Thursday, May 23, 2024

Ganassi Stacks the Indy 500 Rookies Deck

But which of these three will come out on top?


Not only does thee Cheepster’, nee Chip Ganassi have the most entries at Mother Speedway with five. But also has the most IndyCar rookies on His squad.…


Marcus Armstrong

#11 Chip Ganassi Racing

Engine: Honda

Country: New Zealand

DOB: 7/29/00, Age: 23

IndyCar Starts: 16

2023 IndyCar Rookie Of the Year


After winning Karting titles in His native New Zealand, Marcus made the jump up to single seaters in 2014. Armstrong steadily advanced and in 2017, driving for the Prema Powerteam had His breakout year. Winning the Italian Formula 4 Championship and finishing runner-up in the ADAC F4 Championship to Juri Vips. Armstrong also became a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy that year.


Next Armstrong graduated to the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, where His teammates were Robert Shwartzman and future Formula 1 driver Guanyu Zhou, finishing fifth overall. Before finishing runner-up in the 2019 FIA F3 Championship.


Marcus contested three seasons of FIA Formula 2, scoring a total of four wins before moving to Indy Cars. Where He contested the Twisties’ Only portion of the 2023 IndyCar calendar driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, with Takuma Sato driving All of the Ovals.


Marcus scored five Top-10 finishes with a best result of seventh at Toronto enroute to winning Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Honors, before being inked to a Full season campaign this year for Ganassi. Having just scored His first IndyCar Top-5 finish in the Indy GP. Nipping at team leader Scott Dixon’s heals at race’s end. Armstrong now prepares to race in His first ever Oval event, and rolls off 16th, the second highest Ganassi starter…


Linus Lundqvist

#8 Chip Ganassi Racing

Engine: Honda

Country: Sweden

DOB: 3/26/99, Age: 25

IndyCar Starts: 7

2022 Indy NXT Champion


After considerable success Karting, Linus Lundqvist made His single seater debut in 2015, before gravitating to Europe where He spent a few seasons driving for Double R Racing. A race team owned by some Cool Cat known as The Iceman’, aka Kimi Raikkonen and Steve Robertson, Kimi’s manager. As Robertson is one of only three Indy Lights Champions to have never raced in IndyCar…


Linus won the 2018 British BRDC F3 title before moving Across thoust Bloody Puddle’ to contest the 2020 (Formula Regional) FR Americas Championship, which He totally dominated. Winning the title, scoring victory in 16 of 18 races!


After a positive rookie Indy Lights campaign, claiming three wins. Linus claimed the title the following year driving for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing. Yet despite His title, Lundqvist sat sidelined due to Penske Entertainment slashing His championship Advancement Prize…


Lundqvist’s IndyCar break came late in 2023. Contrary to popular belief, Linus made His IndyCar debut on Nashville’s City streets as Simon Pagenaud’s substitute at Meyer Shank Racing, (MSR) where He qualified 11th. Ultimately running three races for MSR, i.e.; Nashville, Indy GP and Gateway. Before eventual 2024 MSR replacement Tom Blomqvist ran the season’s final two events…


Yet Linus suitably impressed during His three races and was signed to a multi-year contract with Chip Ganassi Racing for 2024. Where the Swede’ scored His first IndyCar podium in His sixth race at Barber Motorsports Park. Starting P19 and finishing third, vaulting Him up to eighth in the points standings.


Yet the next time out at Mother Speedway’s permanent road course during the Indy GP. Lundqvist ran out of fuel entering the Pits, taking forever to restart His engine! And painfully finished P24 after flirting with another Top-10 finish! And dropped to 13th in the points standings…


Then Linus made the “smallest” of mistakes during Thursday’s practice at IMS, clipping the Turn-2 curb which sent the No. 8 into a spin. First impacting the rear end and then snapping round, hitting the car’s right side in a long slide before coming to a halt! As you never want to be the first driver to crash during the Month of May. But obviously, Lundqvist will bounce back since He’s drives for one of the preeminent IndyCar teams. Dually qualifying P27 for His debutante Indy 500.


Kyffin Simpson

#4 Chip Ganassi Racing

Engine: Honda

Country: Cayman Islands/USA

DOB: 10/9/04, Age: 19

IndyCar Starts: 4


While I’ve got very little to say about Kyffin Simpson, whose Indy Lights/NXT results really don’t say much. Nonetheless, you’d have to admit that Kyffin’s rise thru the ranks to becoming an IndyCar driver was quite rapid.


Simpson only made His single seater debut four years ago, when contesting the U.S. Formula 4 Championship for Velocity Racing Development. Along with contesting His maiden FR Americas season driving for HMD Motorsports.


For 2021, Kyffin won the FR Americas title driving for TJ Speed Motorsports whilst notching seven wins. Before contesting that year’s Indy Pro 2000 Championship for Juncos Hollinger Racing, finishing eighth overall.


For 2022, Simpson graduated to Indy Lights with TJ Speed Motorsports, before jumping to HMD Motorsports for the latter half of the season. As Kyffin would spend two seasons in the IndyCar training ground with a best finish of ninth overall in 2022. The same year He was inked to a multi-ear IndyCar development role with Chip Ganassi Racing.


Simpson has also spent considerable time racing in Sports Cars, most notably winning the 2023 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) LMP2 Class for Algarve Pro Racing in 2023. Along with contesting the Rolex 24 and other major Sports Car races…


Kyffin made His IndyCar debut this year at Saint Petersburg, where He finished a very respectable 12th. Followed by P19 at Long Beach and 14th at Alabama. And then P15 in the Indy GP, netting Kyffin 18th overall in the points standings.


And who would have predicted that Kyffin would qualify three places ahead of Scott Dixon in His maiden Indianapolis 500? As Simpson will roll off 18th…