IRL: Indy500: Team Target's First 2000 Victory a Big One

Indianapolis -- On a typical weekend, earning two top-ten finishes on the tricky oval in Nazareth, Pa. would be enough to satisfy a race team. But Target/Chip Ganassi Racing is not a typical team, and this was not a typical weekend. ...

Indianapolis -- On a typical weekend, earning two top-ten finishes on the tricky oval in Nazareth, Pa. would be enough to satisfy a race team. But Target/Chip Ganassi Racing is not a typical team, and this was not a typical weekend. Following Saturday's fourth-place effort by Juan Montoya and a seventh-place finish by Jimmy Vasser in the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix, Team Target rushed to Indianapolis to partake in Sunday's Indy 500, its first since 1995. Judging by its performance, it didn't take Team Target long to get reacquainted with the 2.5-mile superspeedway. First-time Indy driver Montoya wasted little time taking over the top spot, passing polesitter Greg Ray on lap 33. From there, the 24-year-old Colombian dominated, setting an Indy 500 rookie record by leading 167 of the 200 laps en route to victory. "This was an amazing win for Team Target," said Montoya, the defending CART champion. "We had some of the best pit stops ever and my guys gave me a perfect car. Going into the weekend, I really wanted to win at least one race. After taking fourth in Nazareth, I knew that Indy would have to be the one. It didn't take too long for me to figure out the track and how to adjust to the traffic. It was very fast and very fun." Montoya took over the lead for good on lap 180 after passing Vasser, who fought a loose car the majority of the race. "I owe a lot to Jimmy," Montoya said. "He was very helpful in the weeks leading up to Indy and even during the race. This is a great win for everyone at Team Target." Vasser, who finished fourth in the 1995 Indianapolis 500, led five laps and earned his second seventh-place finish of the weekend. "Racing two-straight days was a lot of work, but to be back at Indy -- it was worth it," Vasser said. "We tried to stretch our fuel as far as possible, but we had to come in one last time. When that final yellow came out, I thought we had a chance to pull off the victory, but it wasn't quite enough. I'm very proud of Juan and of this whole team. Everyone worked so hard to make a victory possible. This was a great win for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing." That's an understatement according to team owner Chip Ganassi, who raced in the Indy 500 five times in the early 1980s. "I still can't quite describe how good this feels," Ganassi said. It's definitely the biggest win ever for Team Target. What an amazing effort by this whole team. To do what we asked them to do with two races and two totally different cars...this is such a satisfying way to finish up a phenomenal weekend. Both Jimmy and Juan had tremendous races. I couldn't be prouder of them or the whole team."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Jimmy Vasser , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing