Eighth Place Finish for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at 88th Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, May 30th, 2004--The month of May was marked with plenty of highs and lows for Target Chip Ganassi Racing but there were plenty more...
Eighth Place Finish for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at 88th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, May 30th, 2004--The month of May was marked with plenty of highs and lows for Target Chip Ganassi Racing but there were plenty more challenges to deal with on race day for drivers Scott Dixon and Darren Manning as they fought hard from their starting spots on row 5 for the 88th Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The race start had been delayed 2 hours, 11 minutes because of three morning rain showers. Once underway, the race was red flagged on Lap 29. Indy 500 officials got the race back underway but as Buddy Rice took the lead from Tony Kanaan on lap 172, rain began to fall again and the yellow flag came back out before the race was finally halted at lap 180 to give Buddy Rice and his team their first Indy 500 win.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was in eight place when the checkered flag was waved.
"The car was pretty decent but it wasn't very strong on the straightaways," said Scott Dixon who started the race from 13th place on the grid. "We did the best we could today with the car we had and tried to battle with the guys out front. We might have been able to finish a little better if the race had gone the full distance but Buddy Rice deserves the win. He was strong all day and battled hard. It was a long day, with difficult conditions and it's disappointing for Target Chip Ganassi Racing but we put in a good effort all month long and we'll look ahead now to the next race."
Target teammate, Darren Manning found himself as high as third by lap 94, but on the subsequent pit stop, stalled the car and dropped down to 16th. Manning regained his composure and was working his way back up towards the front with Sam Hornish Jr. in hot pursuit, when lapped driver Greg Ray (4 laps down) made contact with the No.10 car and took all three drivers out of the race. Despite the spectacular pile up at the pit entrance none of the drivers sustained any injuries.
"It's disappointing to end the month this way," said Manning of his first Indianapolis 500 experience. "The Target team gave me a quick car and while we didn't quite have the straight line speed we would have liked, we were right up there with the leaders. I made a mistake on the pit stop but I was working my way back up when Greg Ray caught the left rear and put an end to our day. It's a shame really, since we still had half the race to go and I know we had a car good enough to contend for the win. It's been a month of up and downs, and we faced just as many up and downs in this one day."
The team worked extremely hard and gave the drivers the best cars they could and I'm proud of the team's efforts," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "We're happy to be the highest finishing Toyota and we had the winning chassis in the G-Force but that's little consolation. Scott did the best he could and had some good battles out there. I feel like he could have really battled for the win at the end if it had gone green the whole way. Darren did a great job this month and never gave up in the race. The contact wasn't his fault and it's disappointing to have your race end that way. It wasn't our best day but the Target team still has a lot of races and plenty of work ahead in order to defend the championship.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing now prepares for their next race on June 12th in Fort Worth, Texas. 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.