Jimmy Vasser is one of the most recognized names in all of open wheel racing.
The 1996 CART Indy Car World Series champion joined KV Racing Technology in the dual roles of owner and driver in 2004. Vasser’s success on the track and in the business world brings a strong element of experience and knowledge to the team.
Vasser, who drove Champ Cars for 14 seasons plus one race in 2006 and 2008 (both at Long Beach) owns some of the finest credentials in U.S. open-wheel racing history. He began his racing career in quarter midgets and was the 1986 SCCA National Formula Ford champion. Vasser started his Indy car career in 1992 with Jim Hayhoe Racing and was the fastest Indy 500 rookie qualifier. He scored his first podium finish in 1993 with a third at Phoenix.
Vasser’s prime years were spent away from the Indy 500 due to the CART-IRL split but he did win three 500-mile races in his career including the inaugural U.S. 500 at Michigan in 1996. Driving for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Vasser scored the team’s first CART series championship in 1996 with four victories including a win at Long Beach. His title was the first for Honda in Indy car competition.
In addition to his championship in 1996, the native of California was runner-up in 1998 and placed third in the standings in 1997. Vasser, who made his last start in the Champ Car World Series’ final event at Long Beach on April 20, 2008 (finishing 10th), stands among the leaders in most of the career statistical records including wins, 10, podium finishes, 33, poles, nine, laps led, 988, and earnings $12,093,244. He started 238 races (233 CART/Champ Car and five IndyCar – 11th on the all-time) and holds the record for consecutive starts with 211. A determined and consistent competitor, Vasser was running at the end of 149 of his last 194 starts (dating to Milwaukee in 1995) and finished in the top-10 in 136 of his 238 starts. He was a perennial championship contender having placed in the top-10 in the championship standings in nine of his last 11 full seasons (concluding with the 2005 season).
Driving for such legendary owners as Chip Ganassi, Pat Patrick and Bobby Rahal, Vasser’s victories were scored on some of the most famous tracks, Long Beach, Laguna Seca, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Michigan and California. In addition, Vasser won, with a dramatic last-lap pass of Michael Andretti, and still holds the fastest 500-mile race in U.S. history with an average speed of 197.995 miles per hour at California Speedway in 2002.
Vasser, who continues to drive competitively in sports cars, is deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of the team. He is also a valuable asset in Verizon IndyCar Series team owners meetings providing his insight from both a driver and owner perspective. Off the track, he is the owner of Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet, Jimmy Vasser Toyota and V12 Vineyards in Napa, California and various real estate properties in North America.