IRL: Kansas: Chip Ganassi Racing qualifying report

Scott Dixon will start from the inside of row four on the grid after qualifying seventh. "I'm pretty happy with our qualifying effort today. The Target team had two good practices to start the weekend off on a more positive note and now we're...

Scott Dixon will start from the inside of row four on the grid after qualifying seventh.

"I'm pretty happy with our qualifying effort today. The Target team had two good practices to start the weekend off on a more positive note and now we're looking to move forward. We've had to settle down after a tough weekend in Richmond for the team and refocus our efforts and that's what we've done today. I'm very happy with the work we did this morning on race set up for the no.9 Target Toyota as well because we'll really need to stay with the lead pack as things can get pretty drawn out and there are often lots of green flag stops. I'm really looking forward to a good race. "

Darren Manning was the highest qualifying Toyota and Target team entry and will start the race from the inside of row three after qualifying his no.10 Target Toyota in fifth spot.

"That's a bit more like it! Everything just felt right with the no.10 Target Toyota. We worked really hard this morning to get all the pieces to come together and they did. The Target car was just perfect and it gave me the confidence to run the low line and I got everything out of it that I could. Kansas is a mentally challenging track and the trick is to stay atop with the lead pack. The Target team has put together a great car and I expect t o make a race of it on Sunday."

Rookie Ryan Briscoe's qualifying effort puts him on the inside of row sixth after posting the 11th fastest time.

"We were looking really good in the morning practices so I'm not quite sure what happened to our speed in qualifying. The car just felt like it was dragging. I'm disappointed because I was sure that I could put the no.33 target Toyota up there in the top 10 with the other two Target entries. We'll take a look at it and make the adjustments for the race."

"My! People come and go so quickly here!"- As said by Kansas native Dorothy Gale in the movie "The Wizard of OZ", it's the perfect citation for what goes on at 1.5 mile Kansas Speedway, site of the next IndyCar race for the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team. It will take the perfect combination of brains, courage and heart to win the 200-lap/ 300-mile Argent Mortgage Indy 300 this Fourth of July weekend. Things happen lightning fast at Kansas, especially at the finish, as three of the four previous races at Kansas have had a margin of victory of less than 0.2 of a second. Last year's race was the closest in Kansas Speedway history and the second-closest in IndyCar Series history as first and second place were separated by just .0051 of a second.

"I'm Melting! I'm Melting!"-- Drivers will have to take in lots of fluids as heat is expected to be a factor in Sunday's race as the temperatures are predicted to reach into the 90 degree Fahrenheit range under partly sunny conditions.

"We're off to see the Wizard ..."-- Julian Robertson, chief engineer for Ryan Briscoe could be considered a wizard with the knowledge and experience to get the Target Toyotas home to the Kansas finish line, hopefully ahead of the rest of the IndyCar series field. Robertson considers Kansas Speedway a typical 1.5 mile speedway much like Homestead, Texas, Chicago and Kentucky.

"There are few differences between Kansas and the other 1.5 mile tracks like Chicago or Kentucky" says Roberston. "Kansas has a little smoother surface than Kentucky and the drivers are flat out all the way around in qualifying and the race as well. The only place they might lift is in the pack. There are also slight differences with the rule package for this track. At Kansas, we don't employ the typical reverse gurney usually used at these tracks and wheel backing plates are permitted. Both these things help to cut down on drag and as a result we should see speeds similar to those run at Texas. Low downforce and low drag is the name of the game but horsepower will definitely be the biggest differentiating factor at this track. The key is to stay with the lead pack because if you fall back there will certainly be more than a two mile an hour difference."

From the Land of OZ--Last weekend in Richmond, Australia native Ryan Briscoe had his best qualifying performance of his rookie IndyCar season to date as he put his no.33 Target Toyota third on the starting grid.

"I'll get you my pretty... and your little dog too!"--Bad luck definitely got a hold of the Target team last weekend in Richmond as all three Target cars were unable to finish the race after three different on track incidences. The Target team is looking for a little more help from Lady Luck at Kansas.

Looking Back--The Target team had a good run at Kansas in 2003 with Scott Dixon claiming the pole position and the Target cars starting the race 1-2.

Last year's race however, could be qualified as character building for the Target team. Darren Manning and Scott Dixon came away from the Fourth of July race weekend with little fanfare after an 11th and 12th place finishes respectively. The good news was that both the team's Toyota/ G Force racecars finished stronger than they started, after a difficult qualifying effort had them starting from 16th and 19th place on the grid.

No Yellow Brick Road... but Plenty of Rubber -- According to Firestone engineers, Kansas Speedway requires a Firestone Firehawk tire designed for the highest heat-resistant compounds combined with the most durable construction because of the track's banking. The tire used at Kansas is similar to the compounds used at other 1.5-mile ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.

Watch it LIVE--Target fans can tune in to watch the Argent Mortgage on ESPN Live at 1:00 pm (EDT) on Sunday, July 3rd.

Listen Up--Target fans can also listen in to the IndyCar broadcast live by IMS radio Network at 1:00 pm (EDT). The IMS Radio broadcast will also be available on XM satellite Radio Channel 152 "Extreme" and web cast on Indycar.com.

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore"-- Following the Kansas race, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's will head to Watkins Glen, NY for a Toyota test and then will be back on track in two weeks time in Nashville, TN, for the Firestone Indy 200, Saturday night on July 16th.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Scott Dixon , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing