CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Target will leave IndyCar at the end of this season after 27 years with Chip Ganassi Racing that included 11 championships and four Indianapolis 500 victories.The exit comes as Target is examining all of its marketing platforms under new chairman Brian Cornell. Target is also the primary sponsor of Kyle Larson in NASCARs top Sprint Cup Series and will return to his car in 2017.Targets relationship with Ganassi is one of the longest in any racing series, and the retail giant was a key player in helping Ganassi build his organization. Target not only sponsored Ganassis first car as a team owner, it eventually became a partner as the Ganassi team grew to one of the top two players in open wheel racing.In discussing the decision to leave IndyCar, senior vice president Scott Nygaard rattled off a list of highlights from Targets run: Jimmy Vasser winning Ganassis first championship, Alex Zanardi adding another two, Juan Pablo Montoya winning Ganassis first Indianapolis 500 and domination over the last decade by Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.It was a really difficult decision that we made -- weve been with Chip Ganassi Racing for 27 years and we are ridiculously proud of the success, Nygaard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. 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.About the NASCAR sponsorship, Nygaard said only that Target is excited for the 2017 season with Larson. Targets contract with Ganassi runs through next year.Chip Ganassi raved about his partnership with Target while noting he understood the company made a business decision after nearly three full decades together in IndyCar.Its the greatest sponsor in racing, ever, Ganassi said. Theyve been nothing but good to me. They developed me personally and professionally. Ive developed lifelong friends and relationships. I understand things change and people have different marketing efforts, and the way they want to stamp their name on things.But its one of the longest running sponsors in racing and they delivered for me and the team, and the team delivered for them.Target walks away from an enormous investment it made in IndyCar and aligning itself with Ganassi drivers as its brand ambassadors. That includes Dixon, who has been sponsored by Target for 15 years and is one of the greatest open wheel drivers in history. Ganassi said Dixon is not a tough sell at all to sponsors, and he expected to announce a replacement on the Target car within the next two months.Dixon is a four-time IndyCar champion and his 39 career victories include the 2008 Indianapolis 500.I cant thank Target enough for their partnership on and off the track over the years, Dixon said. They have been with the IndyCar team for an amazing 27 years, which is unheard of in professional sports, and on the car Ive driven for the past 15 seasons. I have nothing but great memories and much thanks for Target being great partners for so long.Nygaard praised Dixon as a longtime Target ambassador.He is a true class act, a gentleman on and off the track, Nygaard said of the New Zealand driver. Hes always stood tall for the values of Target and the Target brand. 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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis coined the phrase Just win, baby.Kevin Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing team have made it their credo.For the third time in as many years since NASCAR introduced an elimination format for its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Harvick won a race when he absolutely needed to. On the heels of a morale-crushing 38th-place finish one week ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Harvick drove his No. 4 Chevrolet to victory in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, clinching a spot in the Chases round of eight that starts Oct. 30.Along with Jimmie Johnson, who also is confirmed to advance thanks to winning at Charlotte, Harvick wont have to worry about what happens next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, where the Chase field will be cut from 12 to eight.In some ways, Harvick shares a kinship with the Raiders. Hes brash, often outspoken, and sometimes thought of as one of the bad boys of the Cup Series.But my, oh my, can he back up the swagger. No one comes through in the clutch more consistently than the Bakersfield, California, native and his team led by crew chief Rodney Childers.This wasnt a dominant performance reminiscent of elimination races that Harvick won at Phoenix in 2014 or Dover in 2015. Instead, it was a workmanlike performance that saw the Outback Chevy out front when it needed to be.He seized the lead on a restart with 30 laps to go and pulled away from the field, winning by 1.183 seconds over Carl Edwards in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.I dont know how, but when theyre in a must-win situation, they seem to find a little more speed, observed third-place finisher Joey Logano. Its interesting that they always seem to have a little extra left in the tank.I think as drivers, we all need to get together and block in an elimination race or just pull for something because hes tough to beat in those final races, added Austin Dillon, who finished sixth. Theres no doubt about it, he steps up when the pressure is there.Harvick led three times Sunday for a total of 74 laps, but he didnt feel he had the best car. That looked to be Matt Kenseth, who led most of the first half of the 267-lap contest before fading to ninth with handling issues.That left the challenge to his Gibbs teammates, Edwards and eventual fifth-place finisher Kyle Busch. But on the final restart, Johnson (who finished fourth) pushed Harvick into a lead he would not relinquish, much to the disappointment of hometown hero Edwards.Kevin and Jimmie lined up on the bottom and they just got far enough ahead, Edwards said. I felt we had fastest car at the end and thats what makes it frustrating, because you should win when you have the fastest car, you should win, especially when you start on front row.After seeing several victories slip out of his grasp over the past three years when he demonstrably had the best car, Harvick was delighted to get a win on a day when the No. 4 car wasnt carrying peak speed.?Its good to probably feel you didnt have the fastest car and win the race, he saaid.dddddddddddd I think a lot of times we felt like we had the fastest car and didnt win the race, so its good to get a few of those back.Weve won two races in the Chase, and I feel like we won both of them on restarts and thats something weve worked on for probably a year now, Harvick continued. When we get behind on something, we dive right in on that and try to make it better.Its that kind of can-do attitude that has generally elevated Harvick and the No. 4 team over the rest of the Cup series field for the past three years. Under Childers leadership, theres no closer-knit team in the garage area.We could say that we need to go jump off a cliff in the morning and everybody would be there at sunrise and say, All right, where do we jump? Harvick said. Thats the kind of group this is. Everybody has got each others back and nobody takes offense if somebody tells them they need to do something better.Its just a unique bunch of people, and youre only as good as the people around you. Thats true in every business, and its no different in this garage.Between them, Harvick and Childers have fostered a winning attitude among the No. 4 group. Points racing just isnt in their lexicon.Just win, baby.I had no idea where we were in the points [after the 38th-place finish at Charlotte] or how many we were behind, Harvick said. The only thing we talked about was trying to figure out how to win this race, and if we didnt win this race, what we needed to do at Talladega.For us, its always about reaching for something to motivate us, he continued. If its having to win a race, or going to a racetrack you havent won at, or rebounding from a bad week, weve been fortunate to be on the good side of this deal for three years now. We know we can perform, and we know we can perform in good and bad situations.With Harvick and Johnson locked into advancing, the focus now turns to which other six drivers will join them when the round of eight starts at Martinsville Speedway.Kenseth is the points leader among nonqualified drivers, closely followed by his JGR teammates Busch and Edwards.Meanwhile, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski, who both encountered problems at Kansas, are bringing up the rear. Logano is currently the bubble driver, holding a 25-point cushion over 12th-placed Elliott.But even facing long odds, any of the four drivers currently on the outside (Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Keselowski and Elliott) could advance with a victory at Talladega.Thats one thing thats exciting about this chase format -- you never know when your number is going to get pulled, Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas said. I think we were pretty nervous going into Talladega next week. When you get behind a little bit, all of a sudden youre down to win or go home.?Obviously were glad we dont have that excitement for Talladega and now we can focus on getting Kurt Busch into the next round.As Al Davis would say, Just win, baby. Wholesale NFL Womens JerseysChina Womens NFL JerseysNike NFL Jerseys ChinaCheap NFL Jerseys OutletCheap NFL Jerseys WholesaleWholesale NFL White JerseysDiscount Jerseys ' ' '