IRL: Kentucky: Chip Ganassi Racing qualifying report

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#10 Dan Wheldon- Honda / Dallara /Firestone

"We're disappointed of course to find ourselves behind the Penskes. The bottom line is that we're going to have to dig deep and make the most of every opportunity but more importantly to create some opportunities and this Target team is certainly motivated to do that."

Dan Wheldon was the fastest driver in the first practice with a speed of 218.612 mph (24.3720 seconds)

This will be Wheldon's fourth start at Kentucky

Wheldon's best qualifying effort at Kentucky was a 2nd place in 2005

Wheldon best finish at Kentucky was 3rd in both 2004 and 2005.

#9 Scott Dixon- Honda / Dallara /Firestone

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty disappointed with that qualifying time. We weren't even close to being as quick as we thought we'd be for the run. We certainly didn't think we'd be a mile and a half slower. Not quite sure why that is. The same thing happened to us at Michigan. The good news is that it really doesn't matter where you start here at Kentucky. The Target team's put together a really good comfortable car for the race. It's always best to be in the top half of the grid for the start and the fifth spot really isn't that bad. You can win from anywhere here and we're going to have to do that to stay in the Championship race."

Scott Dixon was fastest in the second practice with a speed of 218.77 mph (24.3536 seconds)

This will be Dixon's fourth start at Kentucky

Dixon's best starting position on the grid at Kentucky was 2nd spot on the front row in 2003.

Dixon's best finishing position at Kentucky was 2nd in 2003

Target team has never won at the Kentucky speedway.

MORE NOTES

Coming Up this Weekend-- Target Chip Ganassi Racing will prepare their Honda powered Dallaras to take on the 1.5 mile asphalt tri-oval of Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY, for a 200 lap contest. The Kentucky race features fast, wide open racing and boasts two of the 20-closest finishes in series history. It was also known as the bumpiest track on the IndyCar circuit however recent changes may have improved the track surface. This will be the 12th of 14 races on the 2006 schedule.

The Final Stretch-- Just three races remain and the IndyCar Series Championship battle gets even more interesting as Helio Castroneves (376 points) took over the points lead by eight over his teammate, Sam Hornish Jr. (368) after taking the win in Michigan two weekends ago. Target's Dan Wheldon (359) moved up into third spot and is within 17 points of the leader, while teammate Scott Dixon (345 points) falls to fourth in the championship standings, 31 points in arrears of the top spot.

While some may look at the driver's points standings and think that the championship has already been decided, Scott Dixon's experience in winning the 2003 IndyCar Series title has taught him different.

"With three races to go in 2003, I was in fourth place in the driver standings with a 42 point deficit behind Castroneves," said Dixon who won the championship with a second place finish in the season finale. "There were five of us in the hunt and it was consistency, the Target team's "never give up" attitude and teamwork that won us the championship that year. We are nowhere near ready to give up on that now. The last two races were very frustrating for us but with three races left, we still can do this. We have all the elements to be successful. I've got two wins this year and I'm looking for more. I started second and finished second at Kentucky in 2003. No one should count us out."

2005 IndyCar champion Dan Wheldon has every intention of defending his title.

"I came to the Target team with a lot of goals, and one of them was to win the championship with a new team," said Wheldon posted his first victory for the team in the season opener at Homestead-Miami. "That hasn't changed. I can't deny that it has been disappointing not to capitalize on every opportunity we had this year. We've had a lot of them but there was always something. But with just three races left, we are that much more motivated to win. I've had less wins than any of the other drivers in the hunt but I'm only 17 points out. It's a great opportunity to show what we have now and I intend on battling to the end."

-credit: www.chipganassiracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornis
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing