IRL: Texas: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Live from Texas...It's Saturday Night! -- Coming off their second win of the 2006 season with a road course victory at Watkins Glen, Target Chip Ganassi Racing heads to the Lone Star State for the sixth race of the 2006 IndyCar season. "America's...

Live from Texas...It's Saturday Night! -- Coming off their second win of the 2006 season with a road course victory at Watkins Glen, Target Chip Ganassi Racing heads to the Lone Star State for the sixth race of the 2006 IndyCar season. "America's Original Nighttime IndyCar Series Race" is set to take place on the high-banked oval of Texas Motor Speedway on June 10 for the Bombardier Learjet 500k (200 laps). This will be the IndyCar Series' 17th visit to Texas and the 1.5-mile oval. The track's unique 24-degree banked turns has produced some of the close racing that has been the hallmark of the IndyCar Series over the last 10 seasons.

Dixon Keeps Going and Going...-- Energized by his repeat victory last weekend at Watkins Glen in the Target Energizer e2 Lithium themed car, Scott Dixon is looking to keep the momentum going as he is back in championship hunt. With nine races in the next three months, Dixon sees plenty of opportunities for him to recapture the IRL IndyCar® Series championship as he did at Texas in 2003.

"We've definitely put ourselves back in it," says Dixon who leapfrogged into second in the standings behind Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (182-170), heading this Saturday's race at Texas Motor Speedway. "I think it's both teams pretty much at the moment to fight for that championship."

Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. is third in the standings with Target teammate, and reigning IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, is in fourth place with 157 points.

The No.9 Target Honda has started no lower than fourth on the grid in every race this season and has posted seven consecutive top ten finishes dating back to the Watkins Glen race last September including two wins.

Isn't that Special-- A one-hour documentary on Dan Wheldon and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team will air prior to ESPN's coverage of the Saturday night Bombardier LearJet 500K. "Dan Wheldon's Race for Indy" documents his joining of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team as the driver of the no.10 Target Honda and all the on and off track activities leading up to the 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The special is set to air at 8 pm EDT on ESPN on Saturday June, 10th.

Looking Back-- At Texas in 2002, Target driver Jeff Ward edged Al Unser, Jr. by .011 of a second in what was at the time, the closest finish in IRL history. In fact, four of the closest finishes in IndyCar Series history have occurred at Texas Motor Speedway, the most at any track.

In 2003, Dixon, qualified his Toyota/ G Force in second spot twice, finishing 6th in the night race, second in the season finale and was crowned the 2003 IndyCar series champion with the result.

Both night races in 2004 (credited with 8th and 14th place finishes) and 2005 (11th, 12th and 17th place finishes) were very ordinary races for the Target team as they were either hampered by less horsepower or did not finish the race due to contact.

Listen to the Man -- "Low drag. That's the name of the game at Texas. The low drag aerodynamics has to be real free in the corners so that the driver does not have to have a lot of steering input," says Eric Bretzman, Target Team Chief Engineer for Scott Dixon and the no.9 Target Honda Dallara.

"You have to have a good balance because the banking in the corners is a challenge. It's the biggest banking we see all year. It makes for higher speeds in the corners. You're not looking for as much grip as say Homestead, where the corners are tighter. The added banking at Texas makes more grip in the corner and brings the speeds up.

"Getting the car to run in a pack is also important. You'll work on getting the car to handle real well in the pack. Starting position is not critical if you can work through the field. If you're good in heavy traffic, there's not much downforce in the pack cutting the wind. You want to keep the car from having too much understeer in the pack. We'll work on that the first day and whole second day working the draft looking for different combinations of setups because we're basically trying to turn the car without relying on the front wing.

"A good car will handle good in both grooves. If the car is off, it may be easier to run the car on one groove or the other, but a good car that can win the race will be good in both grooves."

Texas Two Step-- Heading into the Texas race weekend, the Target team is just two steps, or two wins away from posting their 50th win in open-wheel racing. With last weekend's victory at the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix, Target Chip Ganassi Racing now boasts a total of 48 wins since 1994 (IRL and Champ Car), 28 of which have come on road or street courses.

Did You Know That...? -- Drivers say racing at night at Texas Motor Speedway is almost like driving in daylight, thanks to the revolutionary Musco Lighting on the superspeedway. The lighting system uses mirrors to simulate daylight, without glare and shadows. There are 187 Mirtran fixtures around the 1.5-mile track plus 48 additional light fixtures down the length of pit road, each with a 2000-watt bulb. There are also 117 light poles with 7-12 lamps with 1500-watt bulbs in each.

Watch it LIVE --Target fans can tune in to watch the Bombardier Learjet 500k on ESPN Live at 9:00 pm (EDT) on Saturday, June 10th.

Listen Up--Target fans can also listen in to the IndyCar broadcast live by IMS radio Network at 9:00 pm (EDT). The IMS Radio broadcast will also be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Ward , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Al Unser
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing