IRL: Motegi: Chip Ganassi Racing Friday report

Front Row start for Target at Japan Due to rain, qualifying positions for the Japan Indy 300 will be determined by entrant point standings. Scott Dixon will start from second spot on the front row while Target teammate Dan Wheldon will take...

Front Row start for Target at Japan

Due to rain, qualifying positions for the Japan Indy 300 will be determined by entrant point standings. Scott Dixon will start from second spot on the front row while Target teammate Dan Wheldon will take the green flag from a third place starting position.

#9 Scott Dixon- Honda / Dallara /Firestone
Starting Position: 2nd

"This is usually a race of very high attrition so starting from the front row with clean air and less traffic is a nice advantage to have. The start of the race and that first stint is sure to be intense and chaotic. Historically, there have been a lot of cautions and most of the pit stops take place under yellow. I think I remember only one occasion that we had to pit under green. The key will be to stay out of trouble and at the front. It should be a good show for these passionate Japanese fans."

#10 Dan Wheldon- Honda / Dallara /Firestone
Starting Position: 3rd

"Japan has been very good to me and I am happy to be racing again in Honda's home track. Twin Ring Motegi is such a challenging track and it is always an exciting race. It's unfortunate that we didn't have qualifying and have to start on points but it was the right decision to make given the limited track time for everyone. Today we just worked on perfect our Target car and it went well for us so I am looking forward to having a very good day."

NOTES:

* Coming Up This Weekend- The "Land of the Rising Sun" plays host to Target Chip Ganassi Racing and the IndyCar Series for their fourth visit to Twin Ring Motegi. The facility sits inside of a mountain top in Tochigi Prefecture, about 60 miles northeast of Tokyo, Japan. The track is a 1.5 mile high banked, uniquely egg-shaped, superspeedway and the race will be contested over 300 miles or 200 laps. It is the third race of the 14-race 2006 IRL IndyCar series season.

* Back on Track- Inclement weather wrecked havoc on the race weekend schedule as both Thursday and Friday morning practice at Twin Ring Motegi were rained out. IndyCars finally got limited track time on both afternoons but the unpredictability of the weather necessitated a decision to cancel qualifications. Starting positions for the Japan Indy 300 will be determined by entrant point standings. Scott Dixon will start from second spot on the front row while Target teammate Dan Wheldon will take the green flag from a third place starting position.

* Look! We've got a Streaker!- Dan Wheldon, driver of the no.10 Target, has won the last two IndyCar Series races at Motegi. Those victories, he said, set the stage for his runner-up finish to Buddy Rice in 2004's Indianapolis 500 and his Indy 500 win last year. No driver has ever won three consecutive times at the same track in the IndyCar Series era.

"Motegi is a good race to win, and it's a track that's been kind to me," says Wheldon. "It is a good stage for Indy and will be again if I can win there three years in a row. It's always difficult when you keep winning a race to continue that streak without something going wrong. I hope this is not the year for that, and I hope that year never comes."

* Checking in the Rear View Mirrors- Dan Wheldon is looking to defend his wins (2004-05) at TWR the past two years while Scott Dixon would love an incident free weekend and to find his way to victory circle.

In 2005, the three Target entries scored 8th (10 car with Darren Manning), 12th (33 car with Ryan Briscoe) place finishes while Scott Dixon saw more of the race from the pits than his cockpit when he was knocked out of the race on the very first lap after his #9 Target Toyota was an unfortunate bystander of a spin in front of him.

In 2004 both Target Chip Ganassi Racing cars crossed the finish line in the top five. From his tenth place starting position, Darren Manning took the checkered flag in fourth place while Dixon finished just behind his teammate in fifth spot, after starting the race from sixth spot on the grid and sporting a sore left ankle following an accident in the first practice of the race weekend.

In 2003 Scott Dixon won the pole and the two Target cars fought for the lead.

* Did You Know That...? The Twin Ring Motegi facility got its name from the fact that it contains two major racing facilities, a 1.5-mile oval and a 3-mile, 14-turn road course that winds underneath and east of the oval. The IndyCar series will run, as it always has, on the superspeedway oval this weekend.

* By the Numbers- After 19 starts, Dan Wheldon won his first race at Motegi.

* Where the Rubber Meets the Road- According to Firestone engineers, the high-banked superspeedway at Twin Ring Motegi requires the company's most durable construction and compounds with high-heat durability. The tire specification selected for this weekend's race features the same sidewall construction as used last season at Twin Ring Motegi, with an updated compound formula that should yield better wear characteristics while also improving the grip level for the right-side tires.

* Watch it!- Target fans can tune in to watch the Indy Japan 300 on ESPN at Noon (EDT) on Saturday, April 22 (tape delayed) ,

* Listen in LIVE- Target fans can listen in to the IndyCar broadcast live by the IMS Radio Network at 11:30 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, April 21. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Channel" and webcast on indycar.com

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing