Long Beach: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Rich History: TCGR has a long history of success at Long Beach as they raced there every year between 1990-2002 (13 seasons) in the former CART Series. The last time TCGR ran the GPLB was in 2002 when Kenny Brack (finished 4th) and Bruno Junqueira...

Rich History: TCGR has a long history of success at Long Beach as they raced there every year between 1990-2002 (13 seasons) in the former CART Series. The last time TCGR ran the GPLB was in 2002 when Kenny Brack (finished 4th) and Bruno Junqueira (finished 17th) raced for the team. TCGR won the race four times in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. Jimmy Vasser won in 1996, Alex Zanardi in 1997 & 1998 and current Target NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya won it in 1999. Coincidentally, every time a TCGR driver has won the GPLB that driver has gone on to win the championship.

Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team
Former Long Beach Winner: Dixon won the 2000 Indy Lights race at Long Beach. He had a best finish of 18th in two CART starts (2001, 2002) at the track, with a best start of 18th in 2002.

Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team
Target Car: Dario will be back in a Target car this weekend sporting the traditional red and white paint scheme. This is the first time he will be in the Target paint scheme since Surfers Paradise in 2008, when he set fastest lap of the race in his return to Indy cars in Australia.

It's Good to be back: "I can't tell you how nice it was to be back in the IndyCar Series, though. I got a lot of 'Glad you're back, Dario' comments throughout the paddock and from the fans. It was nice to be back for that reason as well but I think to see the difference in the unified series, both on the track and off, from the fans to the teams to the on track product, I was very impressed with it."

What a start at St. Pete: (starting fifth and coming out of turn 1 second) "That was the most fun thing I've done in a racecar in some time! I got the idea to take the inside line from you brother Marino -- he blew by the lot of them in the first corner in 2007 ALMS race by going down the inside. I had my eyes closed at the time, and when I opened them, he showed up in P1 from way back! And I thought to myself, 'Wow...I've got to tuck that one away and use it myself'. In the morning I had gone out to practice with cold tires and said, 'Okay, where do I have to brake here on the inside line?' So I knew exactly what my point was where I had to brake in order to make the corner. Pulling up to the start I got a good, really good run on Tony Kanaan and I was drafting him. By the time I got to the start-finish I was contemplating pulling out. So I start pulling out on Tony and I think for whatever reason he was coming across, he moved over quite a lot; there was definitely something on his outside. At that point Graham [Rahal] braked when I was alongside of Tony and I was looking over and I could see the brake marker boards on the outside and I wasn't anywhere near the point I knew I had to brake yet, so I just waited...and waited...and waited...I was already alongside Graham and Graham saw me there and gave me room. It worked perfectly -- I didn't lock a brake and pulled the pass off just as I'd hoped. I touched the inside curb but that was about it. It was all fairly sort of calm and relaxed. But I heard TK describe it as a dive bomb, which wasn't really true. There was no desperation there; it was planned and worked perfectly."

Dario at Long Beach: Franchitti competed in six CART races at Long Beach (1997-2002). He had a best finish of second in 1998 and 1999, with a best start of second in 1999.

New Website: Dario relaunched his newly designed website earlier in the week at www.franchitti.com. Fans of the 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and the IndyCar Series champion can follow the 2009 racing campaign with the latest on-track news, his insightful race-by-race previews, up to date driver championship standings and all the latest driver and sponsor news from the IndyCar Series. Visitors will also be able to download desktop wallpapers and purchase official Dario Franchitti & TCGR merchandise. The site was designed by Denver based eightbysix (www.eightbysix.com), which focuses on creative website solutions for brands while providing long term strategies for an enhanced online presence.

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing