Target Wins 50th Race with a 1-2 Finish at Chicago
Joliet, Illinois, September 10, 2006--Target Chip Ganassi Racing earned its' 50th win in dramatic fashion to close out the 2006 IndyCar Season with a 1-2 finish at Chicagoland Speedway. However, even after leading the most laps (166), winning their fourth race and posting their second 1-2 finish of the year, the Target team and the Dan Wheldon fell just short of the IndyCar Series Championship win by tying in points with Penske driver Sam Hornish with 475, then relinquishing the crown with two less wins (Hornish 4 - Wheldon 2) for the tiebreaker.
"The Target team did everything right this weekend," said team owner Chip Ganassi." We led the most laps, won the race with a 1-2 finish and there wasn't any more they could have done out there today. It was our 50th win with Target and that's a lot to be proud of today. Our congratulations go out to Roger (Penske) and his team. It was a great battle all season long."
Scott Dixon led 23 laps of his own and finished second to end up fourth in the Championship standings with 460 points. Helio Castroneves finished fourth in the race for a third place finish in the Championship standings (473 points).
Both Target cars successfully fended off the Penske duo, but battled each other just as hard all race long, even making contact on multiple occasions.
"Scott had the same strategy as me and we both wanted to lead the most laps and win the race," said Wheldon who started and finished the season with a win and led the most laps (761) of any driver this year. "I had to do everything I could to cross that line first and I told the team all week that if I was going to lose this championship, I was going to go out fighting and we both did that. This was a really good day for the Target team and the goal was to do everything in my power to win the championship but it just wasn't quite enough."
"Target Chip Ganassi Racing gave me a very good car, as they have done all season," added Wheldon. "We've certainly led our fair share of laps this year so you got to give credit to the boys for that. I think a lot of people have got to be impressed with the equality of the Honda engines. The reliability and the fact that the top four protagonists were all separated by hundredths at some point was pretty impressive. It's a good way to end the season."
"We had another 1-2 victory, a 50th win for the Target team, and it was just a lot of fun." said Dixon who posted a ninth top-five finish this season. "It was getting pretty close towards the end, pretty tight. I think Dan and I touched a couple times but it was good fun. I think the Target team has done a superb job bouncing back from two really tough years. It's been great for Target, Chip (Ganassi), all the mechanics and engineers, because they do put in so much hard work. To be able to see that pay off with wins and being fast, and a couple of 1-2's finishes this year, including today, has been tremendous. I'm surprised in many ways we did catch up so quickly changing chassis because there is a lot of work, aerodynamics, things like that, trying to find speed. The team did that very well. I think we can carry the momentum to next year. Everything's looking pretty rosy at the moment."