IRL: Kentucky: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Target Has Bumpy Ride at Kentucky Sparta, Kentucky, Sunday August 14, 2005 -- After rain washed out Saturday's qualifying session at Kentucky Speedway for the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 200, starting positions were determined by...

Target Has Bumpy Ride at Kentucky

Sparta, Kentucky, Sunday August 14, 2005 -- After rain washed out Saturday's qualifying session at Kentucky Speedway for the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 200, starting positions were determined by combined practice times with Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon claiming the fourth spot on the grid for the second consecutive race. No. 33 Target Pioneer Toyota driver Ryan Briscoe was gridded in lucky position 13 while Jaques Lazier, in his second start with the Target team in the no.10 Toyota Panoz, took the green flag from 17th place.

It was a tough start for Dixon on the bumpy Kentucky track as he fell back immediately on the start but after making some minor adjustments to the no.9 Target Toyota was climbing back up through the field. Unfortunately, after just 27 laps, smoke began to emanate from the rear of the car and Dixon was forced to abandon the cause for the second race in a row with electrical issues.

"I was too loose on the start which dropped me back midway but after putting some weight to the right the car was much easier to drive and I was making my way back up." said Dixon. "It's disappointing to end another race this way but I expect we'll be back to form next weekend."

Target rookie Ryan Briscoe had a much stronger showing and was in eighth place in the final sprint for the checkered flag but despite battling hard and contending with the challenge of not having a clutch from the start of the race, was relegated to a 13th place finish when all was said and done.

"It was really close racing out there today," said Briscoe. "It was a great race and I don't think I've ever worked so hard for it. I lost the clutch right at the start of the race so that definitely cost us positions every time we came in to the pits but my Target crew was just awesome getting me out there quickly. We were right there at the end moving up into eighth spot but with 15 laps to go, the no.33 target Pioneer Toyota had a lot of understeer and the right rear tire was blistering. In that last shootout I thought (Sam) Hornish was going to the high line but instead came in and I had a bit of a moment but kept it going. It certainly is something to build on for next weekend in Pikes Peak."

Newcomer to the Target team, Jaques Lazier put in a good effort to try to master the bumpy Kentucky Speedway track in the no.10 Target Toyota, bring it home in 15th place.

"That was one tough race," said Lazier. "I just couldn't get the no.10 Target Toyota to work for me today. It was just too inconsistent but the Target team did a great job making changes throughout the race to keep me in there. The car was really sliding out there and we had issues with a blistering tire. The Target team showed a lot of character trying to improve the car and our position and we just kept fighting to the end."

Scott Sharp held off Vitor Meira to claim his first IndyCar Series victory in more than two seasons, winning the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Sharp passed series points leader Dan Wheldon on Lap 134 and dueled with the Indianapolis 500 winner over the next 30 laps. A late caution set up a 25-lap sprint between Sharp, Meira and Wheldon, with Sharp claiming Fernandez Racing's second consecutive win at Kentucky by 0.0779 of a second over Meira.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing now prepares to head west for the next two races. The first stop will be the 1.5 mile oval at Pikes Peak, CO, on Sunday, August 21st, followed by a road trip to Sonoma, CA., for the August 28th race, the second of three road races of the 2005 season.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , Jaques Lazier , Vitor Meira
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing