Chip Ganassi Racing Teams press release
Franchitti Second, Dixon Third at Kentucky Speedway
SPARTA, Ky. (October 2, 2011) – Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) driver Dario Franchitti piloted the No. 10 Downy Honda Dallara to a second-place finish at Kentucky Speedway and regained the IZOD IndyCar Series points lead with one race remaining in the 2011 season. Target teammate Scott Dixon took the checkered flag third but was mathematically eliminated from the championship hunt.
Franchitti began the race from 11th and moved up to ninth after just four laps. With pit stops starting to occur on lap 51, he used great fuel mileage and moved into first and held onto the lead after his pit stop on lap 52. After the second caution of the day on lap 140, the team came in for their second stop and continued to maintain the lead. The third caution of the day allowed Franchitti the opportunity to conserve fuel, taking him to the end of the race. With 20 laps remaining, he was battling side-by-side for the lead with Ed Carpenter and took the checkered flag by 0.0098-seconds behind Carpenter– the sixth-closest race in IZOD IndyCar Series and the closest ever at Kentucky Speedway. Carpenter was able to use the Honda overtake assist on the final lap after Franchitti’s last push-to-pass came on the white-flag lap.
Dixon started seventh and by lap 63 had moved into third. He came in for a stop under caution on lap 81 and after a slight wing adjustment, gained one position, coming out in second. After a re-start on lap 93, the Target team continued to maintain a spot in the top three. Following the second caution, Dixon gained a position after his pit stop, putting him back in second. A third caution on lap 167 helped the team conserve fuel until the end of the race. With his third-place finish, Dixon secured the A.J. Foyt Oval Trophy for his performance this season on ovals.
Franchitti became the new points leader with 573. Will Power now trails Franchitti by 18, with 555 points. Dixon remains third in the standings, 55 points behind Franchitti.
Up next for Team Target is Round 18 of the IZOD IndyCar Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the IZOD IndyCar Series World Championships on Sunday, October 16th (3:00 p.m. ET, ABC).
Dario Franchitti: “I enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it more had I beaten Ed, but he did a great job. I had to use more overtakes to at least keep him beside me. I had to use my overtakes early because if he cleared me, it was all over. I came up just a fraction short, but great points today. The Target boys were dynamite in the pits. I got an email earlier today from Barry and Mike Wanser up in Indy. I had his name on the car and Mike that one was for you. We are going to go to Vegas in two weeks and I am going to try to win the big one. I think it shows today how quickly things can change. I have to say congratulations to Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher Racing. He drove a heck of a race.”
Scott Dixon: “All day I was pretty much stuck to the middle or the high line. When I got to the bottom, it would just push right up. Then I was kind of loose on the high line. It was a crazy day. It was very hard to complete passes. You would pass people and then get shuffled back and I would have to wait for somebody to lift if they got into the same circumstances. It does get stressful, for me more today. For some reason, it took my car three, four or five laps to get going. It was a good day for Team Target with a second and third. It was a huge day in points with Will finishing in the back. Bring on Vegas. I am out of the points chase now with Dario being 55 points ahead. Overall it was a good day and thanks to everybody for coming out and for all of the fans watching.”