Franchitti leads Team Target at Sonoma with Podium finish

Dixon qualified the No. 9 Target Honda second as Team Target swept the front row at Sonoma Raceway.

SONOMA, Calif. – Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) drivers Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon finished third and 15th, respectively at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma in Round 15 of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: James M. Holland

Dixon qualified the No. 9 Target Honda second as Team Target swept the front row at Sonoma Raceway. From the drop of the green flag Dixon battled to stay in the top-three. The first of seven caution periods was displayed on lap 1 of 85 and the No. 9 car fought to stay ahead of the No. 12 car to keep second.

Dixon held on to second for 18 laps, lapping -1.6 seconds behind teammate and leader Franchitti, before making his first stop of the day. The No. 9 car returned to the race in eighth after the stop. Dixon continued to fight off the No. 12 car and was able to get in front of him for seventh.

On lap 23 under yellow the No. 9 car made its way up to fifth and on the restart held its ground. Dixon moved back into second on lap 29 as pit stops cycled through and held his ground over another caution period on lap 30. The No. 9 car fought for the lead on a lap 35 restart and took over the point before pitting on lap 45.

He returned to the race in the lead after beating the No. 12 car off of pit lane and held position for 14 laps. With 23 laps to go the team pit under the race’s sixth caution and as the car left the pit box it had contact with a tire carried by one of the No. 12 team’s crew.

INDYCAR Race Control reviewed the incident and Dixon was assessed a drive-through penalty with 17 laps to go. The No. 9 car pitted from the lead, served its penalty and rejoined the race in 21st. Over the final laps the team encountered front wing damage but managed to regain six positions to finish 15th.

Franchitti qualified the No. 10 Target Honda on pole position and led Team Target’s front row qualifying lock out. The No. 10 team led a race for the third time this season, leading through two of the race’s seven caution periods.

On lap 18 the No. 10 pit from the lead for the first stop of the day. Franchitti returned to the race in sixth but moved back one spot to seventh until a lap 26 restart where he was able to take back the spot. The No. 10 car jumped two spots to fourth on lap 29 and held his ground through another caution period.

On lap 39 Franchitti passed one more car for third and on lap 45 had to pit from second. He ran fifth with 31 laps to go and moved to third with 23 laps to go, where the he would ultimately finish.

With the results, Dixon remains second in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings with 440 markers, -39 points behind leader Helio Castroneves. Franchitti remains sixth with 379 markers, -100 points back.

With the results, Honda is second in the manufacturer point standings with 111 points, trailing Chevrolet 114.

Up next, Target Chip Ganassi Racing will compete in Round 16 of the IZOD IndyCar Series with the Grand Prix of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, on Sunday, September 1st (2:00pm ET on NBC Sports Network).

Scott Dixon: “It looks like he [the crew member] walked straight into our car. You could see where the other car in front of us was pitted and he walked into us, on purpose. That’s probably the most blatant thing I’ve seen in a long time. If you watch most pit guys, they try and get out of the way of other people.

It’s pretty annoying because we had a pretty good Target car all day long and if they want to try and win like that, then that’s pretty bad. I had a straight line heading out of the pits and he just walked right into us. You also look at the calls people make and what they did in Race Control so I look forward to hearing what that was all about. The consistency here is horrible.”

Dario Franchitti: “As far as the Target car was concerned today, it was just very quick. Not exactly the result we were looking for as a team, but what can you do. It definitely was not a good day for Scott either, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.”

Chip Ganassi Racing

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Series INDYCAR
Article type Race report
Tags dixon, franchitti, ganassi, indycar, sonoma