LEXINGTON, Ohio – Rea owner Chip Ganassi scoffed Friday at the notion Target is leaving his Verizon IndyCar Series team at season’s end as a result of something happening – or not happening – within the sport.
In other words, IndyCar’s low-but-improving television ratings didn’t drive Target out, he said.
“It doesn’t say anything about IndyCar racing,” Ganassi said during a break in practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. “It doesn’t say anything about (motor sports). It doesn’t say anything about TV ratings.
“It’s a business decision that Target made. I don’t think there’s any secret message, hidden agenda or ulterior motive. It’s not a referendum. There’s no sub-story here.
“They been in it for 27 years and they want to go do something else.”
Target will continue to sponsor Ganassi’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car currently driven by Kyle Larson. Ganassi declined to comment on that decision.
Target withdrew from sponsoring two Indy cars last year, and its livery will appear on four-time and defending champion Scott Dixon’s entry only for the last five races of this season.
Ganassi’s IndyCar team has won 101 races, 11 season championships and four Indianapolis 500s with Target carrying much of the financial load.
TARGET OUT: Sponsor will remain with Ganassi in NASCAR
Ganassi said he’s “confident” a suitable replacement will be found, and he told USA TODAY Sports this week that a deal could be finalized within the next “30 to 60 days.”
Ganassi said companies that had business relationships with Target – Energizer comes to mind – are strong bets to continue with the Indianapolis-based organization.
“I think it’s probably safe to say you’ll see a couple of those around,” Ganassi said.