IRL: Indy 500: Chip Ganassi Racing opening day notes

Target Racing's Road to Indy- Opening Day Notes & Quotes * Coming Up This Month --Target Chip Ganassi Racing has submitted three entries for the 89th running of the prestigious Indianapolis 500 with drivers Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and...

Target Racing's Road to Indy- Opening Day Notes & Quotes

* Coming Up This Month --Target Chip Ganassi Racing has submitted three entries for the 89th running of the prestigious Indianapolis 500 with drivers Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and rookie Ryan Briscoe. Qualifying is set take place on the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Saturday, May 14th (Pole Day) from 12 to 6 pm EST. Race Day is set for Sunday May 29th at 12 pm EST.

* Opening Day & ROP with Ryan Briscoe -- Opening Day for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 began with the Rookie Orientation Program on May 8 with Target driver Ryan Briscoe taking part in order to get acquainted with the famed speedway for the first time. He was among eight rookies, including Sebastien Bourdais, Jeff Bucknum, Patrick Carpentier, Paul Dana, Tomas Enge, Scott Mayer, and Danica Patrick, participating in the first day of the program designed to provide first-year drivers, or the uninitiated to the super speedway track, to an informal opportunity to get familiar with the 2.5-mile oval and qualify for participation in the event this month.

Drivers have to complete four 10-lap speed phases, which are set by IRL Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Brian Barnhart based on the weather and track conditions and performance expectations. The phases are categorized by speed: Phase 1: 195-200 mph; Phase 2: 200-205 mph; Phase 3: 205-210 mph; and Phase 4: 210 mph-plus. (The fourth phase may be completed on opening day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.)

Briscoe quickly passed the four required speed phases of the program and put in 88 laps and set a fast lap speed of 220.546 mph (40.8079 seconds) and was second fastest of the day.

"I had a very good day today with the #33 Target Pioneer Toyota and it was great to finally experience the Indianapolis Motor Speedway first hand after hearing so much about it," says Briscoe. "This was my first time running at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and everything went very smoothly and as planned for the Rookie Orientation Program. We did a few extras run at the end, made some changes to the balance so I could get a good feel for the track, and watched the wind changes. I just worked on building up my confidence along with the speed. It's the first time I've run this fast on any track and we got up to 220 miles per hour today. There's a lot more speed to be gained in the next few weeks but I'm going to take in a bit at a time and give the track the respect it demands."

* The Daily Blog -- Starting May 9th and for the entire month of May, leading up to the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500, all three Target IndyCar drivers will post a daily blog (a web log or on line diary) for fans. Check in on the www.targetracing.com site everyday throughout the month to see what Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and Ryan Briscoe are thinking about and doing in preparation for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing".

* #9 Scott Dixon --The 2003 IndyCar Series Champion will make his third attempt at victory at the Indianapolis 500 May 29th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Last year, Dixon started 13th and was the highest finishing Toyota with an eighth place finish. In 2003, Dixon qualified fourth as a rookie and led 15 laps. He is the third driver from New Zealand to compete in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing". Fellow Kiwi Denis Hulme placed fourth in both the 1967 and '68 Indy 500s, and was named the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in '67. Hulme competed in two more Indianapolis 500 races, the final one for New Zealand's Bruce McLaren's team in 1971. Another New Zealander, Graham McRae was also named Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in his only appearance in 1973. This season Dixon is paired up with chief engineer, Eric Bretzman and crew chief Sean Hanrahan.

* #10 Darren Manning --Englishman Darren Manning will attempt his second career start after qualifying 15th in 2004 and credited with a 25th place finish after an unfortunate accident involving a backmarker on lap 104. This year Manning hopes to end his country's nearly 40-year drought in the Indianapolis 500. The last Indy 500 winner from Great Britain was Graham Hill, who beat his Lotus teammate Jim Clark in 1966. Bill Pappas will once again be chief engineer for the #10 Target Toyota Panoz along with crew chief Dave Higuera.

* #33 Ryan Briscoe -- Rookie Ryan Briscoe will make his first attempt at an appearance at the Indianapolis 500 at the helm of the #33 Target Pioneer Toyota Panoz. Eight rookies have won the prestigious race including Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Juan Montoya in 2000. Briscoe hopes to be next on that list. He will also be the fourth Aussie to attempt to taste victory at the Indianapolis 500; Sir Jack Brabham (1961, 1964, 1969, 1970) whose best finish was ninth, Vern Schuppan (1976, 79, 81) who came closest with a third place finish at Indy in 1981, and Geoff Brabham (1981-1987; 1990, 1991, 1993) whose best was a fourth place in 1983. Briscoe's chief engineer will be Julian Robertson and his crew chief will be Ricky Davis.

* Mike Hull --Team Managing Director Mike Hull will celebrate his 16th participation in the May event this season. His first was in 1981 with Arciero Racing as a chief mechanic. Following that, he was with Jim Hayhoe's team (along with chief engineer Bill Pappas) when Jimmy Vasser won fastest rookie in the 1992 Indy 500 field, won the Indy 500 Pole with Arie Luyendyk the year he joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing (1993), and tasted victory with Montoya's win in 2000.

* Chip Ganassi -- Team Owner Chip Ganassi has himself competed in the Indianapolis 500 as a driver on five occasions from 1982-86. He was co-owner of the team that won Indy with Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989, but as team owner of the Target team, Ganassi won the Borg-Warner Trophy with Montoya in 2000. The following year, the Target team had its largest number of entries with four cars competing in the famous race with drivers Bruno Junqueira, Nicolas Minassian, Jimmy Vasser and Tony Stewart. In 2002, the team had three entries with Kenny Brack, Bruno Junqueira and Jeff Ward.

* Watch it! -- Target fans across the country can watch nightly updates on "SportsCenter at the Indianapolis 500," airing live from 6:30-7 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2 with popular motorsports commentator Dr. Jerry Punch serving as host. Former IndyCar Series driver Scott Goodyear will offer analysis, and Marlo Klain will report on the latest news from the garage area and pit lane. The "SportsCenter at the Indianapolis 500" shows start May 9. Fans can also tune in to watch the Target team qualify on Saturday, May 14th as ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will team up to provide six hours of Pole Day Qualifying coverage starting at 1 pm EDT.

* Listen Up! -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network and its affiliates will provide extensive coverage from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout the month of May leading up to and including the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Sunday, May 29. More than 400 affiliate IMS Radio Network radio stations located throughout the United States and Canada -- plus the LeSea Broadcasting network, which provides worldwide shortwave radio coverage, and the American Forces Radio Network, which broadcasts to United States military installations and ships around the world -- will broadcast live Race Day coverage of the Indianapolis 500 at noon (EDT) May 29 with a pre-race show, followed by the Indianapolis 500 broadcast at 1 p.m.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Enge , Darren Manning , Jeff Ward , Arie Luyendyk , Scott Goodyear , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Scott Dixon , Kenny Brack , Jim Clark , Bruce McLaren , Sébastien Bourdais , Vern Schuppan , Ryan Briscoe , Emerson Fittipaldi , Jeff Bucknum , Scott Mayer , Paul Dana , Jack Brabham , Chip Ganassi , Geoff Brabham , Mike Hull , Graham Hill , Brian Barnhart , Danica Patrick
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing