Target Chip Ganassi Racing Set to Run Dixon and Wheldon at 90th Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis, IN, Tuesday, April 4, 2006 -- Following a win and a second place finish in the first two races of the IndyCar Series 2006 season, Target Chip...
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Set to Run Dixon and Wheldon at 90th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis, IN, Tuesday, April 4, 2006 -- Following a win and a second place finish in the first two races of the IndyCar Series 2006 season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing is looking to continue its success in the coming weeks as it prepares for the 90th running of the prestigious Indianapolis 500 with drivers Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon.
Defending Indianapolis 500 winner and 2005 IndyCar Series Champion, Dan Wheldon will attempt to repeat last year's feat with his new team aboard the no.10 Target Honda. Wheldon became the first Englishman in nearly 40-years to win in the Indianapolis 500. The previous winner from Great Britain was Graham Hill, who beat his Lotus teammate Jim Clark in 1966.
This will be Wheldon's fourth run at the famed 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He won last year's Indy 500 from the 16th place starting position, started second and finished third in 2004 to follow up his rookie run in 2003 that started with a fifth place spot on the grid but ended with an accident for a 19th place finish.
Upon joining the Target team, Wheldon became the first driver to hold three major North America racing titles at one time by following up his 2005 Indianapolis 500 victory and IRL IndyCar Series Championship with the team's Rolex 24 at Daytona win. He is also just the eighth driver to win both the Indianapolis 500 and the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
New Zealand's Scott Dixon, 2003 IndyCar Series Champion and driver of the no.9 Target Honda, will also make his fourth appearance at the Indianapolis 500 on May 28th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is the third driver from New Zealand to compete in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Fellow Kiwi Denis Hulme placed fourth in both the 1967 and '68 Indy 500s, and was named the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1967. Hulme competed in two more Indianapolis 500 races, the final one for New Zealand's Bruce McLaren's team in 1971. Another New Zealander, Graham McRae was also named Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in his only appearance in 1973.
Last May, Dixon qualified 13th as the Target Team fielded a three car charge in search of victory at the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500-mile race, and through the early goings of the 200-lap contest positioned themselves safely in the top-20 by Lap 21. The team's rookie driver, Australian Ryan Briscoe, recorded a top-10 finish in his maiden voyage while his Target teammates Scott Dixon and Darren Manning run for the crown were cut short within a 10-lap span just after the 100-lap mark. Dixon was credited with a 24th place finish.
In 2004, Dixon started 13th as well, but crossed the yard of bricks as the highest finishing Toyota with an eighth place finish. In 2003 on his way to the IndyCar Series title, Dixon qualified fourth as a rookie and led 15 laps.
Under the guidance of Chief Engineer Julian Robertson, Dixon is paired up with Chief Engineer, Eric Bretzman and Crew Chief Ricky Davis, while Andy Brown retains the duties of Chief Engineer for the #10 Target Honda alongside Crew Chief Dave Higuera.
Team Managing Director Mike Hull will celebrate his 17th participation in the May event this season. His first was in 1981 with Arciero Racing as a chief mechanic. Following that, he was with Jim Hayhoe's team when Jimmy Vasser won fastest rookie in the 1992 Indy 500 field, won the Indy 500 pole position with Arie Luyendyk the year he joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing (1993), and tasted victory with Juan Pablo Montoya's win in 2000.
Team Owner Chip Ganassi has himself competed in the Indianapolis 500 as a driver on five occasions from 1982-86. He was co-owner of the team that won Indy with Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989, but as team owner of the Target team, Ganassi won the Borg-Warner Trophy with Montoya in 2000. The following year, the Target team had its largest number of entries with four cars competing in the race with drivers Bruno Junqueira, Nicolas Minassian, Jimmy Vasser and Tony Stewart. In 2002, the team had three entries with Kenny Brack, Bruno Junqueira and Jeff Ward. This will be his 13th Indianapolis 500 as a team owner.
Practice for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 begins with the Rookie Orientation Program on May 7-8. Opening Day practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway begins May 9th, with qualifying for the pole to take place on Saturday May 13th. Target Chip Ganassi Racing fans can watch live coverage of qualifying on Pole Day for the Indy 500 on ESPN on May 13th at 1pm (EDT) or listen in on the IMS Radio Network.