TEAM TARGET OFF TO LONG BEACH
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Advance Notes
Race: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 21
Drivers: @scottdixon9 @dariofranchitti
Cars: No. 9 Target and No. 10 Target Hondas
Track: Streets of Long Beach, Calif. (1.968-mile street circuit)
TV: NBC Sports Network (4pm ET)
Social: @TCGRTeams #TeamTarget
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT
Ryan Briscoe Joins Chip Ganassi Racing for 97th Indianapolis 500: Four-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 Winners Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) announced last week an agreement with former Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ryan Briscoe to pilot a fourth Honda entry with sponsorship from NTT DATA, a leading global IT services provider, for the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) on May 26 (11AM, ABC). Briscoe will return to CGRT in the No. 8 NTT DATA Honda alongside three-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 Winner Dario Franchitti (No. 10 Target Honda), 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Honda) and Charlie Kimball (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda) who is coming off a solid weekend in Round 2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series at Barber Motorsports Park. With the addition of Briscoe to the lineup, CGRT will be fielding entries for both the defending Indianapolis 500 polesitter and racewinner when the track opens Saturday, May 11.
Dario Makes His 250th Indy car Start in Long Beach: “It’s been a long time but it’s not just about being here, it’s being here and trying to be competitive. If I continue to be competitive I’ll be happy. The drive to continue is one thing, but it’s also being realistic about being competitive. Right now, we’re still able to do that. It’s amazing to think of all those years doing this and the races I’ve got to win, people I’ve gotten to work with, the teammates I’ve had, the teams I’ve gotten to drive with, the friends I’ve made. This has been my life for a long time and I hope it continues for a long time because it was my dream to do this and I’m still here. It’s a competitive environment and you’re always gunning to try to be on top, and if you’re not on top you want to be. That’s what makes this sport so great, I think.”
Bo Knows INDYCAR: 1985 Heisman Trophy winner and legendary professional two-sport athlete Bo Jackson joked that an Indy car has been on his Christmas list, but he had to attend the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama two weeks ago because it’s yet to be under the Christmas tree. Jackson, a Birmingham native, was the grand marshal of the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park, and spent time with team Target driver Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon prior to giving the command to start engines. On his ride in the Indy car two-seater later that day, Jackson said, “The last time I tried to get into one (for a Nike commercial), they had to grease me up to get in.” Bo is also working on some personal business ventures, including a bank…he jokingly told Dario and Scott he’d hook them up with some low interest rates because he knew they had good credit.
Season To Date: Dixon is one of just four drivers to finish in the top 10 in the first two IZOD Indy Car Series races (Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti and Justin Wilson).
Milestone for Dixon: The New Zealander finished fourth for the fourth consecutive year at Barber Motorsports Park in Round 2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series. The podium finish of second marked the 100th top-five finish in his Indy car career that spans 203 starts.
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Unite: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and Novo Nordisk are supporting Indy car driver Charlie Kimball in their ‘Race With Insulin Unites’ campaign again in Long Beach to promote diabetes awareness. This weekend all Chip Ganassi Racing Indy cars will race with blue wheels to simulate the blue circle that is the global symbol for the International Diabetes Federation.
Dixon Representing for Honda: In both the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park, Dixon was the highest-finishing Honda-powered driver. The Kiwi finished fifth in Round 1 and second in Round 2.
99 Wins and Counting…: The Target Racing Program, which began with Target and Chip Ganassi Racing in 1990, is just one win shy of the 100-win plateau. 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 merely a two-car open wheel program. Ninety-eight wins later, the program’s umbrella not only includes involvement in the IZOD IndyCar Series, but in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. The partnership between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the longest consecutive team partnerships in motor racing history.
Follow Team Target on Twitter: Continue to follow Target Chip Ganassi Racing on their official team Twitter page. Find in-race updates and weekly news on the No.9 and No.10 teams throughout the 2013 season by following “@TCGRTeams”.
CGRT Mobile App: Download the Chip Ganassi Racing Teams mobile app for the latest driver news, event information, social media updates and exclusive content. Head to the iTunes store and check it out: http://bit.ly/YGJQxf.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Scott Dixon on the addition of a fourth Chip Ganassi Racing entry for Ryan Briscoe for the Indianapolis 500: “Excited for @Ryan_Briscoe for the 500! Looking forward to teaming up again. Congrats! @TCGRTeams”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR BARBER
Scott Dixon and No. 9 Target Team
In the Off-Weekend: The driver of the No. 9 Target Honda spent the off week…cleaning his garage. His plan is to have the floors epoxied in the coming weeks when the weather breaks in Indianapolis. After the garage, he spent time cleaning out his bedroom and closet so he and wife Emma could put new carpet in. Between his housing duties he trained hard at the gym and watched the Formula 1 coverage from China on NBC Sports Network.
Last Time at Long Beach: Grid penalties moved Dixon up from his qualifying position of 12th to start fifth. By the end of lap one he worked his way up to fourth, and ran the opening 19 laps in the top-five. The No. 9 Target Honda made its first pit-stop of the day on lap 20 when a full-course caution waved. Dixon returned to the course and worked his way through traffic, before his day ended early as his car stalled coming to a restart on lap 29. He and the car would remain behind the turn eight wall for the remainder of the event after INDYCAR did not elect to tow the car back to pit lane.
Race Rewind: After making his first appearance of the season in the Firestone Fast 6 qualifying round at Barber Motorsports Park, Dixon managed to stay in the top 10 in the opening laps after the No. 12 car forced him to check up to avoid an accident. The No. 9 Target team made three stops throughout the day and charged up to second place in the final stint. Dixon dueled with the eventual race-winning No. 1 car, but took home second place, which marked the team’s first podium result of the 2013 season.
The Ice Man Returns: The two-time IZOD IndyCar Series Champion (2003, 2008) and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner returns in 2013 for his fifth season alongside four-time Champion (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner (2007, 2010, 2012) Franchitti. Dixon is tied with Rick Mears for 10th place on the all-time Indy car wins list (1909-Present) with 29 victories and is tied with Bobby Rahal and Rex Mays for 16th on the all-time poles list with 18.
Go with What you Know: 2013 marks Dixon’s 12th year with Team Target – the longest tenure for any driver in team history (1990-Present).
Dario Franchitti and No. 10 Target Team
In the Off-Weekend: The last time an Indy car turned a lap in competition at Pocono Raceway was Aug. 20, 1989. Franchitti recently got the opportunity to test on the “Tricky Triangle” as Firestone Racing continued its due diligence with a day of tire evaluation in advance of the July 7 IZOD IndyCar Series race. Firestone engineers used the Indianapolis 500 tire specification as a baseline and then tested a number of compounds and construction alternatives. Driver feedback, race team engineer input and tire performance data collected from the test was evaluated to determine the best tire specification to develop for the race weekend. Franchitti was the only driver at the test with perspective of the tri-oval, having competed on the track in a stock car in 2008. “I think it will be a very fun place to drive an Indy car,” Franchitti said. “They resurfaced it and put catch fending up (since he raced there) and I think it will be an amazing race for our cars.”
Last Time at Long Beach: Due to 10-spot grid penalties for much of the field, the No. 10 Target Honda started from the pole. Franchitti held the point at the start and led until a lap-five restart. He completed the first 30 laps of the race in the top-five, until contact with Ryan Briscoe on lap 30 forced him to pit-road for repairs on lap 34. After replacing the front wing, Franchitti returned to the track in 16th. The remainder of the race went caution-free, making gaining ground difficult. A mechanical issue on the last lap would prevent the team from crossing the finish line. The Target team was credited with 15th.
Race Rewind: Franchitti and the No. 10 team weren’t very fortunate at Barber Motorsports Park , starting 17th and finishing 25th after a header problem just before the half-way point caused electrical issues, which eventually took out the clutch and ended their day. The team made up ground in the opening laps going from 17th to 12th in the opening stint, and pit early to go off strategy on Lap 19. Lap 43 would be the last lap turned for the No. 10 team as they went back to the Target garage for repairs.
Dario Returns: Four-time IZOD IndyCar Series Champion (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner, Franchitti, returns to TCGR in 2013 for his fifth season alongside two-time Champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner, Dixon. Franchitti is tied for seventh on the all-time wins list with 31 and holds sole possession of eighth on the all-time poles list with 29.
Rarified Air: Dario is one of only five drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 and the series title in the same season more than once. By winning the 2012 Indianapolis 500, he became just the 10th driver in history to win the race three times.