Chip Ganassi Racing performance director Chris Simm ons finds himself back in a familiar place with the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner. Overlooking Tony Kanaan’s car on pit lane from the No. 1 Honda’s timing stand, Simmons has returned to the saddle as Tony Kanaan’s engineer while Andy Brown, Kanaan’s month of May engineer, battles an illness. Simmons is prepared to engineer Kanaan’s No. 1 Honda for as long as necessary leading up to and through the Indy 500 on May 29, if necessary.
“It’s great to have the depth that we have with someone like Chris Simmons, who was a lead engineer for a long time,” CGR managing director Mike Hull told RACER. “And by him changing roles here with Tony, it’s doesn’t lessen his contributions to the team as performance director; it’s just helping out with Tony on the American Legion car while he continues to do his primary role.”
The combination of Kanaan and Simmons was rather effective after the Brazilian replaced his close friend Dario Franchitti, who retired following the 2013 season. Together, they earned eight finishes inside the top six, six podiums and won the 500-mile season finale at Auto Club Speedway in 2014. Prior to working with Kanaan, Simmons earned multiple IndyCar championships and Indy 500 wins with Franchitti and added more titles afterwards with Scott Dixon.