Thoughts on Edmonton with TCGR Managing Director Mike Hull: "Edmonton is a fantastic race track. Once again we're in front of knowledgeable fans who demonstrate their love for Indy Car racing. It's the combination of a road and street circuit ...
Thoughts on Edmonton with TCGR Managing Director Mike Hull: "Edmonton is a fantastic race track. Once again we're in front of knowledgeable fans who demonstrate their love for Indy Car racing. It's the combination of a road and street circuit with real passing zones. The visibility for the spectators and race teams is unparalleled. You can see racing on the entire course -- like watching a big video game in the first person. In terms of winning the 2008 race, it came down to the end as it should with the competitiveness of Indy Car racing. Dixon and Helio had a fantastic race and both deserved to win the race, it just happened to go Dixon's way. The way that they raced each other clearly defines the skill set to carry speed into bumpy corners under braking while working to get the bite necessary to exit in front of each other. When you think about an Indy Car race you think about ovals, but Edmonton adds a whole new dimension to the requirement to win a championship."
TCGR at Edmonton: Dixon recalled, "That was probably our best weekend of the season from a team standpoint. At the start of the weekend the car was maybe top-10. And we slowly worked at it and come qualifying we were fourth, but only a tenth or two off pole. I couldn't believe we'd come that far after being so far off in first practice that morning. Then we had a fantastic race car. Oriol Servia was pretty easy to get past, then Briscoe played a bit of team tactics to give Helio a chance to pull away. But we really nailed the pit stop and came out ahead of both of them. Then the car was so good that I could stay ahead of Helio and save fuel at the same time. We had about a three-second gap and he was pushing hard, then he made a mistake, slid wide in turn one and from then on it was smooth sailing. But again, to go from a car like that to a dominant car in that weekend was one of the most satisfying races of the year for all of us."
TCGR Open Wheel History Lesson: Franchitti's win in Toronto two weeks ago was the 70th for TCGR (40 in CART, 30 in IRL). Overall it was win number 111 for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. across open wheel, stock car and sports car racing (1990-present). Dixon's win in Edmonton in 2008 was win number 102 for the team.
Swapping the points lead...again: Two weeks ago at Toronto, Franchitti (finished 1st) took over first place in the IndyCar Series point's race, with Dixon (finished 4th) dropping to second. It was the third consecutive weekend the Target drivers swapped the points lead, and the sixth race of the season that either Dixon or Franchitti have been atop of the IRL standings.
Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team
Defending race winner: "You look at races where you kind of didn't have the best car but you came away with the win, and other races throughout the season you had the best car and didn't win. So it's nice to get those occasionally and it was a real team effort that day. We weren't maybe the best car, but we put everything together when it counted and that's what pulled us through especially at the end. For a lot of the drivers it really brings back a lot of memories of Cleveland -- very similar, very wide. It's extremely bumpy, you have to get really aggressive and it has a great flow about it once you get into it. Tracks like that create great racing because there are such wide entries to many of the turns and you can try different things. It's a good all-arounder but it's a tough, tough place. It's fun and it's a track everyone can see from the grandstands. There are a very limited amount of circuits, apart from an oval, where everybody can see everything that's going on. It's like a Milwaukee. For the fans it's fantastic, and to race in Canada is always a ton of fun. The fans are really enthusiastic and knowledgeable."
On the verge: Dixon's win in Richmond still has him tied with Sam Hornish Jr. for the most wins in IndyCar Series history with 19. A repeat victory this weekend in Edmonton would give him a 20th win and sole position of the IRL record.
Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Vaseline MEN Team
Vaseline MEN Paint Scheme: Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer goods companies, will announce later this week a deal that introduces Vaseline® MEN as an associate sponsor of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Vaseline® MEN will be the primary sponsor for of the No. 10 Honda Dallara driven by Franchitti and the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Martin Truex Jr. at select races across the IndyCar and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). The Vaseline® MEN paint scheme will make its debut for Target Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend on the No. 10 car. Vaseline® MEN will debut on the No. 1 Chevrolet in the NSCS at Dover, Del. on September 27 (ABC, 1:00pm ET) and again in Martinsville, Va. on October 25 (ABC, 1:00pm ET).
Edmonton Debut: When the unified IndyCar Series debuted at Edmonton in 2008, one prominent name missing was 2007 series champion Franchitti. After a stint in NASCAR last season, Franchitti will participate in his first race at Edmonton City Centre Airport. Championship contenders Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves all competed at Edmonton last season, with Dixon and Castroneves taking podium position and Briscoe scoring the pole. Franchitti will look to make up ground quickly getting acclimated to the 1.96-mile track.
Dario's Testing and Overseas Travel: After his win in Toronto two weeks ago, Franchitti traveled with the team to Mid-Ohio the next day to test in preparation for next month's Honda Indy 200. From there Dario went to his homeland of Scotland for the week to relax before arriving in Edmonton Wednesday.