IRL: Motegi: Chip Ganassi Racing Saturday report

Team Target driver Scott Dixon won his first career pole today in Motegi, Japan. Although rain cancelled qualifying, Scott Dixon earned the top spot by virtue of setting the fastest practice lap in practice. The starting order was determined by...

Team Target driver Scott Dixon won his first career pole today in Motegi, Japan. Although rain cancelled qualifying, Scott Dixon earned the top spot by virtue of setting the fastest practice lap in practice. The starting order was determined by the combined speeds from both practices Friday and this morning's practice session. Dixon posted the fastest lap of this event, 206.996 mph, on Friday in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

The pole is the second straight for Team Target at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi circuit and the fourth pole in the last six races at the circuit. The 22-year old Kiwi worked hard on Friday to set the fastest lap in case qualifying was rained out. Dixon indicated after Friday's practice that he made a strong attempt to get an aerodynamic tow for a fast lap, as rain was in the forecast for today. The strategy certainly paid off for he and the team.

"Obviously, we would have much rather ran to earn the pole, but I'm not going to complain starting on the front," Dixon said. "I don't know that being on the front row will be that big of an advantage in the race because I think you find a lot of drafting and passing. Starting position may not be that important. I think most teams were preparing for a qualifying setup. But with what data we have gathered between Tomas (Scheckter) and myself, I'm confident that we'll have a decent race setup for tomorrow "

Dixon is in pursuit of his second victory in the last three races and the team is after their third victory in the last four races. Dixon won the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead. He is trying to duplicate last year's result in Japan as Bruno Junqueira won the pole and dominated the event en route to the victory.

Teammate Tomas Scheckter notched his 10th straight top-10 start. His lap of 206.350 mph was good enough for 4th on the grid. Scheckter was disappointed that rain forced qualifying to be canceled, but he is happy with his starting spot for the race.

"It's a little disappointing that we could not qualify today. I felt that we had a good car, and we could have taken the pole. I really can't complain because we still have a good starting position for tomorrow's race. I'm comfortable with the car, and I really think that Team Target will do well in the race."

The Indy Japan 300 can be seen on ABC Sports on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

Notes:

- Team Target has won the pole in 4 out of the 6 races in Motegi, including 3 out of the last 4.

- It is the first career pole for Scott Dixon.

- The team is going for their 3rd win in the last 4 races.

- Dixon is after his 2nd win in the last 3 races.

- Team Target has qualified 3rd or better in 10 out of the last 11 races.

- Tomas Scheckter has qualified 10th or better in 13 of the 15 races he has competed in.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Bruno Junqueira , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing