Yes, you read the title correctly. Target is leaving the Indy Car Series as a sponsor for Chip Ganassi Racing after the end of this season. Anyone who calls themselves an Indy Car fan knows how big of a deal this is. Target has been the title sponsor for Chip Ganassi’s open wheel team for 27 seasons. During that time some of the greatest drivers in history have driven for Chip & Target including my personal favorite driver Alex Zanardi. During their time together Target and Chip Ganassi have won 11 championships and earned 4 Indy 500 victories.
Its really sad to see them go, especially knowing that we’ll never see that famous “bolt” livery again after this season. As for why Target is leaving Indy Car? Well in a phone interview with the Associated Press, Target’s Senior VP Scott Nygaard stated “It was a really difficult decision that we made — we’ve been with Chip Ganassi Racing for 27 years and we are ridiculously proud of the success; But the Target brand is about being fresh and new, so we felt like this was the time to make the difficult decision and expand our sports marketing platform.”
So, it looks like Target wants to take its budget from Indy Car and experiment in backing other sports. Though it should be noted that Target will stay with Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR team. As for who will replace Target next year on Chip Ganassi’s car? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s a pretty ripe opportunity for any major brand and Chip definitely has the resources to build a good sponsor relationship. We’ll just have to wait and see who steps up.