TEAM TARGET GEARS UP FOR KENTUCKY
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Kentucky Advance Notes
Race: Kentucky Indy 300 on Sunday, October 2 (2:00 PM ET, VERSUS)
Track: Kentucky Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Location: Sparta, Kentucky
Follow TCGR on Twitter: Follow @TCGRTeams for official updates from Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Managing Director Mike Hull on Kentucky: “It’s fitting that to win the IndyCar Championship the fight goes to a ‘race-drivers’ oval, the Kentucky Speedway. Both of our Target drivers have proven they’re capable at Kentucky when the team maximizes the set-up for longer runs. It’s a tough place to get right for long-race runs, because the grip level continues to change as the race goes on. Getting your car ready for the last segment of the race is difficult, but will be fun to watch. Be sure to join us on Sunday afternoon.”
Team Target at Kentucky: In 18 starts at Kentucky Speedway, Team Target has claimed one win (Dixon-2008), two poles (Dixon-2008, 2009), seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. They have run 3,257 out of 3,600 possible laps (90.5%), leading 339 laps along the way (9.41%). In TCGR’s races at Kentucky, their average starting position has been 6.8, and their average finishing position is 8.5. Team Target has been running at the finish in 16 races and has not had a DNF since 2007.
GRAND-AM Championship: TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates won their fifth Daytona Prototype Team Championship at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on September 17th. Drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas totaled five wins during the 2011 season and gave Team Owner Chip Ganassi his fifth GRAND-AM Series Championship, and his 13th overall since 1996 (IndyCar - eight).
Love Turning Left: Of Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s 86 total wins in Indy car racing, 44 have come on ovals (51%). The oval track that TCGR has the most victories at is Homestead-Miami Speedway, where they have racked up seven wins with four different drivers (Dixon - three, Dan Wheldon - two, Franchitti - one, and Jimmy Vasser - one).
Mile and a Half Magic: Target Chip Ganassi Racing has accumulated 19 wins (Chicagoland: 2006, 2010; Homestead: 1996, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; Kansas: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; Kentucky: 2008; Motegi: 2002, 2009; Texas: 2002, 2008, 2011), 15 poles and 36 podiums at 1.5-mile tracks (Chicagoland, Homestead, Kansas, Kentucky, Motegi, Texas) since 1996.
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.
History at Kentucky: Dixon will be making his ninth career start at Kentucky Speedway this weekend. In his previous eight races in Sparta, he has one victory (2008), four podiums, four top-fives, six top-10s and two poles (2008, 2009). He has completed 1,427 of 1,600 scheduled laps (89.2%), leading 273 of them (17.1%). Dixon’s average starting position is 3.8, while his average finishing position is 7.1. He has been running at the finish in seven of his eight starts, and has only finished off of the lead lap once (2005).
Building Momentum: Since he scored his first win in Round 12 of the 2011 season at Mid-Ohio, Dixon has not finished outside of the top-five. Following his win in Lexington, he has finished third at New Hampshire, fifth at Infineon, fifth at Baltimore and went back to victory lane at Motegi. His current five-race streak of top-five finishes is his longest of the season and the most in a row since rounds three through seven of 2010. Since Round 12, Dixon’s average start and finish are 4.6 and 3.0 respectively. Prior to this recent streak, his average starting position was 6.8, and his average finishing position was 8.4.
Race Weekend Sweeps: Following last weekend’s win from the pole at Motegi, Dixon has totaled seven weekend sweeps throughout his Indy car career (starting from pole, leading most laps and winning the race). His previous sweeps came at Richmond (2003), Nashville (2007), Indianapolis (2008), Kentucky (2008), Motegi (2009) and Mid-Ohio (2011). The only other year that Dixon had multiple weekend sweeps in a single season was when he won the IndyCar Championship in 2008.
Motegi Recap: Dixon started from pole and ran at the front of the field for the opening 21 laps of the race. After extending his lead over second place to just more than two seconds, he brought the No. 9 in for its first green flag pit stop. When he returned to the track, he was able to maintain his lead over the rest of the field. He secured the bonus points for leading the most laps and then stretched out to a more than four-second lead. On lap 44, Dixon came back to the attention of the pit crew for four tires and fuel during his final scheduled stop of the race. Following the full cycle of green flag stops, Dixon held onto the lead, survived a late-race restart and took the checkered flag ahead of his challengers.
In the Points: With his win at Motegi, Dixon remains third in the championship standings with 483 points, 59 points out of the top spot behind Franchitti (531 points) and leader Will Power (542 points). Dixon currently holds a 17-point lead over Franchitti for the A.J. Foyt Oval Trophy, which will be awarded following the race at Kentucky Speedway.
Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Downy 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.
Championship Contender: In each of Franchitti’s three championship seasons (2007, 2009, 2010), he has been second in the overall point standings with two races remaining. This season, he trails the leader by 11, but the largest deficit he has overcome to win the championship is 25 points in 2009. In 2007, he was only four points back and in 2010 he was 17 behind with two to go.
Franchitti at Kentucky: Franchitti has made six career starts at Kentucky. In those six starts in the “Bluegrass State”, Franchitti has one top-five, five top-10s and has started inside the top-10 five times. He also has completed 1,169 of 1,200 laps (97.4%) and has led 52 of them (4.3%). His average starting and finishing positions are 5.8 and 8.6 respectively, with a best start of second (twice-2007, 2009) and a best finish of fifth (2010).
Bouncing Back: Including his eighth-place finish at Motegi, Franchitti has four finishes outside of the top-five this season (Indianapolis-12th, Texas 2-seventh, and Loudon-20th). In his three starts following those three previous races, he has notched two wins (Texas 1, Milwaukee), three top-fives and three top-10s. He has completed all 414 laps of those races and has led 271 of them (65.5%).
On the Lead Lap: Franchitti has finished on the lead lap in 15 of the 16 races so far this season. With one more lead lap finish, he will tie his personal record for most in a season (2010), but if he is able to complete every lap in the final two races of the season, he will set a new career-high for most in a single year with 17.
Motegi Recap: Franchitti started the day from ninth, but quickly moved up to sixth by the end of lap one. As the race wore on, he made another move to put himself into the top-five. His first scheduled pit stop came on lap 21, but one lap later the yellow flag flew for a full-course caution. On the following restart, the No. 10 Target car was involved in an on-track incident, which dropped him back to 23rd. By lap 34, Franchitti had made his way back up to 19th, and after his final stop of the day moved into 13th. After avoiding multiple incidents in the closing laps, he cut through traffic to finish eighth.
In the Points: Franchitti remains second in the overall championship standings with 531 points, 11 behind first-place Power. He also trails Dixon by 17 points in the A.J. Foyt Oval Trophy award standings, which will be awarded following the race at Kentucky. Franchitti claimed the inaugural oval award in 2010.