IRL: Kansas: Friday report

Dynamic Ganassi duo 1-2 in hot Kansas practice KANSAS CITY, Kan., Friday, July 4, 2003 -- The Dynamic Duo struck again, this time on the opening day of the Kansas Indy 300 on July 4 at Kansas Speedway. Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates...

Dynamic Ganassi duo 1-2 in hot Kansas practice

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Friday, July 4, 2003 -- The Dynamic Duo struck again, this time on the opening day of the Kansas Indy 300 on July 4 at Kansas Speedway.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon were the two fastest drivers in both practice sessions on the 1.5-mile oval in steamy conditions. Scheckter posted the fastest lap overall, 25.0706 seconds, 218.264 mph in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Dixon was second at 25.1310, 217.739 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

Both drivers' top laps were turned in the first session. But Scheckter and Dixon also led the second session with nearly identical respective laps of 217.729 and 217.725. The air temperature was in the mid- to high 90s during both sessions, with humidity pushing the heat index past 100 degrees.

"I think the key to it has been the team," Dixon said of the team's success. "We have had a great car every circuit we've gone to. Obviously, Toyota is doing a great job this year. I think Tomas and myself have had a pretty good car.

"We concentrated mostly on race setup today and made a lot of full-tank laps."

The domination of the speed charts by Scheckter and Dixon is nothing new lately in the IndyCar Series.

Dixon has won the last two series races, June 15 at Pikes Peak and June 28 at Richmond, to pull to within 27 points of series leader Tony Kanaan. Dixon and Scheckter also have combined to lead 702 laps, just 27 laps fewer than all other drivers combined this season. Dixon has three victories; Scheckter is seeking his first win.

"It has definitely helped me raise my game," Scheckter said of Dixon's victories. "He is always quick. He is such a solid driver. He has definitely pushed me to the next level.

"The team has done an unbelievable job. I can't tell you how happy I am to be here. Chip runs a great organization, and we're fortunate to have great partners like Target, Toyota and G Force on board."

Kanaan was third fastest overall at 25.1400, 217.661 in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Tora Takagi was fourth at 25.2039, 217.109 in the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five at 25.2238, 216.938 in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone.

KANSAS INDY 300 TOP FIVE POST-PRACTICE QUOTES

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

About three wins:

"Obviously, winning races is what it is all about. We are pretty happy with it. I think the key to it has been the team. We have had a great car every circuit we've gone to. Obviously, Toyota is doing a great job this year. I think Tomas and myself have had a pretty good car. We had a lot of mechanicals and stuff early on. We tested here in Kansas after Pikes Peak and turned a lot of laps. I think that it really help us to be quick right away. We concentrated mostly on race setup today and made a lot of full-tank laps. Tony (Kanaan) was probably a little bit better than us today, but we still have time to make some changes and get ready for qualifying and the race."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"Testing definitely helps. I think we all have to keep an eye on our tires. There is a lot of heat out there." (About Dixon's success): "It has definitely helped me raise my game. He is always quick. He is such a solid driver. He has definitely pushed me to the next level. The team has done an unbelievable job. I can't tell you how happy I am to be here. Chip Ganassi runs a great organization, and we're fortunate to have great partners like Target, Toyota and G Force on board. The car was really good today, but we've got a lot of competition out there. I'm excited to be here, and I'm looking forward to the race."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):

"He's (Scott Dixon) catching me really fast. I think that's the beauty of the series: It's competitive. I knew the margin of my lead was not that big, especially with these two guys (Dixon and Scheckter) and the Penske boys chasing me. I think we have a good car, but obviously Scott and Tomas this weekend are going to be strong, so we need to work hard to see what we can do to. I think track-wise, just the temperature has changed. It is so unbelievably hot out there. I think condition-wise, the track hasn't changed, but if the conditions change, obviously you have to change your setup. It's a little bit different than what we did in the test here. I ran like a 218.6 (mph lap) at the test, and today we were unable to do the same. I think the speeds are a little bit down because of the heat. It affects everybody. It effects the downforce, the engine, and the tires, so we just need to be aware of the temperature." (What's made Scott Dixon so strong?): "He's a good driver. He was always strong. He won the first race, and let's face it -- they've had mechanicals. We got together in Japan, and Phoenix was misfortune. He had a mechanical and had to stop. At Indy, they had a problem, as well."

TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone):

"I'm feeling much better this weekend than I have in a while. I think it's because we're back to a high-speed track, and that is my favorite kind of track. We got a lot of work done with the Pioneer car today. We worked on our race setup and we worked on our qualifying setup and we learned a lot. I like this track a lot. It's a little bit like Texas. It doesn't have the kind of banking like Texas, but the surface is a lot more smooth. I'm really happy with the setup and I am really looking forward to a good day tomorrow. It's very hot, but I think I am getting used to it."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):

"Today we worked on both qualifying and race setups. This morning we concentrated on qualifying and made gains throughout the session. This afternoon we did long runs and drafted with the other cars. I was able to run in traffic but couldn't pass, so we've still got some work to do on the Marlboro Team Penske car to make sure we're ready for Sunday. Tomorrow morning, we'll shift our focus back to qualifying, and hopefully we can secure a good starting position."

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tora Takagi , Chip Ganassi , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing