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IndyCar owners take hot seat amid contract years for top drivers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IndyCar drivers got one more day of practice in before this weekend’s qualifying, but while the drivers were on the track, the team owners were in the hot seat about their driver’s contracts.

“Marcus [Ericsson] has a big future in this sport and I want it to be on this team,” said Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing.

While Ericsson works on defending his Indy 500 win, Ganassi fights to keep him on his team. Ericsson is in his final year with Chip Ganassi Racing and said this week he doesn’t want to change teams. Frankly, neither does Ganassi.

“Yeah, I want him to stay,” Ganassi laughed. “I’m working hard to do it. We just need to finalize some sponsorship and away we go. Marcus is valued. All the drivers are valued pieces of the team, and I want them all here today, tomorrow, next week, and next year.”

Ericsson’s contract wasn’t the only hot topic of conversation on this Fast Friday morning. Bobby Rahal had to volley questions about his own son Graham’s future in this car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. As far as Bobby is concerned, he doesn’t want to see Graham leave.

“I’d put Graham up against anybody on race day,” Rahal said. “I don’t think anybody wants to see him go anywhere else. I will tell you that any of these guys, when you’re a driver, you want to go somewhere where you can see the commitment, and as I said, I think our commitment is obvious.”

Commitment tangibly seen in the brand new multimillion dollar facility in Zionsville.

“If anyone ever questions our commitment to motorsport, not just IndyCar, but to motorsport, I think that building would soundly answer that concern,” Rahal said. “We didn’t build that building just to play in racing. We built that building to give us an environment to excel. Our goal is to be one of the best teams out there on a consistent basis.”

As far as this year is concerned, four drivers have a chance to take RLL to victory circle next Sunday.