“Total focus on winning…it shows”

Kiel announced his departure from AMSP just 10 days after the final round of the 2022 NTT IndyCar season. His decision ended his nearly 15-year stint at a team that, when he started, was known as Sam Schmidt Motorsports and was known for its success in Indy Lights. More recently, he has helped turn the team into regular podium contenders and race winners, while also increasing McLaren’s involvement. He also called for the strategies of the Pato Award race, and the young Mexican prodigy began earning pole positions and wins.

Kiel’s move to Chip Ganassi Racing came at the conclusion of a season that saw significant friction between AMSP and CGR, with McLaren CEO Zak Brown thinking he had a deal with Ganassi’s 2021 champion Alex Palou, only to discover that legally the Spanish ace couldn’t be. . from his current trip. Brown was able to sign Tony Kanaan, an “extra” from Ganassi’s Indy 500 team, to take on a similar role with next year’s AMSP 107The tenth The classic version ran Memorial Day weekend, but other TKs are glad and proud that they moved in the opposite direction.

“It took a bit of an adjustment because the truth is I’ve spent my entire career working effectively and building an organization that I’ve been very comfortable with, and now I have to start from scratch and learn new things – new processes, new ways of working, learn from They go for certain things, and those kinds of things.

“But he’s great, and a lot of people here have helped make it a comfortable transition. It’s something I’m looking forward to because it’s a new challenge.

“And I was looking for that new challenge. There’s something nice about being in one place your whole career, but there’s also something nice about learning new things and being a part of something different, and when you look at the two scenarios, one was a racing foundation that’s been in a lot of series.” Different but they are all in different locations, run by different people and very separate from each other.At Chip Ganassi Racing everyone is under one roof and there is a tremendous amount of collaboration and information sharing both technical and operational and the total focus is on winning.

And it shows. You walk by the carriers and are reminded that they have 14 IndyCar championships, and that’s not counting five Indy 500 championships, IMSA championships… You think, ‘Man, they’re doing something right and I want to know what that is!’ So it’s a really great opportunity and I didn’t move for a particular reason. It wasn’t that I got sick of AMSP or anything like that. It was a combination of things that led to the decision.”

Asked if there were differences he’d already noticed between the two teams, Kiel paused before saying, “You walk in the front doors of this place and there’s a certain amount of pride, you just walk down the lobby and see the trophies and heritage from this team. Not many people talk.” About that but you look at Chip Ganassi Racing’s track record over the last 20 or 30 years and it’s unparalleled Team Penske has had a lot of success but from a championship standpoint, from a world racing standpoint, Ganassi has done a lot and you see that on display Complete This team doesn’t just talk about it, they actually do it.

“And the other thing then is that the communication and collaboration are really good and done at a really high level. There’s a lot of continuity here, a lot of experience. For me personally, there was the mentality of starting from scratch, constantly trying to get to the top and making aggressive moves to scale it up. Then when you walk into an organization like this, it’s a step forward. There’s a lot of expectations built in here and you see that in the kind of people that work here and the kind of work that they do. It’s really a well-oiled machine.

After moving to Ganassi, Kiel will likely move from calling strategy for the runner-up spot in last year's Indy 500 to calling shots for the race winner.

After moving to Ganassi, Kiel will likely move from calling strategy for the runner-up spot in last year’s Indy 500 to calling shots for the race winner.

Photography: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Pictures

“But the flip side of that, which is actually a similarity to my former team, is that it’s also a warm, close-knit culture here. That’s something I’ve been very proud of at AMSP – we’ve always kept things open, honest, transparent and encouraged any opportunity we could to bring the team together. It’s no different here. “Which I think is quite unique to a major racing organization and, in my opinion, is critical to our success. When the going gets tough, as it often does in motorsport, it’s those bonds and that chemistry that keeps everyone together and the high achievers. I think that’s part of it.” of the reason for their good performance.”

Kiel described Ganassi’s legendary arm on the IndyCar team as his “first act” in his new role, but added that he’ll also be watching how the IMSA team does things and how the Extreme E team does things. “The main focus is on IndyCar because that’s where it lies. It’s my experience but I have the opportunity to look at our other teams as well.”

Although not yet confirmed, Kell said it would “likely be the obvious answer” that he would become Marcus Ericsson’s strategist, as the former team member who filled that role, Mike O’Gara, moved on to head Cadillac LMDH. program, which will see the Ganassi-run LMDh-VR compete full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the other in the World Endurance Championship. The Associated Press’ Gina Fryer tweeted today that the No. 48 CGR-Honda formerly operated by Jimmy Johnson will become the No. 11 in 2023, but Kiel would only confirm that there is still a fourth full-time CGR IndyCar entry because “there are so many good people out there.” really into this program and we don’t want them to go anywhere.”

Similarly, Kiel confirmed that Ross Bonnell has arrived from Dale Coyne Racing, designing David Malukas, but did not mention that he would be, As expected here last week, new race engineer Scott Dixon.

Kell floated the idea that his arrival at Ganassi as team manager was the beginning of his stepfather and managing director Mike Hull’s fading into retirement.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon,” Cale laughed. “He’s very invested in what’s going on here, as he should be. I have a unique perspective, having been involved in building the whole and helping do something similar here for 30 years. He’s still in the office every day, he’s still very active, and that’s part of it.” extremely important to his life.

“One of the interesting things is that we had never really talked about work before because we were competitive in our careers, so we kept things a little bit over the top on that. It’s interesting now to understand how he goes about his day-to-day life, what he’s working on, what he’s working on.” On him his team, what are the areas of focus, etc. That was really cool.

“But to your point, he’s still very involved and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

Photo by: Chip Ganassi Racing

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