IRL: Indy 500: CGR team Opening Day report

Scott Dixon Sets the Pace on Opening Day for the 88th Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis, Indiana, May 9th, 2004-- Target Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon lead the charge towards the 88th Indianapolis 500 with the fastest lap speed (219.760 mph) on...

Scott Dixon Sets the Pace on Opening Day for the 88th Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis, Indiana, May 9th, 2004-- Target Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon lead the charge towards the 88th Indianapolis 500 with the fastest lap speed (219.760 mph) on opening day for the "greatest spectacle on earth" at the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dixon was joined atop the leader board after a full day of practice by Helio Castroneves (219.752 mph) and Adrian Fernandez (218.342 mph).

Target teammate Darren Manning, who is an Indy 500 rookie, finished the day with the ten fastest lap time (217.218 mph) and an new appreciation for the fans' support on the first day of a month long build up to the famed race event.

"It was very exciting to start of my Indy 500 experience by seeing so many fans coming out to the track," said Manning. "It really helps set the tone and mood for the month. I can't believe we're three weeks away from the race and there's already such a buzz. It's great."

Scott Dixon echoed his teammate's sentiments about the fans. "It was great to see so many fans out here with their families at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and have the weather collaborate as well. It really is a nice way to start off the month of May. It was a good start for us on track as well. We trimmed the car out just a bit because it was feeling pretty comfortable. We put some new tires on it and had a good run out there and I could feel that Toyota has made some great gains with the engine. The track was pretty greasy today and the wind was a factor but I was surprised to find that we still had some pretty good grip out there. We'll be pacing ourselves this week and throughout the month but it certainly helps to begin the month on a positive note."

Both drivers put in laps with both their primary and back up cars, but for Manning it was more about getting reacquainted with the race track. "Today was about building my confidence up again after a humbling experience with the wall during the open test. We went out with plenty of downforce on the car and we're going to take it a step at the time. We plan to stay in the top ten and work our way up everyday. This week it's all about Pole day. We'll do qualifying runs towards the end of the week. The team tells me that patience will be the key and I aim to follow their lead."

Practice for the 88th Indianapolis 500 continues all week, with qualifying to take place on Pole Day, this Saturday May 15th . Target Chip Ganassi Racing fans can watch live coverage of qualifying on Pole day for the Indy 500 on ESPN on May 15th at 12 pm (EDT) or listen in on the IMS Radio Network. Throughout the 2004 season, fans are invited to follow the team's progress by logging onto their official website at target.com/racing for news, features, photos and much more.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Adrian Fernandez , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing