Sears Point: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Wheldon Leads Team Target with Fourth Place Finish at Sonoma SONOMA, Calif. (August 25, 2008)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon made up 12 positions over the 80-lap race at Infineon Raceway Sunday to record a season-best road course...

Wheldon Leads Team Target with Fourth Place Finish at Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. (August 25, 2008)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon made up 12 positions over the 80-lap race at Infineon Raceway Sunday to record a season-best road course finish of fourth, while teammate Scott Dixon qualified fifth but left Sonoma with a 12th place result.

Wheldon's slow and steady drive started with an off sequence pit stop on lap 10 which played out well for the No.10 Target team as strategy allowed them to run as high as second before eventually finishing fourth-- marking their 10th top-five finish of the season.

While running in the top five, Dixon made the first of his three pit stops under the race's only full course caution period on lap 16, but was shuffled back out of the top-10 on his final two stops. The slower traffic and inability to overtake ultimately proved costly for the No.9 Target team, which had to settle for its lowest finish since St. Petersburg (22nd). It was only the third finish outside the top 10 for Dixon this season.

With his 12th place finish, Dixon's IndyCar Series championship lead stands at 43 points over Helio Castroneves with two races remaining. Wheldon was mathematically eliminated from the title chase, but still remains third in the standings on the strength of two race wins, 124 points back of leader Dixon. U

Dan Wheldon: "I give Chip (Ganassi) a lot of credit. He came into the team meeting today, and he's got a lot of guests here from Target, and we wanted to perform well. Scott's (Dixon) obviously in the championship hunt, and he gave us the order that we were going to do something very alternative, and we did, and it just kind of played out perfectly. It was a great job from him and everybody. The pit stops were really good. It was just one of those races. There was a pretty clear track most of the time so it worked out. We started in the back. It is so difficult trying to pass. Tony (Kanaan) was really slow at the end, but he was quick enough in the right places so it was hard to pass. It was a good day for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. It's unfortunate for Scott. He was quick all weekend. That's the thing with these tracks, it's hard to overtake. He's one of the best guys out there. I think it's the strategy that cost him, but he'll bounce back, and he knows he's got a strong teammate in his corner to look after him."

Scott Dixon: "I'm not upset with anybody, particularly, we just did absolutely nothing right. I don't know why we stayed out when the car in front of us was three seconds slower and we couldn't make up any track position. Everything we did was wrong. We still lost a ton of points. This is a race that's very tough. Hopefully, we'll turn it around next time. It was definitely a bad day. I guess we just need to shrug it off and come back strong next week."

-credit: cgr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing