FRANCHITTI, DIXON SET SIGHTS ON MOTEGI
Race: Indy Japan 300 on Saturday, September 17 (11:30 PM ET, VERSUS)
Track: Twin Ring Motegi (2.98-mile Road Course)
Location: Motegi, Japan
Follow TCGR on Twitter: Follow @TCGRTeams for official updates from Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Managing Director Mike Hull on Motegi: “Seventeen thousand pounds of freight, plus two primary and two spare Dallaras, and 30 team members are traveling to Motegi, Japan to support the No. 9 and 10 Target IndyCar entries for Dario and Scott. For the first time, the world-class natural terrain road course at Honda’s race facility will be used. We’re looking forward to showcasing IndyCar racing’s innovation and technology on a global platform. We will race there on Saturday night, so stay up late and find us on your computers combined with the great Versus coverage.”
Team Target at Motegi: Coming into this weekend’s Indy Japan 300, TCGR has made 27 previous starts at Motegi (all on the 1.5-mile oval). In those races, the team has two wins (Bruno Junqueira-2002, Scott Dixon-2009), seven podiums, 11 top-fives and 16 top-10s. In addition, TCGR has five poles with four different drivers (Dixon-two poles, Jimmy Vasser-one, Juan Montoya-one and Junqueira-one). Team Target’s average start is 6.0 and their average finish is 9.5 in Japan. They have also completed 86.4% of the laps run (4,674 of 5,410) and led 790 of them (14.6%).
Loving Japan: In their last 15 starts at Motegi, Team Target has finished inside the top-10 13 times. This includes one win (Dixon-2009), six podiums and 10 top-fives. They have also completed 2,795 of 3,300 laps (93.2%) and have been running at the finish in 14 of the 15 races. Team Target’s average finish over these races is 5.7.
Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team
Follow Scott on Twitter: Follow @scottdixon9 for all the happenings and inside information on the driver of the No. 9 Indy car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Welcome to the World: On Saturday, September 10th, Dixon and his wife Emma Davies-Dixon welcomed their second baby girl, Tilly Davies-Dixon into the world at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind. Both mother and baby are doing well.
Dixon in Japan: Dixon has made 10 previous starts on the oval at Twin Ring Motegi. In those starts he has scored one win (2009), two podiums, four top-fives and eight top-10s. He has also sat on the pole twice (2003, 2009) and had a top-10 starting position in six of 10 starts. Over his Motegi career, Dixon has completed 1,772 out of 2,002 laps (88.5%) and led 293 of them (14.6%). He has been running at the finish of eight of his starts and has not finished off of the lead lap since 2006.
18-Race Season: The last time the IZOD IndyCar Series season was made up of 18 rounds was 2008, when Dixon won the Series Championship. During his 2008 campaign, he scored seven poles, six wins, 12 podiums and 14 top-10s on his way to winning his second career IndyCar Championship (2003). The current 2011 season also has 18 races and Dixon will be looking to close the gap and make a run at his third series title.
Top-10 Machine: The 2011 season is Dixon’s 10th with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. In those 10 seasons, he has had 10 or more top-10s in nine of them (2002-2004, 2006-2011). Dixon has a total of 118 top-10s with TCGR and racked up a career-high 16 in 2007.
No Stranger: Dixon is one of four drivers entered in this weekend’s Indy Japan 300 to have won a race on the oval at Twin Ring Motegi (Helio Castroneves, Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan). He is also one of two drivers in the race to have scored a pole at the track in Japan (Castroneves).
Do the Math: Coming into the 16th round of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season, Dixon is one of only four drivers who are still mathematically eligible to win the Series Championship. He will be racing Franchitti, Will Power and Oriol Servia to stay in contention for the title with only two races following Motegi.
Looking Back at Baltimore: Dixon started the race from 10th and ran inside the top-10 throughout the first stint of the race. After the first round of green flag pit stops, Dixon maintained his top-10 position until contact on lap 38 forced the team to return to pit road with two flat rear tires. Following the final round of green flag stops, Dixon and team found themselves fifth, challenging teammate Franchitti for position. Dixon was able to maintain his top-five position and brought the No.9 Target Honda home fifth.
In the Points: After his fifth-place finish at Baltimore, Dixon remained third in the overall IndyCar point standings with 430 points. He is now 77 points behind leader Franchitti and 72 points behind second-place Power. He currently leads the AJ Foyt Oval Trophy standings by 17 points over Franchitti with two events remaining and is third in the Mario Andretti Road Trophy standings, 108 points back of Power with only Motegi left.
Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team
Follow Dario on Twitter: Follow @dariofranchitti for all the happenings and inside information on the driver of the No. 10 Indy car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Repeat That: For the second time in his career, Franchitti held the points lead following the 14th round of the IZOD IndyCar season. The only other time that he was the Championship leader after 14 races was back in 2007, when he went on to win his first career IndyCar Title.
Over the Hill: This weekend’s race at Motegi will be Franchitti’s 50th with TCGR. In his previous 49 starts with the team, he has 12 wins, 27 podiums, and 43 top-10s. His teammate Dixon is the all time leader in TCGR starts with 161. In Dixon’s first 50 starts for TCGR, he posted three wins, 10 podiums, 33 top-10s and five poles.
Stepping to the Podium: Franchitti is the active leader in number of podium finishes in the IZOD IndyCar series with 83. That total is good enough to put him seventh on the all-time list. He is also the leader among active drivers with 103 top-five finishes, which ranks him 10th all-time.
Running Out Front: After the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, Franchitti has pushed his laps led total to 741 for the 2011 season. His 741 laps led is already the highest single-season total during his IndyCar career. Power is currently second in laps led this season with 469.
Change of Scenery: With Franchitti’s wins at Texas Motor Speedway and St. Petersburg earlier this season, he increased his number of different tracks with a win to 23. He is now only three new tracks away from tying Mario Andretti with 26, but can still tie him as he has never won on any of the three remaining tracks on the 2011 schedule.
Catching Senna: The film “Senna” is a documentary highlighting the life and career of former Formula One Champion Ayrton Senna. Throughout Senna’s illustrious career, he ran engines provided by Honda, based in Japan, with two separate teams and totaled 37 wins from 1987-1993. TCGR driver Franchitti has also been running Honda engines during his time in the IZOD IndyCar Series and has now scored 30 wins for the engine manufacturer. Franchitti could catch and pass Senna’s total as soon as next season.
Baltimore Recap: Franchitti started fourth and wasted little time moving the No. 10 Kellogg’s Honda inside the top-three. He maintained a quick pace throughout the middle portion of the race, not letting the front two get out of his sight. After the final round of green flag stops with less than 20-laps remaining, Franchitti found himself having to fend off challenges from Dixon for fifth. In the end, Franchitti brought the No.10 home in fourth.
In the Points: Franchitti’s fourth-place result in Baltimore kept him in the points lead, but only five points ahead of second-place Power with three events remaining. He comes into Motegi, the final race in the Mario Andretti Road Course Championship 14 points behind Power. He is also 17 points behind Dixon in the AJ Foyt Oval Trophy Standings with two races remaining.