Dixon excited by Franchitti's arrival
|By Steven English||Wednesday, September 3rd 2008, 14:09 GMT|
Ganassi driver Scott Dixon has welcomed the announcement of Dario Franchitti as his 2009 teammate and believes the duo will make a 'spectacular' pairing.
Franchitti narrowly beat Dixon to the 2007 IRL IndyCar Series title before leaving for NASCAR, but yesterday it was announced that he would return to open wheel racing next season and take Dan Wheldon's Ganassi drive.
Dixon said he was excited by the news and reckons it will be a timely boost for the Ganassi personnel going into this weekend's title decider at Chicagoland Speedway.
"I think it's pretty cool," said the current series leader. "It's definitely pretty positive to have a teammate that's been very strong, very tough to beat, including last year where we came up just short.
"I think it's going to be a huge influx for the team. I can just imagine everybody will be really excited. It's come at a tough time for everyone I think with the team, especially coming down to the championship, but it bodes well and looks absolutely fantastic for next season.
"I hope we can continue on with the success that the team's had. Definitely with a teammate like Dario, it's going to be all good things."
He is confident that Franchitti's arrival strengthens Ganassi's 2009 title prospects.
"To have a driver like Dario at our team is going to be spectacular," said Dixon. "We're going to be definitely a force next year. I'm sure we'll definitely be very competitive. Hopefully we can win another championship and another (Indianapolis) 500 for Ganassi."
Franchitti's signing ends a period of uncertainty over the second Ganassi drive that began when the team appeared to be on the brink of recruiting Tony Kanaan in mid-August, only for the 2004 champion to decide to stay at Andretti Green Racing instead.
It then appeared that Wheldon would stay on at Ganassi after all until Franchitti's deal was announced. It was revealed soon afterwards that Wheldon would replace Vitor Meira at Panther Racing next year.
Dixon said that as far as he was concerned the team's split with Wheldon had been amicable.
"I don't think there was any problem," he said. "I don't know the ins-and-outs of what they (Wheldon and team owner Chip Ganassi) were discussing because both of those guys definitely keep that stuff quiet. It's pretty much how you should do business.
"They always seemed to be getting on very well whenever I've been around them. I didn't see anything coming, that's for sure."