Briscoe will drive the No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet while defending Indy 500 champion Tony Kanaan - originally signed to the drive for Ganassi's so-called B Team - will move into the Target Chip Ganassi Racing No. 10 vacated by Franchitti.
Ganassi and his right-hand man, Mike Hull, acknowledged receiving inquiries from literally dozens of race drivers interested in taking over the No. 10 car, one of the most coveted rides in the IndyCar Series. Target Chip Ganassi Racing is the 10-time and reigning IndyCar Series Champion team with more than 90 victories, 80 pole positions and four Indy 500 victories. Target and Ganassi Racing will celebrate 25 years of partnership in 2014.
In eight seasons of IndyCar racing, Briscoe has 111 starts, seven wins, 12 poles and 27 podiums. His best finish was third in the 2009 championship.
That last sentence is the rub, though. Briscoe, for just about all of his IndyCar career, has had top quality rides, primarily with Roger Penske, and wasn't ever able to seal the deal. He might be a safe choice for Ganassi to buy a little time to decide who ultimately will partner Dixon and eventually take over as team leader, but meantime he doesn't generate excitement for a series that craves attention.
There are any number of young chargers out there who could do as good a job as Briscoe (who's a perfectly nice guy, by the way; he's a very competent driver but he's already had his chance and he hasn't delivered). Conor Daly is one. Young, talented and an American. Robert Wickens is another. Young, talented and a Canadian (the Globe's Jeff Pappone moved that motion, which was seconded by the Sun's Dean McNulty).
Of course, as I suggested earlier, it's possible that Ganassi is just buying some time. Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star wrote a few days ago that Oakville's James Hinchcliffe could wind up with that team in the years ahead. I have since learned that it might even have happened for 2014 but the timing wasn't right and then, when Andretti Autosport made him a somewhat late offer, Hinchcliffe had no choice but to accept.
Not many seats remain unfilled now. But the choice ones are gone, so we're looking at field fillers.
As of today, there will be 20 cars on the macadam when the season opens in St. Petersburg next March. Of the 20, more than half are being entered by three teams - Andretti (5), Ganassi (4) and Penske (3).
- NORRIS McDONALD