Indianapolis -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced today their intentions to compete in the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. Over the last two races at the Indianapolis 500, the team has recorded one victory and scored five top-10 finishes.
Indianapolis -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced today their intentions to compete in the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. Over the last two races at the Indianapolis 500, the team has recorded one victory and scored five top-10 finishes. The lineup for this year's team include Kenny Brack, the winner of the 1999 Indianapolis 500, full-time Chip Ganassi Racing IRL driver Jeff Ward and Bruno Junqueira, who finished fifth in his first Indy 500 last year and
In 2001, Team Target qualified four cars for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing", placing three of the cars in the top 6 finishing positions. Jimmy Vasser finished fourth, Junqueira placed fifth and Tony Stewart came home in sixth after leading 13 laps. This year, the goals are set much higher: To win the race for the second time in three years. Although former Team Target driver Tony Stewart is not returning for the 2002 Indy 500, the team is confident that Target Chip Ganassi Racing can return to victory lane on May 26. Team owner Chip Ganassi feels that his stable of drivers has the ingredients for a winning recipe this year.
"It takes a special driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and I feel that Kenny, Bruno and Jeff are all in that category," said Ganassi, who competed in five races at Indianapolis from 1982 to 1986. "All three guys have shown that they can finish at the front in the Indy 500 and that's what you need to do to win there. You have to be there at the end with a chance to win. All three guys have recorded top-five finishes at the speedway, so I'm confident that any one of them can win this race. It's great to be a part of another Indianapolis 500."
Kenny Brack joins Team Target this year after competing in 3 prior Indianapolis 500 races. In his last appearance at the 2.5-mile oval, Brack found himself in victory lane as the winner of the 83rd running of the Indy 500. Brack is excited about returning to the Brickyard. "Returning to the Indianapolis 500 is one of the main reasons why I wanted to join Team Target," Brack said. "This team has proven that they can win here and that gives you a lot of confidence. For the last two years it has been difficult watching the race and not competing in it. Now I get another chance to win the greatest race in the world. I can't wait to get the month of May started."
Jeff Ward has an impeccable record on the legendary speedway, posting three top-five finishes in five Indianapolis 500 races. In his debut at the 2.5-mile oval in 1997, Ward qualified seventh led 49 laps en route to an amazing third-place finish. His performance earned him Bank One Rookie of the Year honors. His best result came in the 1999 Indy 500, finishing second to his teammate this year, Kenny Brack. In 2000, Ward qualified sixth and finished fourth to earn his 3rd top five finish in four starts. Ward is excited to have another opportunity to run in the Indianapolis 500.
"We have had a lot of success so far this year in the Indy Racing League," Ward said. "The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite track and I've several good runs there. I feel that I had a legitimate shot at winning three of the five races that I've run in. And now I'm with a team that has won it before, so it's a great combination. I'm excited to be there this year as a member of Team Target."
Although he was a last minute addition to the Team Target Indy 500 effort, Junqueira was ready for the challenge. After limited practice time, Junqueira would go on to post an impressive fifth place finish in his very first Indianapolis 500.
"It was an incredible feeling," Junqueira said. "To be able to have a top-5 finish was a good accomplishment for me. Now I want to go out and win the race. I know that this team can do it and I believe that I can do it. I have a year of experience under my belt now and I'm happy to have the opportunity again this year."
Brack will work with Team Target engineer Julian Robertson and drive the No. 22 Target G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. Ward will drive the No. 9 Target G Force Chevrolet/Firestone entry with Mark Paxton handling the engineering duties. Junqueira will unite with engineer Bill Pappas and drive the No. 33 Target G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone entry.
The team will begin their preparations for the Indy 500 with their first test session scheduled for Tuesday, April 9.