TARGET TEAM WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL RACE ADVANCE
THIS WEEKEND'S INDYCAR ACTION: Target Team drivers Scott Dixon (No.9 Target Honda-powered Dallara) and Dan Wheldon (No.10 Target Honda-powered Dallara) hit the road for the second road/street course of the 2007 IndyCar season at the historic 3.37-mile road circuit of Watkins Glen International in New York. The Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix is the 10th race in 17-race 2007 season.
INDY PRO SERIES: The second half of the Indy Pro Series season kicks off at Watkins Glen where Chris Festa and the no.9 CareCentric Target team will compete in two races this weekend on the 11-turn, 3.37-mile road course. Festa had a pole position and a second place finish in the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway but is still looking for an elusive win.
VENUE: The historic 3.37-mile undulating road circuit of Watkins Glen International is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. The racetrack features 11 turns on the long course with varied banking between 6 and 10 degrees, 115 feet between the lowest point and the highest point of the track, and highlighted by "The Boot," "The Loop" and "The Chute". Formula 1 visited Watkins Glen in 1961 for the first Watkins U.S. Grand Prix and continued with a fall visit through 1980. Winners have included Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi, and James Hunt.
TV RACE BROADCAST AIR DATE: 3:30 pm (ET) Live on ABC, Sunday, July 8, 2007
FRIDAY INDYCAR PRACTICE RECAP: In Friday morning practice, Scott Dixon was sixth quickest with at lap time of 1 min 30.5734 seconds and average speed of 134.947 mph. Target teammate Dan Wheldon was sixth with a time of 1 min 30.6998 seconds / 133.760 mph. In the afternoon session, Dixon improved his time and posted the second fastest lap of the day (1 min 30.1587 seconds/ 134.563 mph) while Wheldon was seventh overall on the scoring charts with a fast time of 1 min 30.669 (133.760 mph).
ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Target Chip Ganassi Racing is looking to defend its previous two win at Watkins Glen to continue the team's long history of success on road/street courses. The team boasts a total of 52 wins since 1994 (IRL and Champ Car) and 28 of which have come on road or street courses. The team's last road course win was here at Watkins Glen in 2006 with Scott Dixon. In 2007, the series visits five road/street courses (St. Pete, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, Sonoma, Detroit). Dixon finished second on the streets of St. Petersburg earlier this season.
START OF SOMETHING GOOD: Scott Dixon and the Target team's victory at Watkins Glen in 2005 proved to be the jump start the team needed after a long 40 race winless drought. In the 25 races since that win, Dixon has scored two more trips to victory circle, two pole positions, 16 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes and includes the repeat win at Watkins in 2006. Dixon has also run at the finish of every race since that win, a record consecutive streak of 25 races. (ties him at the moment with Tony Kanaan's record from 2004-2005)
THREE-PEAT POSSIBILTY: Scott Dixon, two-time defending champion at Watkins Glen International, is hoping to become the second IndyCar Series driver to win three-straight races at one track. Dan Wheldon won his third straight race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to start the 2007 season.
A LITTLE SOMETHING NEW: The one major difference this year at Watkins Glen from the two previous races is the team's running of a Honda-Dallara chassis combination for the first time at this track. The team previously won at Watkins Glen with a Toyota/ Panoz in 2005 and a Honda/ Panoz in 2006.
A LOOK at WATKINS IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR: The Target team has won both previous events at Watkins Glen International with Scott Dixon and the no.9 Target car. Both times, Dixon had started from a fourth place spot of the grid.
Dan Wheldon clinched his IndyCar Championship title (with AGR) in September of 2005 at Watkins Glen with a fifth place finish in the inaugural event. In 2006, after qualifying fifth, Wheldon was credited with a 15th place finish after a broken drive shaft ended his day in the pits.
THE (Championship) RACE IS ON! Following the ninth race of the IndyCar season, Scott Dixon moved into second place in the IndyCar Series Championship standings with 294 points, 65 points behind race winner and leader Dario Franchitti (359 points) Dan Wheldon (287 points) moved into a tie for third with Tony Kanaan (297 points), trailing Target teammate Dixon by 7 points. Sam Hornish Jr. rounds out the top five with 242 points.
Dixon is the only driver in the top-6 that has not yet won a race this season. He holds the second spot in the championship on the merit of consistency and four runner-up finishes, two of which have been to points leader Dario Franchitti.
SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: At the mid-way point of the season, highlights this season to date include ten top-5 finishes to date, a pole position and two race wins. The Target team has lead 633 laps of a possible 1569, as Dan Wheldon led 201 more laps than any other IndyCar driver. Wheldon also has a pair of victories and three other top-five finishes while Dixon keeps his streak of running at the finish alive at 25 consecutive races.
ST. JUDE 2007 TALLY: The Target team's St. Jude Children's Hospital and Target House donation with two wins ($5000 each), two pole positions ($1000 each) and 643 laps led ($25 each) by the NASCAR (3 laps), IndyCar (633 laps) and Grand Am Target cars (7 laps) brings the total to $25,125 this season to date.
LAST RACE: SunTrust Indy Challenge 250 at Richmond International Raceway June 30, 2007
NEXT RACE: Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday Night, July 14, 2007
TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING QUOTEBOARD:
Scott Dixon: "We made a few changes, and it seemed to improve the car. We had a little bit of trouble towards the end, ran out of fuel, so we had to come in. After that, we did that one lap straight out of the box, so it does seem fairly decent. We just need to fine tune a little bit and hopefully pick up a little more speed for tomorrow."