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CGR HEADS TO THE LONE STAR STATE

Posted: June 05, 2014
RACE SETUP

Race: Firestone 600, June 7
Drivers: @scottdixon9 @tonykanaan @Ryan_Briscoe @RaceWithInsulin
Cars: No. 9 Target, No. 10 Suave For Men, No. 8 NTT DATA, No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolets
Track: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) in Fort Worth, Texas
TV: NBC Sports Network 8:00pm ET
Social: @CGRTeams #TeamTarget #NTTDATARacing #RaceWithInsulin

BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT

Month to Month: After spending most of May in Indiana for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 , TCGR will be spending much of June in Texas. The team will be in Fort Worth this week for the Firestone 600 and then will be racing in a double-header Grand Prix on the Streets of Houston at the end of the month.

Triple Threat: Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) is no stranger to winning at Texas Motor Speedway. Jeff Ward won there in 2002, Scott Dixon won from the pole in 2008 and Dario Franchitti won in 2011.

Not Messing with Texas: From 2002 to 2013, TCGR has finished on the podium at Texas Motor Speedway 10 times and has scored 14 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes.

Swinging Momentum: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) claimed two podiums, three top-five and six top-10 finishes at the Chevy Indy Dual in Detroit last weekend. In the second race of the dual, Scott Dixon gained 18 positions to finish fourth after starting at the very back of the 22-car field. Teammate Tony Kanaan finished ninth in the second race, climbing eight spots from a 17th place starting position.

Reliable Racing: Up to this point in the contact-laden 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season, TCGR has completed 1281 out of a possible 1362 laps, or 94 percent.

Follow the Leader: On May 22, Chip Ganassi was inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame alongside Jimmy McElreath, Leo Mehl, Bobby Rahal and Bill Simpson. There are now 148 members in the elite fraternity, which is located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

Out But Not Down: Former TCGR driver Dario Franchitti received the honor of being named the pace car driver for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500. The four-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner led the field around during the opening laps in a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. After retiring from his racing career at the end of 2013, Franchitti returned to Team Target in 2014 as a driving advisor for CGRT. Franchitti assists the team as it adapts to recent lineup changes and additions, and was on site with the team for the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle earlier this month. He will continue to work closely with the teams’ Verizon IndyCar Series drivers throughout the duration of the season.

Finding New Roads: All four CGRT Indy cars are utilizing the Chevrolet 2.2-liter twin turbocharged V6 engine for 2014 season. The engine produces well over 600 horsepower and close to 300 lb. ft. of torque.

100+ Wins and Counting…: The Target Racing Program, which began with Target and Chip Ganassi Racing in 1990, will be contending for their 104th win as the season progresses. The first win for the program came in 1994 with Michael’s Andretti’s Indy car victory at Surfers Paradise, Australia, when the team was a two-car, Indy car program. 102 wins later, the program’s umbrella not only includes involvement in the Verizon IndyCar Series, but in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The partnership between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the longest consecutive team partnerships in motor racing history.

NTT DATA Home Base: Ryan Briscoe’s primary sponsor, NTT DATA calls Plano, Texas home to its North American headquarters. After sponsoring Briscoe in a fourth car for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) at the 2013 Indianapolis 500, NTT DATA became a full-time partner for the No. 8 Chevrolet in 2014. NTT DATA is the world’s sixth-largest IT services company and is the sole IT services partner for CGRT.

Running Up the Miles: Going into the eighth round of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule at the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, Briscoe has completed 661 of the 681 total completed laps in the first seven races of the season. The 20 laps that he did not complete were due to mechanical issues that caused the team to retreat back to the garage to fix the car at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach before returning to the race to make up six spots.

Fitness Focused: Fitness is an important part of a Verizon IndyCar Series driver’s preparation for each race, and Briscoe takes this aspect of his job very seriously. Briscoe has become a firm believer in the cross-fit culture that has taken over the fitness world. He began his cross-fit regiment in the garage of a friend a few years ago and has stuck with him as his practice has grown. When Briscoe is in the Indianapolis area, he attends PitFit Training for driver-focused fitness workouts and when he is on the road he follows his own cross-fit workout plan.

Wild Ride: Briscoe was signed to CGRT in 2005 as a full-time driver, but after a season-ending incident at Chicagoland Speedway his Indy car racing career took a step back. Since his 2005 debut season he has raced with multiple teams, including a four-season stint with Penske Racing. Throughout his Verizon IndyCar Series career, Briscoe has collected seven wins, 13 pole positions and has led 1,430 laps. The 2014 season is his first full-time season since 2012.

In The Offseason: While he became one of the newest additions to the CGRT family, Briscoe added a new member to his own family in the off season. He and his wife, ESPN broadcaster Nicole Briscoe, welcomed daughter Finley into the world in December.

The First of 2014: Charlie Kimball made his first appearance on the podium in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a third-place finish in the second race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit. This was Kimball’s fourth podium in his four-year career with Chip Ganassi Racing with two second-place finishes in Toronto (2012) and Pocono (2013) and his first career win at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Driver or DIY Handy Man?: Verizon IndyCar Series’ drivers don’t get much free time, but when they do Kimball is all about the do-it-yourself projects. Kimball has completely transformed his urban backyard with landscaping work, new flower beds, and a made-from-scratch patio. Along with his DIY work outside the house, he has also completely restored the original brick inside his house.

The Origin of the No. 83: Charlie Kimball’s car number (83) has a very special meaning to not only him, but also his father, Gordon, and team owner, Chip Ganassi. In 1983 Chip Ganassi had his best finish at the Indianapolis 500 while driving a car that was designed by engineer and car designer, Gordon Kimball.

Keeping It In The Family: The driver of the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet is not the only Kimball with racing in their blood. Kimball developed his passion for racing after watching his father, Gordon, work as a design engineer for racing powerhouses, McLaren and Ferrari. Kimball’s sister, Rachael, has also made a career out of the sport, working with the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.

#TEAMGANASSI

Follow Team Target on Twitter: Continue to follow Target Chip Ganassi Racing through Chip Ganassi Racing’s official team Twitter page. Find in-race updates and weekly news on the teams throughout the 2014 season by following “@CGRTeams”.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Scott Dixon and No. 9 Target Team

Return to the Lone Star State: Dixon has had success at Texas Motor Speedway. He has scored one win (2008), six podiums (2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011-twice) and nine top-10 finishes at the track.

The Ice Man Returns: The three-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion (2003, 2008, 2013) and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner returns in 2014 for his first season alongside 2004 Series Champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 Winner Kanaan. Dixon, the active wins leader, is in seventh place on the all-time list (1909-Present) with 33 victories, ranking only behind A.J. Foyt, the Andretti’s (Mario and Michael) and Unser’s (Al, Bobby and Al Jr.). His next pole (21st) will see him tied for 13th on the all-time list with Gil De Ferran.

The Best Defense Is A Good Offense: Dixon will spend the 2014 season attempting his first successful defense of a Verizon IndyCar Series title. "I think it's obviously a good problem to have," Dixon said. "I've been in this situation a couple of times before… I think we need to focus on making a good start in the first three or four races." His closest effort so far came in 2009 when he finished second to teammate Dario Franchitti by a mere 11 points. If Dixon is successful, he will become the 14th driver to have at least two consecutive series championships.

Title Talk: Should reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Dixon take home the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series title, he would become the fifth driver to win four Indy car titles (AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Dario Franchitti). Dixon won the title in 2003, 2008 and again in 2013.

Moving Forward: With his next victory, Dixon would tie Al Unser Jr. for sixth on the all-time wins list. Dixon won his 33rd race at Houston's Reliant Park in October 2013. A victory in 2014 will extend Dixon’s streak of consecutive seasons with a win to 10; while qualifying in the top spot would mark eight consecutive seasons with a pole. He has led at least one race for 12 consecutive seasons. Dixon has 159 consecutive starts, placing him in sixth on the all-time list and in second place behind teammate Kanaan for active drivers.

Go with What you Know: 2014 marks Dixon’s 13th year with Team Target – the longest tenure for a driver in team history (1990-Present).

Tony Kanaan and No. 10 Suave For Men Team

Racing In Big Sky Country: In 14 starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Kanaan has claimed one win (2004), six podiums (2003, 2004-twice, 2005, 2007, 2013) and 11 top-10 finishes. He has completed 2,788 laps out of a possible 2,791 at the track.

Peculiar Pairing: The pairing of Dixon and Kanaan marks the first time the reigning Indianapolis 500 Winner and the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion will be teammates since 2002, when Team Penske had 2001 Indianapolis 500 Winner Helio Castroneves and 2001 CART Champion Gil de Ferran. The pairing of the two titleholders has only happened five times in Indy car history (1972 – Al Unser, 1971 Indianapolis 500 Winner and Joe Leonard, 1971 USAC Champion for Vel’s Parnelli Racing; 1986 – Danny Sullivan, 1985 Indianapolis 500 Winner and Al Unser, 1985 CART Champion for Team Penske; and in 1989 – Rick Mears, 1988 Indianapolis 500 Winner and Danny Sullivan, 1988 CART Champion for Team Penske.

TK Joins The Team: 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 Winner Kanaan joins TCGR in 2014 for his first season alongside three-time Champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner Dixon. Kanaan has 16 career wins and 15 poles entering the 2014 season, and will seek to add to his record for consecutive Indy car starts, which is at 217. Only three other active drivers (Dixon, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay) possess a streak of more than 100 consecutive starts. Competing in every race will push his career starts total to 295 – which would be good enough for ninth on the all-time list. Kanaan has 112 career top-five finishes and is tied for the title of active leader with Helio Castroneves. He is ranked fifth for the number of victories among active full-time drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Ryan Briscoe and No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet

Remember the Time: Over Briscoe’s 10-year Verizon IndyCar Series career, he has raced at Texas Motor Speedway seven times. In those seven races, he has only finished out of the top 10 once with a 12-place finish in his 2005 rookie year with CGRT. In the remaining six races, Briscoe only finished outside of the podium once with a sixth place finish in the first race of the 2011 doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway. He has had three third-place finishes, one second-place finish, and one win at the oval in 2010. Briscoe also won the pole position at Texas Motor Speedway in 2010.

Going Around in Circles: Of his 13 pole positions, seven of those have been on an oval (Chicagoland 2008, Milwaukee 2009, Chicagoland 2009, Kansas 2010, Texas 2010, Chicagoland 2010, Indianapolis 2012) and of his seven wins, four of those have been on an oval (Milwaukee 2008, Kentucky 2009, Chicagoland 2009, Texas 2010).

Race Rewind – Belle Isle: Race 1 – Briscoe qualified in a season-best position of fifth for the first leg of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit. In an early incident, the field went yellow on lap six of 70 and the No. 8 was sixth on the restart on lap 10. The field went full-course yellow again on lap 16 and the NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing crew performed their first pit stop of the day under yellow on lap 17. On the restart on lap 21, Briscoe was in the 11th position and by lap 36 was running in fourth. The No. 8 made its second stop of the day under yellow on lap 37 and would be 13th on the restart on lap 45. Briscoe had moved up to the lead position by lap 52 and in a strategy that looked to increase the gap between him and the rest of the field, the No. 8 waited to pit. Before Briscoe could get into pit, the field went yellow on lap 56 and would not go green again until lap 59. The No. 8 still needed to make one more pit stop to finish the race and by doing so on lap 62, Briscoe fell to the 15th position where he would cross the finish line.

Race 2 – In an identical qualifying attempt, Briscoe started the second leg of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit in the fifth position. The field saw an early yellow on lap one of 70 and Briscoe would be fourth on the restart on lap five. Another full-course yellow on lap 11 allowed the No. 8 to pit for the first time for fuel and tires. The field went green again on lap 15 and Briscoe started in the 16th position on the restart. By lap 29, Briscoe had moved up to third position and would pit for the second time of the day on lap 30. Running right behind teammate Charlie Kimball, the No. 8 moved its way back up the fifth after the second pit stop of the day. On lap 50, the No. 8 team pitted for the last time and reentered the field in the ninth position. After a late full-course yellow, Briscoe restarted in the 10th position on lap 65 where he would receive the checkered flag five laps later.

Briscoe on Texas Motor Speedway: “NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing has had some really hard-fought races these last couple of weeks with the 500 and both races at Belle Isle, but we haven’t quite seen the results we’re looking for yet. I love racing here at Texas Motor Speedway and I’m just really excited to see what we can do as team at this race. I’ve had good luck at this track with a win in 2010 and a couple of podiums over the years, so I have full confidence that with this team and the No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet we can make big things happen this weekend.”

Charlie Kimball and No. 83 Novo Nordisk Team

Last Time At Texas Motor Speedway: The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team showed strength early in the weekend when Kimball qualified eighth and marked the highest oval qualifying effort of his Verizon IndyCar Series career. Rolling off the grid from the outside of row four, Kimball advanced to seventh within the first of 228 laps before a caution was displayed on lap five. During the nine-lap caution period, he would report that the No. 83 felt good with the exception of slight understeer in turns three and four. Following the restart, the No. 83 passed the No. 67 on lap 15 to nab the sixth spot. The car seemed to go off a little from there as the majority of the field slid back due to lack of grip and loss of down force over the long runs on the 1.5-mile oval. On lap 48, the team took to pit road from 12th position to make adjustments accordingly, taking tires, fuel and a turn of front wing. Shortly after on lap 54, a caution was displayed that caused several cars in the field (that made pit stops previous to the yellow) to fall a lap down, including the No. 83 in 16th. On the restart, Kimball passed the race-leading No. 1 car to regain his spot on the lead lap and produced his fastest lap of the night. The NovoLog FlexPen car remained on the lead lap until lap 98 where several cars came to pit lane. Through the remainder of the race, the team worked on down force and tire strategy while running through the lapped cars. With 29 laps remaining, Kimball came in for his final pit stop of the night from 15th and exited the pits 18th before a pass on the No. 7 took him to 17th three laps later. The team held 17th for the remaining laps until eventually crossing the finish line.

Left Turn Only: Throughout Kimball’s four season Verizon IndyCar Series career, he has qualified in the top 10 five times (Texas 2011, New Hampshire 2011, Kentucky 2011, Texas 2013, Fontana 2013) and he has finished in the top 10 six times (New Hampshire 2011, Indianapolis 2012, Fontana 2012, Indianapolis 2013, Pocono 2013, Fontana 2013) on ovals. While his first podium came on a street course in the streets of Toronto, Kimball’s second podium of his career came on an oval at Pocono Raceway in 2013.

Race Rewind – Belle Isle: Race 1 – Kimball started the first leg of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit in the 20th position on the outside of the 10th row. On lap six of 70, the field saw an early full-course yellow and the NNCGR crew brought in the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet for the first stop of the day under yellow. When the field went green on lap 10, Kimball restarted in the 20th position once again. By lap 15, the No. 83 had moved up two positions to 18th. The field went to a full-course yellow again on lap 18 and after a pit cycle under the yellow, Kimball was sixth on the restart on lap 21. On lap 32, Kimball entered the pits in third to make his second stop of the day for fuel and tires and exited back out into the field in the 12th position. The No. 83 worked its way back up to eighth on the restart on lap 45 from a yellow that occurred on lap 37. Kimball pitted for the last time on lap 48 for fuel and tires and was in the 12th position after a full-course yellow that went green again on lap 60. The No. 83 moved up to ninth position by lap 64 and would see the checkered flag in the same position.

Race 2 - The No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet qualified once again in the 20th position for the second leg of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit. The field saw an early full-course yellow on lap one of 70 that involved three cars in Turn four. Kimball was able to avoid contact by driving into the run-off area of the track and using reverse to get back on track. NNCGR used the full-course yellow to complete their first pit stop for fuel and tires on lap three and the No. 83 was in the 19th position on the restart. By lap 28, Kimball had worked his way up to the fourth position and would pit for the second stop of the day on lap 29. At the halfway mark of the race, Kimball was in the 10th position and by lap 48 was up to the fourth once again. The NNCGR crew would pit for the final time on lap 50 and would reenter the field once again in fourth. With 12 laps to go, the field saw another full-course yellow and Kimball was fourth on the restart. As the field went green again on lap 63, Kimball passed teammate Scott Dixon to get into the third position where he would cross the finish line for his first podium of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Kimball, On The Firestone 600: "I'm looking forward to heading back to Texas Motor Speedway. Last year we had a great qualifying run, and the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen was really quick during the race. Unfortunately we were just caught up by the cautions and timing, so we didn't get the result we wanted. This year with the added race mileage, it will be interesting to see how the Verizon IndyCar Series teams adjust strategy-wise. Coming from a strong finish in Detroit, the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team will be working hard to continue to carry that momentum onto the high-banking, wide track this weekend."