has to be a huge teammate and able to help Scott Dixon, as well, and Kanaan and Charlie.
"So it's not just a single-faceted job to get in that car. That car is part of a team that I think for years has run at the front of the pack, and everything that goes along with running at the front in terms of scoring points for championships and helping teammates win championships. That's not always the best position for a young, up-and-coming driver to come into.
"I'm not saying it can't be done. But we have to look at all available options right now. Quite frankly, for the last couple days we've been thinking more about Dario, to tell you the truth, than we have filling the seat. Whether we fill the seat this week or next week I think is not going to make any difference. We have somebody that's on our team that's been dealt maybe some cards he doesn't want to play right now, but he's going to have to."
Kanaan, announced to drive the No. 8 NTT DATA car, could move to the No. 10 Target-sponsored car.
"That's a team decision there," Ganassi said. "If you were to ask is he a possibility for the 10 car, I would answer by saying it's not out of the question."