Franchitti Takes IndyCar Point Lead to Milwaukee after Target Team Finishes Sixth and Seventh at Indianapolis INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 25, 2009)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti started on the front row in his return to ...
Franchitti Takes IndyCar Point Lead to Milwaukee after Target Team Finishes Sixth and Seventh at Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 25, 2009)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti started on the front row in his return to Indianapolis, led 50 laps and finished seventh in Sunday's "500." Defending pole sitter and race winner Scott Dixon started fifth and led a race-high 73 of 200 laps to finished sixth.
Both Target cars proved strong throughout the race, running as high as first and second as the No.9 and 10 teams traded the race lead. The turning point of the race for both teams came on pit lane when, with 66 laps left, the No.10 team had a miscue that cost them track position. The No. 9 team encountered similar problems with 36 laps left, which took the team out of contention for the lead.
With the results, Dixon remains fourth in IndyCar points with 111, while Franchitti jumps from third to first in the IndyCar Series point standings with 122.
The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues May 31 with the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. 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.
- Franchitti finished seventh in his first start in the Indianapolis 500 since winning the race in 2007. He has finished seventh or better in four consecutive "500s."
- Franchitti led 50 laps and has led 84 laps in his last two "500s."
- The top lap leader in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 was defending winner Dixon, who led 73 laps and finished sixth. He also was the top lap leader (115 laps) in the 2008 Indianapolis 500.
"It takes a total team effort to win at Indianapolis. Everybody has to be flawless, and we had a problem in the pits. The Target guys are fantastic on pit lane, normally. They do a great job. But one mistake, unfortunately, is very, very costly. We'll go back, regroup and try to get ourselves a championship. The Target car was pretty bloody good today. When you get too far back in the pack like we did with that problem with the pit stop, it's tough to get back to the front again." (On racing in the Indy 500 again after missing a year): "When I managed to take the lead and was running away, I had a big smile on my face, I can assure you. That was cool. But, it was a tough deal. It was tough in traffic. When we got back in the pack, it was really difficult. But that's the Speedway. Helio did a fantastic job, and he deserves it. The Penske team deserves it. Believe me, we'll be back next year to try to take it back from them."
"It was a pretty uneventful day until the last 60 laps. We had great stops all day with the Target team. Toward the end there; that last stop, we fumbled. I'm not sure which tire it was. That's the problem now with the competition being so tight. You give up a few seconds here and there, and that's nearly your day. You lose six or seven spots. It's just too tough when everybody at the end is full fuel and trying to go flat out. It's too tough to pass." (On driving in traffic versus running up front): "Well, you need to be working at it. If you're going to lose some spots, you want to make sure it's early on. Toward the end, everybody's worked out what they need, and the cars are really good. It just makes it tougher to pass. At the moment, I just think we're relying too much on the down force of the cars. We need more mechanical grip so you can get closer. At the moment, it just seems spread. Everybody kind of runs up, tags the guy in front, then you can't go behind them close enough in the corners. It's a tough day; pretty unfortunate. We were looking pretty good there for a while."