Target Chip Ganassi Racing Barber Motorsports Park Open Test Notes

Event: INDYCAR Pre-season Open Testing

Track: Barber Motorsports Park (2.38-mile Road Course)

Location: Birmingham, AL

PRESEASON STORYLINES

Managing Director Mike Hull on Open Test: “Getting ready for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar and Rolex seasons have already provided challenge, incentive, and validation for what all of us at Chip Ganassi Racing do as a team. Getting it done as a group at the Rolex 24 At Daytona for Target kicked us into high gear and provided the validation. Continuing to have a competitive entity, plus adding the new INDYCAR entries to the program is the challenge. Moving our entire group to another platform is the clear directive.

Chip Ganassi Racing press conference: Chip Ganassi
Chip Ganassi Racing press conference: Chip Ganassi

Photo by: Christopher Grey - Cakewalk Photo

“The 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series provides the opportunity to pair experience with the exuberance of youth. Franchitti and Dixon are two of the best to have ever driven Indy cars. Together they have redefined the definition of the teamwork. Rahal and Kimball, who are at the front end of their careers, represent the future of Indy car racing. It’s been a daily reminder of how we started, and what it means to utilize fresh perspective as the resource.”

Team of the Year: RACER Magazine recently named Chip Ganassi Racing the 2010 ‘Team of the Year’ for their record-breaking season. Ganassi’s teams claimed 19 victories across all three major motorsports series which they complete.

Starting 2011 Strong: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams kicked off the 2011 season on a high-note, sweeping the top-two positions in the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. Defending GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype Champion and now four-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Scott Pruett (with co-drivers Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal and Joey Hand) crossed the finish line at the 24-hour mark ahead of teammate Scott Dixon (with co-drivers Dario Franchitti, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya) to give the team a record fourth Rolex 24 At Daytona victory (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011). It marked the first time a team has reached the four-win mark since Brumos Porsche (1973, 1975, 1978, and 2009), and the quickest to do so in the race’s 50-year history.

New Win Record for CGR: 2010’s 19-win total eclipsed the previous mark for victories in a single season (14) set in 2008. The past five seasons for the team have proven to be the most successful in history (1990-2011), as 70 of the 135 wins, or 52%, have been scored in that stretch.

‘Chip Slam’: Ganassi, who in 2010 was responsible for the motorsport ‘Triple Crown’ (Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 wins), added the first ever ‘Chip Slam’ of motorsports to his resume with a victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan 30 (all four major wins in a 12-month period).

By the Numbers: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Inc. currently boasts 136 victories across three major motorsport series (NASCAR, INDYCAR, and GRAND-AM). Ganassi’s INDYCAR team is responsible for 80 of the 136 victories, with Dixon scoring the 80th victory in the season finale last year at Homestead.

Award Winning: Ganassi has won a whole slew of post season awards for his team’s 2010 season. Among the awards that he has won are: the Autosport Lifetime Achievement Award, the NSSN Champion of Champions Award, Pittsburgh’s Dapper Dan Athletic Award, International Motorsports Industry Show Achievement Award, as well as being named the honorary chairman of the Motor Sports Hall of Fame inductions early last year in Detroit. In addition, Ganassi was honored on the field by his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers prior to the game on Dec. 12 for his many contributions to the “City of Champions”. He was presented with a Steelers jersey by Art Rooney II.

Four in a Row…Again?: TCGR enters 2011 coming off a record third-straight IZOD IndyCar Series championship, the first time a team has won three consecutive titles in IZOD IndyCar Series history. In 2011, Team Target will look to defend the title and win a fourth consecutive championship for the second time in history (1996-Jimmy Vassar, 1997-Alex Zanardi, 1998-Alex Zanardi, 1999-Juan Pablo Montoya).

Start and Finish Strong: Since 2006, TCGR has won three of the last five IZOD IndyCar Series openers (2006, 2007, and 2008) and three of the last five IZOD IndyCar Series season-finales (2006, 2009, and 2010).

On the Podium: TCGR makes its second trip to Barber Motorsports Park for pre-season testing. Dixon and Franchitti last visited the 2.38-mile road course in April 2010 where the Target drivers finished second and third, respectively.

Making History Together: Minneapolis-based Target celebrates its 22nd anniversary in motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011. Since the formation of this dominant force in motorsports, the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team has amassed 80 victories and eight titles (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, and 2010) including three Indianapolis 500 victories (2000, 2008, and 2010). The 2011 season will include two full-time entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series with Dixon and Franchitti and a full-time entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 1999 CART Champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 Winner Juan Pablo Montoya, as Team Target continues to feature some of the world’s most accomplished race car drivers.

Complementing Each Other: Since becoming Target Teammates, Dixon and Franchitti have combined to win 16 of the last 34 IZOD IndyCar Series Races (47%). Of these 16 wins, six (37%) have come on road or street courses (2009: Long Beach, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Sonoma; 2010: Edmonton, Mid-Ohio).

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team

Amongst Legends: With Franchitti’s victory in the 2010 Indianapolis 500 followed by his IZOD IndyCar Series championship, he is one of only five drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 and the national championship in the same season at least twice during their careers. He accomplished this feat in 2007 and 2010 and joined A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967), Louis Meyer (1928, 1933), Wilbur Shaw (1937, 1939) and Rodger Ward (1959, 1962).

All-Time Win List: Since joining TCGR in 2009, Franchitti has claimed eight INDYCAR victories (2009: five, 2010: three), continuing his climb toward the top of the all-time open wheel win list. He currently ranks 11th (tied with Roger Ward), and trails Johnny Rutherford by one victory for 10th place.

Did you know? Franchitti has won the last three IZOD IndyCar Series Championships (2007, 2009, and 2010) and two of the last three Indianapolis 500s in which he has competed. He joined Team Target following a stint driving for Ganassi’s NASCAR team in the 2008 season.

Award-Winning: After another successful season, Franchitti collected numerous awards as a result of his third INDYCAR championship. He was AARWBA’s Jerry Titus Driver of the Year award winner, in addition to a first-team selection for the 41st All-America Team. He also claimed the BRDC ‘Special’ Gold Star and the Earl Howe Trophy at the BRDC awards, while winning Autosport’s British competition Driver of the Year Award. Finally, Franchitti won the John Romanes Trophy at the annual Scottish Motor Racing Club Awards in Edinburgh and was inducted into the Motor Sport Magazine Hall of Fame London where he joined motorsports legends Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Frank Williams and Jody Scheckter.

A.J. Foyt Oval Championship: Franchitti won the inaugural A.J. Foyt Oval Championship Trophy in 2010. He posted two oval victories (Indianapolis, Chicagoland), had a 5.25 average finish in the eight oval races on the year, and edged out Helio Castroneves and Target teammate Dixon to win the award.

Picking Up “Baby Borg”: Franchitti was presented his second "Baby Borg” during the Borg Warner company's annual Indianapolis 500 celebration dinner Jan. 12 in Detroit.

BMP History: Franchitti ran as high as ninth quick in his practice sessions on opening day of the 2010 February test with a best time of 1:11.1825 seconds and a top speed of 116.321 mph. An on-track incident during the third practice session prevented Franchitti from completing more than three laps. Last season at Barber Motorsports Park, Franchitti lined-up seventh at the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and worked his way to fourth after making a wing adjustment on the team’s first stop. He would go on to finish third behind Dixon.

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

Team-Leader: 2011 will mark Dixon 10th season behind the wheel of a Target car, the longest tenure for a driver in Chip Ganassi’s 22 years as a team owner. Dixon has started 146 races in a Target car, collecting two championships (2003, 2008), 24 wins, 72 top-fives and 107 top-10 finishes with 3249 laps led. Since the start of the 2007 season, the Kiwi has won 18 races and posted 37 podium finishes in 68 events.

Mr. Consistency: Since his first full-time season (2003) driving for Team Target, Dixon has finished outside the top-five in the overall standings only twice in his career, including two championships and five consecutive top-four finishes the past five seasons (2010: third, 2009: second, 2008: CHAMPION, 2007: second, 2006: fourth). His two runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2009 come by a combined total of 24 points (2007: 13, 2009: 11), both at the hands of current TCGR teammate Franchitti.

Anchoring Success: Dixon rounded out 2010 with a third-place finish in points. With a victory in 2011, Dixon will extend his streak of consecutive seasons with a win to six.

BMP History: During pre-season testing at Barber Motorsports Park in February 2010, Dixon laid down over 100 laps and was fourth quick with a time of 1:10.0594 seconds and a top speed of 118.185 mph. Dixon started fifth at the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and ran in the top three throughout the 90-lap event before securing a second place result.

All-Time Win List: Dixon continues to be the IZOD IndyCar Series era all-time win leader with 24 victories. He currently ranks 12th in a tie with Gordon Johncock with 25 wins on the all-time open wheel list, trailing teammate Franchitti and Roger Ward by one victory for 11th place.

-source: cgr