IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-08-29

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Road to Chicagoland -- Scott Dixon 2. Rookies, Fisher to test at Chicagoland 3. Of note 1. Road to Chicagoland -- Scott Dixon: Scott Dixon won the 2003 IndyCar® Series championship by ...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Road to Chicagoland -- Scott Dixon
2. Rookies, Fisher to test at Chicagoland
3. Of note

1. Road to Chicagoland -- Scott Dixon: Scott Dixon won the 2003 IndyCar® Series championship by consistently finishing up front while his closest rivals made mistakes.

He hopes to follow the same formula to the 2006 crown.

With just one race remaining, Dixon lies fourth in the season point standings just 21 points behind Helio Castroneves. The 26-year-old New Zealander is the only driver to finish every race this season.

"Straight out of the box we had good speed. I expected to be back at the top, once we had the right equipment," Dixon said. "Throughout every race weekend, one of the (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) cars could have won the race, but I don't think we finished where we should have a few times. I guess it's good to be disappointed with finishing second, because the last few years, second was like a win."

From the opening test of the season, the Ganassi drivers have shown they would be a force to be reckoned with. Dixon or Wheldon paced Open Tests at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Dixon posted top-10 finishes in every event through Texas. Included in that stretch was a repeat win at Watkins Glen International.

"Watkins is an easy one to pick out because it was back-to-back (wins)," Dixon said. "The conditions that day were pretty crazy. In qualifying, I didn't get what I wanted out of it. We went from provisional pole to fourth in the top-six shootout, but I love that circuit, and I love all the road courses we go to."

Dixon also captured a win at Nashville Superspeedway, firmly entrenching himself as a title contender

"It was a great race, especially with the guitar you get there," Dixon said. "It's pretty special, and there's not another trophy that you get that's like it."

Still with the success that he's had this season, Dixon feels like he could be in control of the title race if things had fallen right.

"There are two or three races that pop up in my head that I think we could have won, and I think there are three or four races that Dan (Wheldon) thinks he could have won," he said. "The Indy 500 was a race we were looking forward to capturing. Dan had a fast car and mine was pretty decent. I still don't understand how we didn't come away with that one."

And as the series heads to Chicagoland Speedway for the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300, Dixon is happy with a return to the front and sees himself in perfect position to capture a second series title.

"The situation that I see at the moment is Dan and myself have no pressure," he said. "The two Penske cars have to make sure they finish. We've got to try to win the last race, but if we don't, we tried our best. They need to be very careful.

"In 2003, when I won, two of the contenders took themselves out by hitting each other and falling back. I don't think it will be any different this year. There's no doubt this championship will come down to a few inches and right down to the wire."

2. Rookies, Fisher to test at Chicagoland: IndyCar Series rookies Marco Andretti, Jeff Simmons and Marty Roth will join Sarah Fisher for a one-day test at Chicagoland Speedway on Aug. 31.

Fisher will drive the No. 5 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda-powered Dallara at Chicagoland after supporting Ryan Briscoe at Infineon Raceway over the weekend.

"I'm really looking forward to the test Thursday and getting a baseline and going form there," said Fisher, who has a best starting position of 12th and a best finish of 18th at Chicagoland Speedway. "I think there are some things we can do with the down force levels and take some drag out of the car and get it to turn a bit better. We have a good game plan going into it, and we will just continue to fine tune it and hopefully we can come away with another flawless execution. Chicago seems to be bit easier as a track compared to Kentucky. But each track has it's tendencies that you have to apply. It's been a while since I've been there. I'm a life-long learner so I'm sure there are things I'll pick up again."

3. Of note: Marco Andretti became the 36th winner in IndyCar Series history and the 11th driver to win in his first season-- Dario Franchitti made his 50th IndyCar Series start at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma-- The final episode of Andretti 3, the reality series chronicling the rookie season of Marco Andretti, will be televised on Sept. 14 by ESPN2 as part of a block, which will include coverage of the Chicagoland 100 and the IndyCar Series Championship banquet.

***

The final IndyCar Series event of the 2006 season is the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be telecast live by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. ESPN2's coverage of the Carneros 100 and Valley of the Moon 100 will be broadcast at 2 p.m. on Aug. 31.The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition concludes with the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 9 at Chicagoland Speedway.

-credit: indy racing league

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