Chip Ganassi Racing scores big on Carb Day

Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan topped the speed chart for the final practice session.

Chip Ganassi Racing scores big on Carb Day

INDIANAPOLIS - Target Chip Ganassi Racing hopes a successful Coors Light Carb Day will indicate a good Indianapolis 500 Race Day.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, who will start the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race from the inside of the sixth row, topped the speed chart for the final practice session, the final opportunity for teams to fine-tune their cars before Race Day.

Kanaan, driving the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, topped the speed chart with a quick lap of 227.838 mph with teammate Scott Dixon (227.773 mph) and KV Racing Technology's Townsend Bell (227.221) right behind.

Similarly, Dixon hopes that winning the Tag Heuer Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition could be a good omen for the team.

Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, defeated rookie Sage Karam of Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing with Chip Ganassi Racing in the championship round. His pit crew received the $50,000 first place prize for its speed, precision and accuracy.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Jim Haines

The winner of the competition has gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 six times, most recently with Castroneves in 2009. It was the second win for both Dixon and Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the last three years.

Also on Coors Light Carb Day, Gabby Chaves came from behind on the final corner of the final lap to overtake Matthew Brabham and win a thrilling Freedom 100.

The 20-year-old Chaves, who finished second in last year's four-wide Freedom 100 finish, won the race by .0050 of a second.

It was the second consecutive Freedom 100 win for Belardi Auto Racing, which won the race last season with the No. 5 car of Peter Dempsey.

Sammy Hagar and the Wabos and Sublime with Rome headlined a concert to conclude the busy day.

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "We feel good about it. I think we worked pretty hard together to make it up for our Saturday qualifying. We have great people back in the engineering office at Target Chip Ganassi Racing. We showed that a little bit on Monday after qualifying and today. Lap times don't count today. It feels good to be up there, but that's not what it's all about. We ran a lot in traffic. I can say I'm pretty happy about it."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "The 9 car feels good. The 10 car, quick this morning. As Tony touched on, it's just placing yourself to get a big tow. You try to take the most you can out of it, pop up to the top. I think the cars were consistent. Balance-wise, very good. Able to sort of maneuver through some of the traffic. But I think as we all know the competition is extremely tough and it looks like there's many good cars out there."

SAGE KARAM (No. 22 Comfort Revolution/Brantley Gilbert Chevrolet): "This is a big learning experience for me. Every day I'm learning something new, and today was more of a race trim situation running with more cars. I was following (James) Hinchcliffe, and it looked like he had a bit of a wiggle in Turn 3, so I had a huge run going into four. I got closer than I should have been, and was below him when he went low, so I crossed his path, and I had no air on the front wing. I had the wheel fully locked to the left trying to turn it, and once I lost it on the bottom and washed up, as soon as the air hit the wing the thing just snapped. We were lucky to save it and get away with minor damage. Like I said, I'm learning every day, and thankfully I learned this today and not Sunday."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Honestly I'm pretty happy with the No. 2 Verizon Chevy. We ended this practice session the best we had been yet, especially in traffic. I'm really excited about the race. Do we have a winning car? I think so, but I will know more after 500 miles on Sunday."

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "I think we did the most laps out of anyone during that session. We were just working for the race and understanding everything so that was the plan for today, to run as many laps as possible to get ready for the race. The track was very similar to when we ran on Monday. It is a little bit hotter today but it didn't really make a difference. I am just looking forward to getting in the car for the race on Sunday."

JACQUES VILLENEUVE (No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "The car handled well, but today is like a warm-up. I saw some guys out there taking big risks. We didn't do that, and the car is handling better than it has been all week. We're happy right now, which is a good place to be heading into the race on Sunday."

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda): "My car was really good today. I think Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is working hard right now, and it's helping me feel prepared for my first Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. We were very fast in traffic today during practice. I think we'll have a good chance during the race, we're just going to have to be ready to fight and stay out of trouble."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "It was great to get back out in the No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet after having a few days out of the car. Carb Day is really important for the team to make final changes to the car and get everything in order for Sunday. We have a few things we need to tweak before the race, but overall I felt that the car handled really well out there today. I'm really excited to get out there on Sunday, and I have a lot of confidence in the car and the team."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "You have to be really smart on Carb Day going into race weekend. You want to make sure you have everything in order for Sunday after this final practice today. We spent a lot of time today working in traffic and running full fuel. We also focused on making sure that pressures and heights, the more detailed areas, were correct. I feel confident and happy with the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet and I think the whole Chip Ganassi Racing organization looks really strong for the race on Sunday."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Wynn Institute for Vision Research Chevrolet): "We've been focusing on race set-ups the whole time we've been on the track. The race is what we're here to do. The Wynn Vision Research car is pretty good race car. There are still a lot of unknown elements because how sensitive the track is to temperature. So, we'll have to see what race day brings. I think we're inside the strike window of having a really good race car. You can't have a good race day without a good race car. You have to remember, we're essentially an all new team from last year, so we practiced the things today that are important. We got our work done early on the race track, so we were able to spend some time fine-tuning our pit stops."

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet):"It was good today. Everyone was just getting little taste of what the race will be like. We want to see how slippery the track is going to get. But the conditions today were actually pretty good. So we are trying to forecast what it is going to be like on Sunday. I was trying to get in a lot of traffic today. We have been in four and five car drafts in practice. But you really have a 33-car draft in the race. So I wanted to run in more traffic than usual. I was trying to get sent out in the back of the packs and see how the dirty air was then. I feel like we got that experience under our belt today. Ed (Carpenter) and I will sit down and go over the data. Then we'll map out our game plan."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet):"We got a lot done today. We did many pit stops and the balance of the car feels good. It's a little warmer than it has been this week but it was closer to the track conditions for Sunday. We have to figure out how we want to start the race. But overall I'm pretty pleased with the things we did today. We knew everyone was going to run today since the Hondas didn't run much on Monday. It was definitely busy out there. And that is good for us to learn more about the car for Sunday. Now we are going to look over the data and prepare for the race. We have some sponsor commitments tonight and tomorrow, so that will keep us busy. I always enjoy the parade too, especially with our young kids. They have a blast."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 68 SFHR/RW Motorsports Honda): "I'm very happy with how the car was today in practice. Working with two cars these past few weeks has been really good because we've been able to feed off of each other. I'm happy with where we ended up running in traffic and thought the car was good in dirty air. That's where we need to be because that's where we are going to start the race. I think it paid off to work hard on making sure our car is good in dirty air, so I'm pretty content where we're at and looking forward to the race now. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing does not cut any corners, so I'm excited for the race because I think we have a car that is capable to fight up front as soon as we get up there. I'm looking forward to trying to help them get a good result."

MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 41 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "I think it was a productive session for us. We tried some things from Monday and found out they didn't work. Sometimes you try things and you hope they work, but in this case they didn't. I think we've got a pretty solid foundation to fall back on based on what we did earlier in the week. The good and bad news is that Takuma and I are feeling very similar things so we know what we need to do for the race. I just want to get the race started now. This whole month has been so surreal. We've been building up to this point and now it's here. I'm anxious to get this show on the road. [Are you nervous?] No, nervous is the wrong word. I'm definitely excited and anxious to get going."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "Today it was a good program - quite a busy day. We were able to run in traffic which we were missing on most of the practice this month. We still need to do some work to find speed to be prepared for Sunday. We were testing some items so hopefully that will help with adjusting the car for the high temperatures."


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