Chip Ganassi Racing Indy 500 preview

Story Highlights

  • Championship team ready for Indy 500
  • 2010 winner Franchitti aims for 3rd victory
  • Dixon wants his 2nd Indy 500 win


Managing Director Mike Hull on Indianapolis: “If I could describe the Indianapolis 500 in one word it would be ‘significant’. For our Target group, the intensity of what we do multiplies from the first moment of practice until the final lap of the race. There isn’t a sporting event anywhere in the world that compares to the electricity of 300,000 plus spectators who are engaged from the moment that they arrive until well after the race. Giving Scott and Dario the opportunity to win is the focus of every team member, and has been so, since Dario’s winning performance last year. It’s a big race to win, and would be special to be first when it counts the most.”

One of Two: Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske are the only two owners to say that they have won both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Ganassi, however, is the only owner to have won the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the same season with drivers Jamie McMurray and Dario Franchitti in 2010.

If I could describe the Indianapolis 500 in one word it would be ‘significant’.

Mike Hull

TCGR History: This year’s 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 marks TCGR’s 18th start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the team has taken home three wins. TCGR has had a total of 20 different drivers participate in this famous event. Former Target Indy car driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, was the first TCGR driver to win the Indianapolis 500. It was Montoya’s first trip to IMS, winning after starting second on the grid.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team

All-Time Win List: If Franchitti wins his third Indianapolis 500, he would not only move ahead of Johnny Rutherford on the all-time Indy car wins list with 27, but also tie Rutherford on the all-time Indianapolis 500 wins list with three victories apiece.

Leading the Pack: 2010 not only marked Franchitti’s second Indianapolis 500 win, but also the most laps led in a single race in his Indy car career, leading 155 of the 200 laps.

Among the Greats: Currently Franchitti is tied with Al Unser, Jr., Tommy Milton, Mauri Rose, Bill Vukovich, Roger Ward, Gordon Johncock, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Arie Luyendyk with two victories in the “world’s most famous race.” If Franchitti wins, he will tie Helio Castroneves, Louis Meyer, Rutherford, Wilbur Show, and Bobby Unser with three wins in the Indianapolis 500.

Back-to-Back: Winning this year’s Indianapolis 500 would give Franchitti consecutive wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He would tie Wilbur Shaw (1939-40), Mauri Rose (1947-48), Bill Vukovich (1953-54), Al Unser (1970-71), and Helio Castroneves (2001-02) for the most consecutive wins at this track.

The Scotsman: There are only two drivers from Scotland that have ever won the Indianapolis 500: Jimmy Clark, from Kilmany, won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 and Franchitti, from Edinburgh, won in 2007 and 2010.

A Look Back on 2011: Franchitti has had four starts, one win, three podium finishes, four top-fives, and four top-10s. His win this season came at the season opener at St. Petersburg.

Indianapolis 500 Review: Franchitti will be making his eighth appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In seven previous starts, Franchitti has started on the front row four times (2004, 2007, 2009, and 2010), has two top-fives, five top-10s, and has led 255 laps. He won the event in 2007 and in 2010. Franchitti has also led in five of his seven starts at the Brickyard.

Pit stop for Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Pit stop for Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

On the Verge of History: If Franchitti leads one more lap, he will move into a tie for 20th on the all-time Indianapolis 500 lap leader list, tying Mauri Rose with 256 laps led. Franchitti can also potentially move into the top-10 in all-time Indianapolis 500 lap leaders if he leads 176 laps or more.

Baby Borg: Franchitti picked up his second “Baby Borg” trophy in January after winning the 2010 Indianapolis 500. A replica of the BorgWarner Trophy, which recognizes every Indianapolis 500 winner and is on permanent display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, the Baby Borg is 14 inches tall that rests on a beveled black marble base that includes a hand-crafted three-dimensional sterling silver image of the winning driver's face. Rick Mears, winner of the 1988 Indianapolis 500, was the first recipient of the driver's trophy.

Franchitti on the Baby Borg: “It's great to get another one. I'd like to have a whole collection. For me last year, earning another win or trophy or championship was something that took awhile to sink it. Once the 2010 season was over, I was able to step out of the whirlwind of activity and reflect on the year. I would love to relive it all over again. Hopefully we can come away with our third Indianapolis 500 win this month.”

Brazil Recap: Franchitti maintained his sixth-place starting position in the beginning laps until the No. 10 Target made contact with the tire barriers which caused him to make a pit stop for a new wing and fuel, dropping him to 15th. Franchitti was able to fight back and cross the finish line in fourth position.

It’s a New Car!: Franchitti presented the keys to a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Pace Car to Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Sweepstakes winner Bruce Barhydt from Apex, NC in September. Barhydt was selected as the winner in a random drawing of fans who re-ordered or applied for tickets to the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team

Consistent Laps: Dixon holds the all-time record for having the four most consistent qualifying laps in a single qualifying run at Indianapolis. In 2008, Dixon’s four laps were separated by .0049 of a second.

Start One, End One: In 2008, Dixon started the Indianapolis 500 on pole and won the race. In addition to his win and pole, Dixon has eight starts, three top-fives, and six top-10s.

Season Rewind: Within four starts to date in 2011, Dixon has one top-five and one top-10 with a best finish of second at Barber Motorsports Park, the second race of the season.

The One and Only: Dixon is the only driver from New Zealand to ever have won the Indianapolis 500.

Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Photo by: Bob Heathcote

Engine, Engine, Number Nine: If Dixon wins the Indianapolis 500, the No. 9 car will have won for the fifth time. Sam Hanks (1957), Rick Mears (1979), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000) have all won in the No. 9 car in addition to Dixon in 2008.

Brazil Recap: Dixon started third but spun out on a lap 7 restart which pushed him back to 17th. Dixon stopped for fuel-only on lap 36, putting him in 11th on lap 37. After a lap 38 restart, he spun in the turn one run-off, pushing him back to 15th. When the checkered flag flew on the timed, two-hour event (55 laps), Dixon crossed 12th.

Chasing History: If Dixon leads 36 more laps he will move into a tie for 20th place on the Indianapolis 500 all-time lap leader list tying, Mauri Rose with 256 laps led.

Twice Would be Nice: With a win, Dixon would tie Al Unser, Jr., Tommy Milton, Dario Franchitti, Mauri Rose, Bill Vukovich, Roger Ward, Gordon Johncock, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Arie Luyendyk with two victories in the “world’s most famous race.”

-source: cgr