Chip Ganassi looks to rebound and rebuild after Dario Franchitti retirement

Nick Laham

Four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti has been forced to retire following his crash in the Grand Prix of Houston. Now his team is forced to move on with a potential new driver in the famous Target No. 10.

With Dario Franchitti forced to quit racing due to injuries sustained in a crash at Houston, team owner Chip Ganassi is now faced with rebounding and rebuilding his team, filling one of the most sought after rides in motorsports.

Ganassi wasn't privy to discuss the medical details surrounding Franchitti's retirement during a teleconference on Friday morning but indicated that his doctors were concerned about the potential for repeated concussions.

Franchitti suffered a concussion, broken leg and spinal fracture in a crash on Oct. 6 when his car made contact with another and sent Franchitti into a catchfence. Ganassi was able to comment that Franchitti will be able to "make a 100 percent full recovery" and has been told so since day one.

"These are all injuries that are recoverable," Ganassi said. "I don't want anyone thinking he's maimed for life or anything like that."

Ganassi says he's committed to running a four car team next season and that it's also "not out of the question" that recently signed Tony Kanaan could move over from the NTT Data No. 8 to the No. 10 Target car next season. Beyond that, Ganassi says Target is committed to the Ganassi team and that they will have something to announce in the coming weeks.

The options are varied for Ganassi as the championship winning team owner could draw from either a limitless pool of veteran free agents or an equal amount of young up and coming free agents. That's the primary question the team will face when looking to fill the No. 10 seat for next season.

"We've always taken the best driver that's available at the time," Ganassi said. "We sort of followed that rule we learned from a great mentor of all of ours -- a guy named Morris Nunn. When you had a driver position available, and don't even think about anything else.

"Once we go through that analysis, we'll go from there. I mean, I would love to give a young guy a chance but I think there are better places for young people to come into the sport than into that 10 car."

Ganassi says that whoever fills that seat will have big shoes to fill and must also be capable of winning championships and helping teammates win championships -- and that it's not always the best position for a younger driver.

Before filling that seat, Ganassi says he is first focused on helping Franchitti transition into life away from the cockpit and finding a way for him to remain in the sport.

"We have somebody on our team right now that's maybe been dealt some cars he doesn't want to play right bow, but he's going to have to.

"Our thoughts are with him right now, making sure that we get him into the right seat, if you will. We're not so much worried about ourselves as we are others right now."

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