2009 IRL Team Reports: Target/Chip Ganassi Racing

IRL Team reports for the 2009 IRL season

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Postby mlittle » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:52 am

Franchitti Wins Toronto, Takes over Points Lead from Dixon

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 13, 2009)-Toronto proved to be a big points day for Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti as he gained three markers for pole position and another for leading the most laps (45 of 85) en route to winning the Honda Indy Toronto. The win takes him past Target teammate Scott Dixon (started eighth and finished fourth) for the IndyCar Series points lead as the two trade the top position for the third consecutive week.

Franchitti started from the front row and led the most laps, as he did in his first Toronto triumph in 1999. He beat Ryan Briscoe to the checkered flag by 1.6745 seconds. Along with some perfectly-timed pit strategy, the key to the race was Franchitti's Lap 65, Turn 2 pass of Helio Castroneves for the lead. The No.10 Target team would go on to hold off multiple challenges and two restarts for the win.

As a result, Team Target remains one-two in the point standings as Franchitti moves from second to first in IndyCar points with 347, while Dixon moves from first to second in the standings with 345.

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues July 26th with the Rexall Edmonton Indy. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com.
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Postby mlittle » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:54 pm

Dixon and Franchitti Trade IRL Points Lead for Fourth Straight Race Following Edmonton Indy

EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (July 26, 2009)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti continued their rule of the roost at the top of the IndyCar Series points lead as the two traded the point for the fourth consecutive race weekend with third and fifth place finishes, respectively.

Dixon started fourth and was able to hold serve throughout the majority of the 95-lap race which ended under caution in the day's only yellow-flag period. The key to the race for the No.9 Target team was trying to hold off the Penske duo of Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe after Dixon's crew got him out in front following the last pit stop of the afternoon.

Franchitti qualified sixth on the 1.973-mile Edmonton City Centre Airport track and in doing so remained the only driver in the series to make it to the final round of street and road course qualifying this season. He moved up one spot to fifth in the Vaseline MEN Lotion car on the start and drove a steady race to finish in that position.

As a result, Team Target remains one-two in the point standings as Franchitti moves from first to second in IndyCar points with 377, while Dixon moves from second to first in the standings with 380.

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues August 1st with the Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Scott Dixon: "It was one of the toughest races we've ever run. It's definitely a tough circuit and it gets a lot tougher when you don't have the best car. We were definitely hanging on. We seemed to be pretty good for about half the stint on the Firestone tires but we just abused them too much. After that it was just so slippery I just had to hang on. But it was a great day for Team Target. We gained some valuable points; we're in the points lead so we've switched with Dario again It was just a very tough day."

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Postby mlittle » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:27 am

Thoughts on Kentucky with TCGR Managing Director Mike Hull: "It's great to be back racing on a high speed oval that is very technical due to working hard to get it right over the humps and bumps that the track has -- the driver needs to work with his team to find the smoothest route with a race set-up that keeps the car under him throughout the night as the track grip level changes. Our Target guys have won at Kentucky due to having the fastest car combined with good stops while running full rich. It's not a fuel mixture race, it's a race track that requires you to race in a full out manner to win, and that's fun. With the aerodynamic parts that finally have been given back to us by the IRL, it should help to provide better racing, and more importantly gives the platform for a true two-groove oval. It's high speed, and in the first person, the demonstrated speed is impressive."

Dario, Scott, Scott Dario: Last weekend at Edmonton, Dixon (finished third) took over first place in the IndyCar Series point's race, with Franchitti (finished fifth) dropping to second. It was the fourth consecutive weekend the Target drivers swapped the points lead, and the seventh race of the season that either Dixon or Franchitti have been atop of the IRL standings.

TCGR at Kentucky: Dixon won for team in 2008 after TCGR had finished second in 2003, 2006 and 2007. TCGR has seven top-5 finishes and has led 243 laps since their first race at the track in 2002 with Jeff Ward.

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

Oh What Finish! - Kentucky Rewind: Dixon started from pole, led 151 of 200 laps and made a last lap pass of Helio Castroneves to win at Kentucky Speedway in 2008. Dixon's win marked his sixth on the IndyCar Series season, tying the record for most wins in a year held by former teammate Wheldon from 2005. The Kiwi extended his lead in the championship standings from 65 to 78 over Castroneves with three races remaining on his way to a second IRL title. The dramatic ending to the race saw Dixon close in on Castroneves over the final two laps, finally catching and passing the Penske driver who ran out of fuel in the final turn.

Dixon on Last Year's Race: "What a day. I think we tried to play it kind of safe and just be conservative. Even in traffic we really didn't rush things. The car was fantastic. We didn't have as much speed, actually, as we thought we did, especially in practice and qualifying. The car was super fast. We had a couple of guys that definitely sped up, with (Vitor) Meira and Marco (Andretti) toward the end, their cars were very fast. It was strategy in the end, it was crazy. There was no way we were going to catch him. He was half the track ahead of us. I knew our car was probably quicker than his, but not 20 miles per hour faster. It was nice to get it the way we did. I think about the run that Dario (Franchitti) had for the championship in 2007, and it's nice to be able to be in that position after how we lost it last year."

Last Week: Dixon finished third at Edmonton, his seventh consecutive top-five finish.

On the verge: Dixon's win in Richmond still has him tied with Sam Hornish Jr. for the most wins in IndyCar Series history with 19. A repeat victory this weekend in Kentucky would give him a 20th win and sole position of the IRL record.

Points: 1st in points with 380, +3 over Franchitti.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team

Target Paint Scheme: Kentucky marks the return of two Target paint schemes for the No.9 and 10 cars.

Last Time at Kentucky: Dario missed the 2008 race in Sparta while competing in NASCAR. In 2007, his car left the racing surface after making contact with another car for the second consecutive race -- within six days. Aug. 5 at Michigan International Speedway, Franchitti walked away uninjured from a spectacular crash on the backstretch after touching wheels with the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by Dan Wheldon on Lap 143 of 200. At Kentucky Speedway, Franchitti ran up/over the rear of the No. 55 car of Kosuke Matsuura after the checkered flag. "That one was completely my fault; there's no excuse," said Franchitti. "I didn't realize it was the checkered. I got the 'Hey, it's a checkered' just as I was hitting him."

Points: 2nd in points with 377, -3 to leader Dixon.
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Postby mlittle » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:13 am

Thoughts on Mid-Ohio with TCGR Managing Director Mike Hull: "Mid-Ohio for many of us at Target have special memories in terms of the history of Indy Car racing, as it represents the roots of Indy Car road racing. It's a very technical race track for the driver, which requires a set-up that is quite different from most other road and street circuits, so it's fun when you get it right. It will be our first opportunity to try the latest improvement from Honda with the endorsement of the IRL technical staff to enhance our racing, called "push-to-pass." The innovations allowed by the IRL to improve oval racing at Kentucky last week combines with the newest Honda button made a much better show. Mid-Ohio is a 2.3 mile natural terrain road race track, so the twenty pushes at 12 seconds allowed could make a difference if timed correctly by Dario and Scott for passing on the long straight."

TCGR at Mid-Ohio: The team has three CART wins (1996-1997 Zanardi, 1999 Montoya) at the track, in addition to Dixon winning the IndyCar Series race in 2007.

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

MOH Rewind: Last year Dixon started sixth and finished on the podium in third place. Even though the race started under wet conditions he managed to bring his car to the third spot by just lap three of the two hour event. His best finish at the track came in 2007, when he started sixth en route to the win, leading 29 of the 85 laps. He also finished fifth in the CART race in 2002 driving for TCGR.

Dixon on Last Year's Race: "It was a good day for us. We started sixth - I knew we still had a car to win. Everything was really crazy today. We didn't get into any rhythm. Everybody knew how it was going to play out and who was doing what and then we had a bad pit stop when we tried to jump Helio and that put us back a little ways. So it's frustrating but we only lost maybe five points in the championship."

Last Week in Kentucky: Dixon started the 200-lap race from the pole position based on entrant points after a qualifying washout. He led the first 48 laps of the race and went on to lead three times for a race-high 95 laps, earning him two bonus points.=20

On the verge: Dixon's win in Richmond still has him tied with Sam Hornish Jr. for the most wins in IndyCar Series history with 19. A victory this weekend in Ohio would give him a 20th win and sole position of the IRL record.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team

Target Paint Scheme: Both, the No.9 and 10 cars will have a Target paint scheme this weekend.

Last Time at Mid-Ohio: Dario missed the 2008 race in Lexington while competing in NASCAR. In 2007, Franchitti started the 85-lap race in the fifth position and finished second. Another notable race was the 1999 CART event where he started on the pole, led 54 of the 83 laps, and went on to finish in the third spot. Franchitti made six CART starts from 1997-2002, winning the pole in both 1998 and 1999.
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Postby mlittle » Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:52 pm

Dixon Gets IRL Record Victory, Points Lead with Mid-Ohio Win

LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 9, 2009)-Scott Dixon regained the IndyCar Series points lead with a stout 29.7803-second margin of victory over Ryan Briscoe at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for his 20th IRL win, while Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti made up three spots from his sixth starting position to finish third.

Dixon, competing in his 109th IndyCar Series race (all with TCGR), overtook Sam Hornish Jr. for the series record. He also tied teammate Franchitti for 19th on the all-time career list (sanctioning by AAA, USAC, CART, Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing League) with 21 wins (he picked up one victory in CART). A.J. Foyt is the all-time Indy car victory leader with 67.

Dixon, who started third in the 85-lap race on the 2.258-mile circuit, took control between Laps 60-64 - the final round of service stops for the contenders - and went on to beat pole sitter Briscoe to the checkers.

With the finishes, Dixon moves from second to first in IndyCar points with 460, while Franchitti remains third in the standings with 440.

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues August 23rd at Infineon Raceway with the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com.

Notes

- This is Dixon's fourth win of the season and the 20th of his IndyCar Series career. The win breaks a tie between Dixon and Sam Hornish Jr. for most IndyCar Series wins.

- Franchitti finished third, his sixth podium finish of the season.

- This is Target Chip Ganassi Racing's seventh victory of the season and its 31st in the IndyCar Series. Overall, it was the team's 71st career open wheel win (CART, IndyCar)

- In total, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams now has 112 race wins over open wheel, stock car and sports car racing (1990-Present)

- TCGR now has five wins at Mid-Ohio (1996-1997 Zanardi, 1999 Montoya, 2007 and 2009 Dixon)

TCGR Quoteboard:

Scott Dixon: "I think the Target car was fantastic from the get-go. We had a fairly decent start. I think we could have had Justin (Wilson) there but didn't want to push the envelope too much. We were sitting behind (Ryan) Briscoe to save tons of gas and that allowed us to go a lap or two longer. I don't really think the pass on Justin (Wilson) had much to do with Milka (Duno). We pretty much made the pass going into the corner, and she made it kind of interesting in the next couple corners."

Dario Franchitti: "I was a little disappointed. We cannot get the Target car handling the way I want it to. When we do, I think we'll be really good because we're finishing third with the car not balanced at all the way I like it. If we get it the way we do on the street courses, look out. The guys did a great job on pit road and the Target team pulled a great strategy. Scotty D. did a great job today. We just have to regroup and come back a lot stronger in Sonoma."
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Postby mlittle » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:05 am

Sonoma: Chip Ganassi Racing preview
Racing series INDYCAR
Date 2009-08-18

Target House Trip: Dixon and Franchitti took a trip to Target House at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. last week with their Target teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Target House provides nearly 100 free, fully equipped apartments for families and patients receiving long-term treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, but it's so much more than a place to stay. Target House is a home away from home for families facing the challenge of their lives. It's also a place where Target team members, corporate partners and celebrities join to help build awareness of the good things happening at Target House and St. Jude.

Team members regularly volunteer at Target House. Besides the drivers, other luminaries such as Shaun White, Tiger Woods, Scott Hamilton and the Jonas Brothers have made appearances at Target House and St. Jude over the years.

Thoughts on Sonoma with TCGR Managing Director Mike Hull: "Mid Ohio was pivotal and important. Sonoma will be the same. I think every race in terms of how you stack up when the race is over is important to where you're going to be at the end of 2009. Sonoma is a tough racetrack. It's a technical place. It's a drivers' track. Besides what the viewers would see on television or if they're lucky enough to be there in person in terms of elevation change and the type of racetrack that it actually is, there's very little opportunity for passing. So you have to work really, really hard to have your car right, so when you have that opportunity you can take advantage of it. You have to work to make your car extremely good for a long run, because the pit sequence strategy there really doesn't want you or allow you in the pits every time the track goes full course yellow. You have to choose those moments. So your car has to be good for a long run so the driver and the engineer and the guys have a lot to do with getting the car right for the race. That's the key. Not that the other races aren't like that, but Sonoma lends itself to that philosophy very much from the very beginning of the weekend."

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

Sonoma Rewind: Last year, Dixon started fifth and finished in 12th place. Dixon made the first of his three pit stops under the race's only full course caution period on lap 16, but was shuffled back out of the top-10 on his final two stops. The slower traffic and inability to overtake ultimately proved costly for the No.9 Target team, which had to settle for its lowest finish since St. Petersburg (22nd) last year. Dixon's best finish at the track came in 2007, where he started in the fifth spot, led 15 of the 80 laps, and finished first. He has also posted a pole starting position in 2006, and has yet to start outside of the top-10 at Sonoma.

Dixon on MOH Race: "I think the Target car was fantastic from the get-go. We had a fairly decent start. I think we could have had Justin (Wilson) there but didn't want to push the envelope too much. We were sitting behind (Ryan) Briscoe to save tons of gas and that allowed us to go a lap or two longer. I don't really think the pass on Justin (Wilson) had much to do with Milka (Duno). We pretty much made the pass going into the corner, and she made it kind of interesting in the next couple corners."

On the Record: Dixon's win in Mid-Ohio gave him a 20th career win and sole position of the IRL record over Sam Hornish Jr. for the most wins in IndyCar Series history. His victories have come from a multitude of tracks, with 13 wins on ovals (Homestead, Pikes Peak, Richmond, Nashville, Indianapolis, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, and Milwaukee) and seven wins on a road/street course (Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, Infineon, and Edmonton).

Keep Up, If You Can: Dixon's 29.7803-second margin of victory at Mid-Ohio was the largest in an IndyCar Series race since 1999. To put it into perspective, this margin of victory is roughly how long it takes Indy drivers to make one lap around Motegi (1.5-mile, oval track) in Japan.

Points: 1st with 460, +3 over second-place Ryan Briscoe.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team

Laps a lot: Dario Franchitti has led the most laps in IndyCar competition at Infineon Raceway with 62 (2005-present).

On Dixon's Sonoma Test Last Week: "Scott tested Sonoma last Thursday after I did a lot of the early season testing," Franchitti said. "This time it was Scott's turn to test Sonoma. I went over and watched and tried to get him to try some things that might benefit me a little bit if I twist his arm. But we know what we have to fix on the 10 car. We just have to put our finger on exactly what it is and how we go about it and that will be it."

Last Time at Sonoma: Dario missed the 2008 race in Sonoma while competing in NASCAR. In 2007, Franchitti started the 80-lap race from the pole position, led 62 of the 80 laps, and finished third. Another notable race was the 2006 event where he started fifth and went on to finish in the second spot. Franchitti has made a total of three starts at the 1.990-mile road course and has yet to finish outside of the top-10.

Monterey Historics Recap: Franchitti joined racing legends on Thursday, August 13, for the Rolex Monterey Historics at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He stayed through Sunday for the multi-day event which showcases over 400 of the finest vintage racing cars in the world.
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Postby mlittle » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:26 am

Franchitti Sweeps Sonoma with Fourth Win of IndyCar Season

SONOMA, Calif. (August 23, 2009)- Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti swept the maximum 53 points at Infineon Raceway by winning the pole position, leading the most laps and winning for the fourth time this season. Teammate Scott Dixon came in as the series points leader but had contact in the early stages and finished 13th.

Franchitti and the No.10 Target team had the dominant car all weekend at Sonoma, and backed it up by leading flag to flag, marking only the second time an IndyCar Series race was won by a driver who led flag-to-flag. Dixon led all 206 laps of a rain-shortened race at Richmond International Raceway in June 2003.

Dixon started 10th but had to pit early for a new front wing after an accordion style pileup sent him spinning in turn 2 of the first lap. He and the No.9 Target crew battled back to salvage what was shaping up to be a top-10 result. On the last corner he was turned by Marco Andretti and crossed the stripe 14th. IndyCar Series officials penalized Andretti for avoidable contact with Dixon. Andretti was credited with a 14th place finish and placed behind Ed Carpenter (11th), Dan Wheldon (12th) and Scott Dixon (13th).

With the finishes, Dixon moves from first to third in IndyCar points with 477 (-20 to leader Briscoe), while Franchitti moves from third to second in the standings with 493 (-4 to leader Briscoe).

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues August 29 at Chicagoland Speedway with the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 9:00 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com.

Notes

- This is Franchitti's fourth win of the season, the 12th of his IndyCar Series career and the 22nd win in his open-wheel racing career.

- This is Target Chip Ganassi Racing's eighth victory of the season and its 32nd in the IndyCar Series. Overall, it was the team's 72nd career open wheel win (CART, IndyCar)

- In total, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams now has 113 race wins over open wheel, stock car and sports car racing (1990-Present)

- TCGR now has two wins at Sonoma (Dixon, 2007)

- Only four drivers - Franchitti, Dixon, Briscoe and Helio Castroneves - remain eligible for the championship with three races remaining.

Dario Franchitti: "It was a good weekend for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The Target cars were pretty darn good. On the red Firestone tires they were very good. Qualifying up front allowed us to control the pace of the race and go just as fast as we used to go and that really helped us get it done today."

Scott Dixon: "It was a tough race. Everything we tried to do. We tried to catch a yellow. We pitted early to see if it could vault us up, and we kept coming out in the same position, racing with TK and Marco and we got into a bit of a mix-up at the end. We made quite a few passes on quite a few people, and at the end, Marco got into the back of me and spun me around. He came up and apologized. Definitely didn't do it on purpose. It was just one of those days. That's racing. Glad to move on and get out of here. I hope to get to the last three races because we fared well there last year. The point's race can switch big time. That's what we've got to look at. We need to be consistent in the last three races. But the Target team can win the last three races, hopefully we can do it and come home with another championship."
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Postby mlittle » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:27 am

Chip Ganassi on Infineon last weekend: "Dario got max points last weekend and that's what he needed. Pole, led the most laps, wins the race ... both guys [Franchitti and Dixon] now have won four races. That's a big accomplishment for Team Target. We're pretty happy with that and we'll see where we end up in the points."

TCGR to Date: The team has a series-best eight wins in 14 races this season, with Dixon and Franchitti scoring four victories apiece. The team equaled the eight-win mark for the second time in consecutive seasons, but still has three events remaining in 2009. The TCGR record for wins in a season is 10 from the 19-race 1998 CART season where Alex Zanardi won seven and Jimmy Vasser took three. TCGR also had seven win seasons in 1996 (Vasser, four and Zanardi three) and 1999 (Montoya, seven).

TCGR by the Numbers: The team now boasts 32 wins in the IndyCar Series and 72 overall open wheel wins (CART, IndyCar). In total, Ganassi's team's have 113 wins across open wheel, stock car and sports car racing (1990-Present)

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

Chicago Rewind: Dixon started from the outside-pole, led 14 laps, and took the checkered flag in the second-position. He has started a total of six races at the track, with four of those being highlighted by a second-place finish. Dixon has also led a total of 79 laps at the tri-oval track.

Dixon on the Stretch Run: "I think between Dario and I we've got cars in the Target team that can win all those last three races. That's the attitude. We have to go out there and try and dominate and hopefully we can win another championship."

Last Week in Sonoma: Dixon started 10th but had to pit early for a new front wing after an accordion style pileup sent him spinning in turn 2 of the first lap. He and the No.9 Target crew battled back to salvage what was shaping up to be a top-10 result. On the last corner he was turned by Marco Andretti and crossed the stripe 14th. IndyCar Series officials penalized Andretti for avoidable contact with Dixon. Andretti was credited with a 14th place finish and placed behind Ed Carpenter (11th), Dan Wheldon (12th) and Scott Dixon (13th).

Points: 3rd in points with 477, -20 to leader Ryan Briscoe.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 LifeLock Team

Dario on the Stretch Run: "Right now we have three oval races to focus on. It's going to be a challenge. Scott is the reigning champion, I know how good he is and he's got the same equipment as me. Ryan and the Penske team are going to be tough as well."

LifeLock Paint Scheme: Franchitti and the No.10 team will run the LifeLock paint scheme in Chicago and Japan.

Wrapping up Road and Street: Dario finishes the road and street portion of the calendar as the only driver in the series to advance to all "Firestone Fast Six" final segments of knockout qualifying.

Last Week in Sonoma: Franchitti swept the points in Sonoma, starting first, leading every lap and winning the race for his fourth win of the season (tied with Dixon for series-best four wins).

Last Time at Chicago: Franchitti's last race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval was during his memorable championship season in 2007. Dario took the green flag from the pole position, led 10 of the 200 laps, and won the race in the last turn of the last lap to clinch the championship over Dixon. Franchitti has yet to start a race outside of the top-10 at the track, including his 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, where he started in the sixth position.

Points: 2nd in points with 493, -4 to leader Ryan Briscoe.
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Postby mlittle » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:10 am

Double Top Five for Target Team at Chicagoland Led by Dixon's Runner-up Finish

JOLIET, Ill. (August 30, 2009) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti combined to lead 95 of 200 laps at Chicagoland Speedway, but Dixon was edged out at the finish line by 0.0077-seconds by Ryan Briscoe in the fourth-closest finish in IRL history. Franchitti started third, finished fourth and led once for 34 laps, while Dixon led seven times for 61 laps from his sixth starting position to finish second for the fifth time at the 1.5-mile oval.

With the finishes, Dixon remains third in IndyCar points with 517 (-33 to leader Briscoe), while Franchitti remains second in the standings with 525 (-25 to leader Briscoe).

The top three drivers in points are the only drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2009 IndyCar Series championship with two races remaining (Japan, Homestead-Miami).

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues September 19 at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan with the Indy Japan 300.

- Dixon finished second, his eighth podium finish and his 10th top-five finish of the season. Dixon has finished second at Chicagoland Speedway five teams, including the last four races (2006-2009).

Scott Dixon: "We've all seen this movie several times. Unfortunately at Chicago, we just keep finishing second. The whole night, I think we drove a better race. The guys on the Target team did a fantastic job. The pit stops were flawless. We launched out there a few times but we just didn't have the speed. Our mile-and-half dominance that we seemed to have last year on the Target team has just really been affected. We need to play catch up with Penske. They clearly are a lot faster than us. That's all I had. Great job by Ryan (Briscoe)."

Dario Franchitti: "It was as obviously an interesting night. It was kind of a little frustrating in the way that these one and a half mile tracks are sometimes in that you would get these big runs on the guys in front, get to the outside and wouldn't be able to go anywhere. We're still in the fight for the championship, but Briscoe did another good job tonight, and we're going to have to keep going to have to make something happen these next two races."
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Postby mlittle » Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:29 am

Managing Director Mike Hull on Japan: "Motegi is a world class facility. Although a 1.5 mile track, it's not typical of American tracks. It's very much a driver's track due to the nature of the entrance to turn three - the driver needs to get the entry right in order to have a good lap. Consecutive fast race laps require the team and driver's hard work to get the most on race day. Of equal importance is the passion for Indy Car racing that is clearly demonstrated by the Japanese fans. Their knowledge of our sport, its history, and the drivers is felt from the arrival at the Narita airport until departure. It's a special event."

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

Dixon on Japan: "We need to go out and try and win
. We've definitely got to clean a few things up. It's going to be the same for the last two, try and go out and win, obviously try and get a pole, try and lead the most laps and try and win the races. I'm definitely looking forward to Motegi. It's been a bit of a thorn in my side for some time, and I can't wait to get back there."

Last Race in Chicago: Dixon started the 200-lap race from sixth position. He went on to lead 61 laps and was edged out at the finish line by 0.0077-seconds by Ryan Briscoe in the fourth-closest finish in IRL history. Dixon finished second for the fifth time at the 1.5-mile tri-oval.

Last Time at Japan: Last year in Motegi the rain-delayed race turned into a fuel-mileage gamble. Dixon started in second position and quickly advanced, leading twice for a race-high 101 laps. A pit stop on lap 195 cost Dixon the lead, and the Target team had to settle for a third-place finish. Dixon has raced a total of eight times at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in Japan. He has been in six events for the IndyCar Series and two events for the CART Series. His best finish at the track is third (2008), and his best start is from the pole position (2003).

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 LifeLock Team

LifeLock Paint Scheme: Franchitti and the No.10 team will run the LifeLock paint scheme in Japan. It also ran in Chicagoland last race.

Post Chicago: "The problem I had at the finish (at Chicagoland), I was boxed in almost, because my ideal thing would have been to get behind Briscoe, get a draft and try to go three wide and use the overtake to pass. But I had my teammate (Dixon) leading the race and the guy we're fighting against the championship on the outside, and these cars when you're sitting very close to the guy ahead of you, you give him a bit of a push, and I couldn't and wouldn't push anybody else apart from my teammate in that fight. I was trying to push Scott, and that got me hung up there and allowed Mario Moraes to get past. I had all these push to passes left but I couldn't use them because all I was going to do was run into Scott's gearbox, so that was kind of frustrating. But it was not a great night for the Target team. Obviously we're still in the fight for the championship, but Ryan did another good job, and we're going to have to keep going to have to make something happen these next two races."

Last Time at Japan: Franchitti has raced a total of nine times at Motegi. His best finish came while he was driving in the CART Series in 2000. Franchitti started the race in the 17th spot and went on to finish second. His last race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in the IndyCar Series was in 2007 where he started in the seventh spot and finished third.
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Postby mlittle » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:56 am

Motegi: Chip Ganassi Racing race report
Racing series INDYCAR
Date 2009-09-19

Dixon Wins Motegi as Target Team Retakes Top Two Spots in Championship

MOTEGI, Japan (September 19, 2009) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti combined to lead 192 of 200 laps at Twin Ring Motegi en route to a clean sweep of the race as Dixon took all 53 points available (win, pole and laps led) with his IndyCar-best fifth win of 2009. Franchitti started third, led 53 laps and finished second to give Target the one-two finish.

To date, Team Target has a series-best nine wins in 16 races this season (Dixon-5, Franchitti-4). The TCGR record for wins in a season is 10 from the 19-race 1998 CART season where Alex Zanardi won seven and Jimmy Vasser took three.

With the finishes, Dixon retakes the IndyCar points lead with 570, while Franchitti remains second in the standings with 565 (-5 to leader Dixon). Ryan Briscoe, who went into the race with a 25-point lead over Franchitti and a 32-point lead over Dixon, finished 18th and has 562 points (-8 to Dixon).

Dixon, Franchitti and Briscoe are the only drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2009 IndyCar Series championship with one race remaining at Homestead-Miami, where Dixon is the defending racewinner.

The 2009 IndyCar Series season concludes October 10th at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the Firestone Indy 300. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 4:00 p.m. (EDT) on VERSUS HD. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com.

Notes

- This is Dixon's fifth win of the season and the 21st of his IndyCar Series career. His last win came at Mid-Ohio.

- It is the 22nd win of Scott Dixon's open-wheel career tying Franchitti, Tony Bettenhausen, Helio Castroneves and Emerson Fittipaldi for 16th on the list of all-time open-wheel wins.

- Overall, it was the team's 73rd career open wheel win (CART, IndyCar)

- In total, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams now has 114 race wins over open wheel, stock car and sports car racing (1990-Present)

- This is Target Chip Ganassi Racing's ninth win of the season and its 33rd win in the IndyCar Series.

- Franchitti finished second, his 12th top-five finish and eighth podium finish of the season.

- Dixon takes the point lead with his win at Twin Ring Motegi, the 14th change at the top of the point standings in 16 races.

- The eight points separating first place Dixon from third-place Briscoe is the second-closest spread between in series history. Only the 2003 season had a closer margin between first and third.

- The five points separating first place Dixon from second-place Franchitti is the fourth-closest spread between first and second. There was a tie in 2003, 1 pt margin in 2006 and 3 points in 2007.

TCGR Quoteboard:

Scott Dixon: "A fantastic day for Team Target. A 1-2. For me it's tremendous. It's a track I've always wanted to win in. I kind of put Motegi just below the Indy 500. It's a very difficult circuit. I remember coming here in the early years and competing for different engine manufacturers and how much emphasis is put on this race. If you have a fast car, you can still get to the front. Put on a good show. Over the moon. Definitely a good day for points and very happy."

Dario Franchitti: "I think we could see the Target cars were very strong. Both cars were very equally matched. Probably my car more so in traffic, and Scott maybe a little bit in clean air. But both cars, whichever one was in front was going to win. I managed to go longer than Scott in the first run. It was looking good. We came out of the pits after the second stop having pulled a pretty substantial gap. I was coming up to lap the No. 2 car, and I went to go on the inside and he came down, so I moved up, he moved up. He kept moving up until I hit a bump and ended up in the marbles. I managed to gather it back up, by which point Scott had a massive run and passed me. It was unfortunate to lose the lead that way, but we've seen that all year from him, to be honest. After that, it's just trying to pass Scott. We tried on the pits, on the restarts. We were so equal today, I needed traffic in front of us to slow Scott so I could get a run on him, and there wasn't any."
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Postby mlittle » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:57 am

Managing Director Mike Hull on Homestead: "Teamwork is defined as team members who unselfishly support each other with a common goal -- the amazing thing about that statement is that it defines Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon as they have given to each other without personal agenda from the very first 2009 Indy Car Open Test. That test was at Homestead, so we have come full circle. The Homestead 1.5 mile oval represents Indy racing at the highest level, so it's fitting to fight for a national championship with a field of the greatest drivers in the world at a world-class facility."

Championship Notes

The Spread: The five points separating first place Dixon from second-place Franchitti is the fourth-closest spread between first and second. There was a tie in 2003, a 1 pt margin in 2006 and 3 points in 2007, with Dixon winning in 2003 and Franchitti in 2007. The eight points separating first place Dixon from third-place Ryan Briscoe is the second-closest spread in series history. Only the 2003 season had a closer margin between first and third, where Dixon won the title.

Dixon Shows the Way: Dixon's series-leading fifth win of 2009 in Japan last month gave TCGR a series-best nine wins in 16 races (Dixon-5, Franchitti-4). The TCGR record for wins in a season is 10 from the 19-race 1998 CART season where Alex Zanardi won seven and Jimmy Vasser took three.

Defending Winner: Dixon, Franchitti and Briscoe are the only drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2009 IndyCar Series championship with one race remaining at Homestead-Miami, where Dixon is the defending racewinner.

CGR at HMS: Last year Ganassi visited victory lane twice in the matter of a few hours as Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the Grand-Am race before Dixon took the first win in the newly-unified IndyCar Series. This year, both Dixon and Pruett/Rojas, the defending champions in their respective series, are in contention for titles once again.

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

Teammates Tied: Japan marked the 22nd win of Dixon's open-wheel career, tying teammate Franchitti, Tony Bettenhausen, Helio Castroneves and Emerson Fittipaldi for 16th on the list of all-time open-wheel wins.

Post Japan: "What a fantastic day for Team Target. A 1-2. For me it's tremendous. It's a track I've always wanted to win at. I kind of put Motegi just below the Indy 500. It's a very difficult circuit. I remember going there in the early years and competing for different engine manufacturers and how much emphasis is put on this race. If you have a fast car, you can still get to the front. Put on a good show. I'm over the moon. It was definitely a good day for points and I'm very happy."

Dixon at Homestead: Dixon has two wins at HMS (from the pole in 2008 and coming from 12th in 2003 - both years he won the series title), and two other top-five finishes in six races at the 1.5-mile oval.

Points: 1st in points with 570.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team

Post Japan: "I think we could see the Target cars were very strong. Both cars were very equally matched. Probably my car more so in traffic, and Scott maybe a little bit in clean air. But both cars, whichever one was in front was going to win."

Dario at Homestead: Franchitti has a high finish of fourth (2006) and two seventh-place finishes in five visits to HMS.

Points: 2nd in points with 565, -5 to leader Dixon.
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