Team Penske has been the top dog in the NTT IndyCar Series as of late. No one has touched them in terms of the top accolades. Since the new car was unveiled for the start of the 2018 season, no one outside of the Penske walls have won anything at Indy. Will Power won the pole for the IndyCar Grand Prix in 2018 and went on to win the race too. He’d win the Indy 500 two weeks later. Last year, Simon Pagenaud won the IndyCar Grand Prix, the Indy 500 pole and the Indy 500 itself.
Then, factor in Josef Newgarden’s 2019 title and you get a Penske domination.
Penske, has won 15 of the 34 races run since 2018. They’ve also won 38 of the 82 times since 2015. The problem is, Chip Ganassi Racing used to be their main rivals. Now, it appears that Andretti Autosport has supplanted themselves over Ganassi.
There’s no doubt about it, the “Big 3” of the NTT IndyCar Series is still Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport. Combined, the trio has won 27 of the last 34 (79%) races run in Indy Car competition. Furthermore, if you go back to 2015, they’ve won 64 times in 84 tries (76%).
But, Penske has pulled away and distanced themselves from Andretti and Ganassi. They’ve won three of the last four series championships to go along with the last two Indy 500’s.
Andretti, is now distancing themselves from Ganassi too. Andretti has won seven times over the last two seasons, two more than Ganassi’s five. Andretti and Ganassi have each won 13 times since 2015 too.
Ganassi, hasn’t won an Indy 500 since Dario Franchitti’s 2012 triumph. Where they have Andretti though is out of the last six years, Penske has four titles and Ganassi the other two.
Where Ganassi has slipped was, they expanded to a four car team in 2011. That didn’t work like they had hoped. Scott Dixon remained consistent but it took away from the 10 car. Franchitti’s stats started slipping then he was severely injured in a 2013 crash which forced him to retire. Tony Kanaan stepped in for 2014 and he struggled. Kanaan, had one win in four seasons as Dixon’s teammate. In 2018, Ed Jones was hired as Kanaan’s replacement. Jones, in just one season in that car, had just two top five finishes and only eight top 10’s.
From 2014 through 2018, the 10 car had one win, 17 top five finishes and 49 top 10’s. Dixon meanwhile, had 11 wins, 46 top five finishes and 66 top 10’s.
Last year, rookie Felix Rosenqvist was hired to replace Jones. It would mark the third straight year that Dixon had a new teammate in that 10 car. Rosenqvist, was the breath of fresh air that CGR has needed. They need someone challenging Dixon for wins and pushing him harder.
The last time a CGR driver not named Scott Dixon had won an Indy Car race was the 2014 season finale. Dixon needed some help. He needed setup help from a second car. He needed another car to challenge the Penske’s and Andretti’s up front. It was Dixon vs. 3-4 Penske’s and 3-4 Andretti’s for wins.
He was a one man show.
Now, they are expanding to a three car team in hopes for more data. Will it work? Marcus Ericsson, another Swede like Rosenqvist, is brought in to help get three times the data.