Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday greetings from Charlie!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Who are you wearing?" and much more from 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Which Indy 500 is on your wish list?

Christmas is just around the corner, and I know what's on my list for Santa: a time machine and a ticket to the Indianapolis 500 race. If you could go back in time and attend an Indianapolis 500 from the past, which year would you choose? I can't choose just one, so here are my two picks.

My first pick would be 1983. I race the No. 83 IndyCar because my boss, Chip Ganassi, had his best Indianapolis 500 finish as a driver in 1983... in a car designed by my own dad! It's definitely a special year and significant number to me.

My second pick would be 1982, the 66th Indianapolis 500, because it's well-known as one of the greatest, and of course the close finish. Also, Gordon Johncock won in a car that my dad helped design.

Chip Ganassi's post-qualifying photo in 1983 (photo via IMS).
Click here to watch highlights from past Indy 500 races. Post your pick on my Facebook page!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things... racing edition!

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..." Just kidding, I won't sing for you (which is a good thing, believe me). 'Tis the season for lists of favorites, so I put together some of my favorite memories and experiences from the past year and 2013 IndyCar season. Enjoy the slideshow, then tell me a few of YOUR favorite things from 2013!

Winning at Mid-Ohio
Words can't describe how great it was to get my first IndyCar win with the No. 83 team in August. So I'll let this video speak for itself.

Indy 500
There is nothing like the Indianapolis 500, the Month of May, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Always a highlight on the racing schedule!

Novo Nordisk and Race With Insulin
They've supported me since day one and have helped me realize many of my dreams. I've had the opportunity to do a lot of cool things on behalf of Novo Nordisk this year, like speaking in Madrid, attend the JDRF Children's Congress, take part in a major NYC media tour, and meet some really inspirational people.

Whether it's meeting them at the track or chatting via Twitter, I always enjoy the energy and support from IndyCar fans. I truly believe we have the best fans in the world!

The No. 83 team and my teammates
The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team really gelled this season, from the engineers, to pit crew members, to management. They really do make my job a lot easier, when I know I can go out there and just race. I'm humbled and lucky that I had the chance to work with and learn from Scott and Dario again. We'll definitely miss Dario in the seat of the No. 10 next year, but I look forward to working with TK too.

Getting away
I was able to get away from the racing scene a few times this year, and I really cherished the time to reflect and recharge with family and friends. Two of my favorites (yes, favorites within a favorites list): boating and the Grand Canyon!

Podium sweep at Pocono
Because who doesn't love a 1-2-3 CGR podium?! OK, I suppose the rest of the field didn't enjoy it as much as we did...

Leading the IndyCar field
The entire Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team worked really hard throughout the 2012-2013 off-season and I think not only do our race finishes (10 top-10s!) demonstrate that effort, but also having the No. 83 up front at both road/street courses and on ovals shows we can consistently contend for the win.

As a lifelong Dodgers fan, having the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a game last April definitely checked off bucket list item for me. Still pinching myself!

Kicking off 2013 with a win at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona was huge. Major thanks to the CGR team and teammates Scott, Juan, and Memos for guiding me through my first Daytona experience!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Caption this!

Are you on Facebook? Have you "liked" my Facebook fan page yet? If not, you're missing out on some fun stuff... like today's "caption this" photo!

CLICK HERE to like my page, and submit your own caption!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

All dressed up with a bowtie

It's only December 5th, but it's been quite an exciting month already!

Yesterday all four Chip Ganassi Racing Team cars spent a day testing at Sebring, the first time running our new Chevy engines. Like I've said before, the 2014 season really started as soon as the checkered flag flew at Fontana in October. Since then, the whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team has been working hard at the shop, at the gym, and in the engineering office to make improvements before we even got some track time.

Wednesday was spent getting a good baseline for the rest of the off-season and gathering some data before the end of the year. It was definitely good to be back in the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car. It's nice to be back at the race track and focusing on 2014. Moving to Team Chevy has given us the opportunity to try some different things, learn from their engineers, as well as bring our strengths to the table. It was also a lot of fun to have TK and Tag at Sebring for the first time. I'm enjoying getting to know Tony better and develop a relationship at the track as a teammate.

Tonight I'm getting together with the whole No. 83 team for a post-season celebration. Looking forward to spending some time with them and their families away from the track!

Nice bowtie!
Chatting with Tony during the lunch break (photo via @IndyCar).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tune in... next season!

Today the IndyCar Series announced the 2014 broadcast schedule... check it out below, and click here to learn more!

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's that time of year... season review time!

Happy December, everyone! Since we are wrapping up the year and racing toward 2014 (pun intended!), I figured it's a good time to take a look back at the 2013 IndyCar season.

Firstly, I would be remiss if I didn't include the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January... as I often say, the racing drivers' motto might as well be, "Have helmet; will travel." I'm always happy to be inside a race car, and it was such a honor to race with the No. 01 team and drivers Scott, Memos, and Juan. And to win on my first Daytona outing? What an amazing experience!

As always, the IndyCar season really starts with prep during the off-season. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Team had about four test days at the track before St. Pete in March, but there were countless more hours at the shop and in the engineering office.

From the first lap out in March to our last in October, I'd have to say it was definitely a good season. Top-10 in points, 10 top-10 finishes, our first race win, a lot of other strong results (Pocono, Barber, Indy, Baltimore, Houston, Detroit, Sao Paulo), and improved qualifying sessions all contributed to a good season. What would have made it great? Probably a win at Fontana to close out the season top-eight in points. There will always be highs and lows during a race season, like coming down with a 24-hour bug the weekend of the Indy 500, then fighting back to finish ninth. Or crashing during practice at Mid-Ohio, then having the entire CGR team come together for a win. But all in all, I have no complaints and I think we were right where we wanted and needed to be in 2013.

Looking forward to the 2014 season, I know it's not going to be any easier than this year. I'm excited about the new engine package. It's going to be great to be a part of the Team Chevy program. We'll have our first test with a Chevy engine on Wednesday, and we've been working since the checkered flag at Fontana to make the most of our time away from the track. We want to be fighting for the championship from the green flag in St. Pete.

I have to thank the whole No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen team for their efforts year-round. It makes my job easier knowing I'm stepping into the best car possible, so I can get out there and race. Getting the win at Mid-Ohio was not only huge for me, but also for the team as it was the first win for a lot of the guys, too. It meant a lot to me to be part of that experience for them. I also have to thank my partners at Novo Nordisk for their support every day, both on and off the track, as well as my friends at Honda Performance Development. Sure, we'll be competitors next season but they've done so much for me over the years and I can't thank them enough.

Lastly, a big thanks to you: the fans! I appreciate your support, and I hope you've had as much watching as I've had racing this year. Onward and upward to 2014!