Franchitti to use No. 50 at Indy to honor Target

Four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti will use the No. 50

for the Indianapolis 500 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of

sponsor Target Corp.

Target and Chip Ganassi Racing have one of the longest running

relationships in auto racing. The team was established in 1990,

making this season the 23rd year of partnership between the

organizations.

”It’s the most important relationship in my life, personally

and professionally. It’s just way more than a sponsorship,”

Ganassi said Thursday. ”It’s obviously their 50th year in

business, and I’ve been there almost half that time. It’s about

racing for sure, but at the end of the day our relationship goes

much deeper than just a sponsor-team relationship.

”It’s been my growth. As well as it fueling my business’

growth, it’s fueled my own personal growth even further.”

Franchitti, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner who regularly

uses No. 10, will have a new paint scheme that uses the trademark

Target bullseye in place of the zero in his number.

Both Franchitti and teammate Scott Dixon will also have the

bullseye on the chest of their firesuits for the entire month at

Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Practice for the May 27 race begins

Saturday.

For Target, the Ganassi relationship is the longest in company

history. The next closest is the 12-year partnership with St. Jude

Children’s Research Hospital.

Target chairman Gregg Steinhafel called the Ganassi relationship

”a true highlight of Target’s first 50 years in business.”

In January, Target brought Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Juan

Pablo Montoya, Dixon and Franchitti together for a two-day event in

Minneapolis honoring their title runs. Vasser gave Ganassi his

first championship in 1996, Zanardi added two more in `97-98, and

Montoya made it four consecutive Ganassi titles in 1999.

Dixon started another four-year run for Ganassi in 2008, and

Franchitti added the last three IndyCar championships to the

reign.

Target chairman Gregg Steinhafel called the Ganassi relationship

”a true highlight of Target’s first 50 years in business.”

With Target, Ganassi drivers have won 86 races and nine

championships, including three Indianapolis 500 wins. In all forms

of auto racing, the Target Racing Program has 95 wins in four

different series.

The sponsorship landscape has changed dramatically since 2008,

and almost every race team has been affected. Companies have pulled

out and scaled back, forcing team owners to piece together

sponsorship packages to keep their cars on the track.

Through it all, Ganassi and Target have been together.

”It’s a unique audience, and when you think of racing, you

think fun and fast and friendly and modern and exciting – those are

all adjectives Target uses to describe itself,” said Dan Griffis,

who spent almost 10 years with the Ganassi organization before

moving to Target as director of events and strategic

partnership.

”We like to say `expect more, pay less,’ and Chip falls fairly

square on the `expect more’ part of our brand. You only turn 50

once, and for us to partner for the celebration with Chip, our

longest standing partner, is very exciting.”