IRL: Kentucky: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Two, Four Target Team at Kentucky Sparta, Kentucky, Aug 13, 2006--Both Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers are still in the hunt for the IndyCar Series Championship with two races to go as Scott Dixon posted a second place finish with Dan Wheldon...

Two, Four Target Team at Kentucky

Sparta, Kentucky, Aug 13, 2006--Both Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers are still in the hunt for the IndyCar Series Championship with two races to go as Scott Dixon posted a second place finish with Dan Wheldon not too far behind in fourth place after a 200 lap shootout at the 1.5 mile Kentucky Speedway.

It was a four way battle all race long as both Target Honda Dallaras fought wheel to wheel against the Penske team with all four cars taking the lead at various points in the race. But in the end, Sam Hornish Jr. passed Scott Dixon with just 5 laps to go after an untimely late race caution, to take his fourth win of the year and regain the points lead in the Championship.

"Not too bad a day," said Dixon of his seventh top-five finish of the season. "The car seemed really strong early on, so I just sat back and saved fuel and that helped us with a great in-lap for our final pitstop and gave us the lead back in the final stretch. It was pretty good at the end, but the other cars seemed to get stronger, or at least they came on at the end. I was pretty happy but the restart hurt us. I think our restart gears were totally different to the Penskes', and Sam's seemed to be a lot better. It would take us a lap or two to get going after a caution and he seemed to get speed straight away. That was the difference in the end. I definitely think I would have been able to hold Sam off if we hadn't had that yellow."

Helio Castroneves finished third with a hard charging Dan Wheldon close behind after an uncharacteristic mistake on the final pit stop cost the defending series champion a shot at victory.

"It was a pretty intense race and the Target team gave me a great car that I think was even better than the Penskes," said Wheldon who added a valuable 3 points to his driver points by leading the most laps with a total of 66. "I just simply made a mistake on the last pitstop. I overshot and was too wide for the guys to plug in properly. I guess I was headed for Sam's (Hornish) pit. I think I was just too desperate for the win. It was a stupid mistake that should never happen especially at this point in the season. The Target boys did a fantastic job and performance wise, I thought we were the best out front. We just can't seem to close the deal."

Only two remaining races in the 2006 season with the road course at Infineon in California and the finale at the Chicagoland oval, and it will be a battle to the finish. With the win at Kentucky, Sam Hornish regains the points lead with 418 points, seven points ahead of Helio Castroneves (411 points). Target's Dan Wheldon (394 points) remains in third spot and is within 24 points of the leader. Target teammate Scott Dixon (385 points) is still in the hunt with his second place finish at Kentucky and is still within striking distance with a deficit of 33 points from the top spot in the Championship standings.

"They were still good points," added Dixon, whose two wins at Watkins Glen and a second place finish at St.Pete make him a favorite at the upcoming Infineon Raceway's permanent road course race. "We really needed to win to try and gain on the championship but hopefully going into Infineon, we can hopefully gain a little more."

-credit: www.chipganassiracing.com

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