IRL: Indy 500: Chip Ganassi Racing Pole day report

Challenging Pole Day for Target Chip Ganassi Racing Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, May 15th, 2004-- Target Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Darren Manning had their hands full on Pole Day for the 88th Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5 mile ...

Challenging Pole Day for Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, May 15th, 2004-- Target Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Darren Manning had their hands full on Pole Day for the 88th Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, dealing with a rain delay, a shortened morning practice and challenging run at the pole.

The Target team made the decision to pull the No.1 car of the initial qualifying line, then waved off Dixon's first qualifying attempt on his fourth lap to return to the line and finally qualify with an average speed of 219.319 mph, putting him 13th overall for the day.

"We just didn't have any speed," said the 2003 Series Champion of his qualifying run. "I think some of it has to be from sitting out the last two days. Friday it rained, but then Darren drove my car on Thursday. I don't know where we lost. I think we had a good car on Wednesday. It was running the high 220s (mph), so I was quite happy with the car on the track. I think we were a little maybe too confident in what we were trying to do and made changes we didn't need to make. The run was pretty decent and the car was pretty neutral. We were flat out, and you can't do much more than that. We need to regroup. It's moments like this that make you stronger."

Target teammate, Darren Manning was not able to fair much better as he also pulled out of the initial qualifying order and then waved off his initial qualifying attempt after having a "bit of a moment", as he described it, in turn one. Manning returned to the track as the last qualifier of the day and posted an average speed of 219.271 mph, placing his Toyota/ G Force 16th overall.

"It certainly was a big crazy day for my first Pole Day experience," said Manning of his rookie initiation to qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. "Being my first year and not knowing what to expect on a day like this, it was pretty intense to feel the pressure mount as the time left ticked away. We had like one minute left, and they were going to close the qualifying line. There's not much more pressure than that when you're not even in the race."

The day got off to a rough start for the newcomer to the Indycar series, as the team dealt with car trouble in the morning practice.

"We were planning on getting several simulated qualifying attempts in on a new motor yesterday but obviously, that didn't happen, so we went out this morning on that new motor," said Manning who only got in one installation lap on Friday due to rain. "Unfortunately, we had electrical problems this morning and we couldn't fix it in pit lane. We took the car back to the garage, made an engine change and sacrificed our starting position in qualifying line. We had hoped maybe we'd get a bit of testing if the qualifying line broke, and of course that didn't happen. We had to take two qualifying attempts because on the first one I had a moment in Turn 1. For my next run, it was vitally important that I laid a lap down, and I was just a bit cautious. We did a good job of adjusting to the conditions after our first run. We just didn't quite have enough. We will be working really hard over the next week to get the race setup perfect."

The day belonged to Buddy Rice who qualified with an average speed of 222.024 mph to win the pole for the 2004 Indy 500. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing team will return to the track for their preparations for the 88th Indianapolis 500 with practice on Wednesday, May 19th. Target fans can watch live coverage of the Indianapolis 500 on ABC on May 30th at 12 pm (EDT) or listen in on the IMS Radio Network. Throughout the 2004 season, fans are invited to follow the team's progress by logging onto their official website at target.com/racing for news, features, photos and much more.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Scott Dixon , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing