NTT IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi says that anytime you can add a championship-winning driver to your team it says something. Speaking to Paddock Eye during a Zoom conference call on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s NTT IndyCar Series season-opening Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, Ganassi said that it doesn’t matter where the champion comes from, be it IndyCar or NASCAR.

Drivers bring a lot with them to the team, Ganassi says there are guys who can drive cars fast, there are guys who can win races and there are guys who can win championships.

Anytime you have access to championship-winning race craft or championship-winning tools it is invaluable and with Jimmie, every time he talks to him something new rubs off on him and that is something that is important to Chip.

Ganassi also confirmed that there was never any question about dropping a driver from his programme when it came to adding a car when he was approached by Tony Kanaan and Jimmie Johnson about running an NTT IndyCar Series season.

Ganassi also confirmed that he has not set any specific goals or targets for Johnson but thinks it would be great if he could get on the podium over the course of the season or even sneak a win. Jimmie Johnson will make his NTT IndyCar Series race debut at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend in the No.48 Carvana Honda.

Ganassi said:

Yeah, I think anytime you can add a championship-winning driver to your team it says something. These are not — you know, NASCAR championships or INDYCAR championships, they’re tough battles. It doesn’t always mean you’re only talking about the car. Drivers bring a lot with them.

Championship-winning drivers, I’ve always said, there are guys who can drive cars fast, there are guys who can win races, and there are guys who can win championships, okay, and that’s three different kinds of drivers. Each one of those brings a certain thing to the team.

Obviously when you bring a championship driver in, it could be a Super Bowl champion like Joe Montana. I can’t tell you the intangibles he brought to our team over a two- or three-year period back in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Anytime you have access to that book of knowledge, and in this instance race craft and what I would consider just tools that you bring along that get downloaded to the rest of the team, it’s invaluable. It’s invaluable.

You know, it’s hard to put a finger on — when you say what Jimmie brings to the team. Look, I just talked to him on the phone an hour ago. A little something rubs off every time he talks to you. You see what kind of guy he is, what kind of person he is.

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