IRL: Michigan: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Hard Fought Battle for Target at Michigan Indy Brooklyn, Michigan, Sunday, August 1st, 2004-- Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Darren Manning found themselves both battling among the leaders at Michigan International Speedway...

Hard Fought Battle for Target at Michigan Indy

Brooklyn, Michigan, Sunday, August 1st, 2004-- Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Darren Manning found themselves both battling among the leaders at Michigan International Speedway in third and fourth place in the last 25 laps, but with such fast paced action, close competition and wide track, you can't take anything for granted.

From his third place starting position on the grid, Scott Dixon fell back to as far as 15th place and worked his way back up among the frontrunners before crossing the finish line to record his sixth top ten in 10 races, with a seventh place finish after slight contact on lap 198 of 200 spoiled the Target team's efforts.

"It was a bit more of a struggle at the start but I had a very decent car on that last stint and the Toyota/ Panoz G force ran strong at the front," said Dixon who held the third place spot for 12 laps in the closing moments of the race. "We really thought that we were going to finish it strong with both Darren and I right up there but (Thomas) Scheckter, who was laps down, got into the mix. We were all trying to get by him but I didn't have any room to move and got pinched in turn four with Darren (Manning) and Sam (Hornish Jr.) on the outside. That hurt the momentum and it was too late by then. It's too bad but there are a lot of positives we can take from this weekend and build on that for the coming weeks."

Target teammate Darren Manning was right there with him at the front as well after qualifying 12th, even leading four laps (lap 128-131), but the no.10 Target Toyota/ G force got the worst of the contact at the race end when he cut his front outside tire on Sam Hornish Jr.'s wing and was forced to pit with just one lap to go in the race.

"We had a good race car, a good race strategy, I could run where I wanted and when it was time to go, I went," says Manning of the positives he takes away from this race weekend. "It was great to battle up front like that. I'm very disappointed with the way it all ended. I guess (Thomas) Scheckter was trying to get out of the way since he was three laps down, but as he did, he took the air away from me and there was contact with Scott (Dixon) on my right and then Sam Hornish on my left. It was pretty crazy out there but the team did a great job for me and put together another great car. We just need a little more luck on our side to put it all together."

"It was good to see our guys battling at the front where they should be, says Target team owner Chip Ganassi. "We've made some gains this weekend and we're looking to make more."

An IndyCar Series-record 123 laps expired before the first car was retired, (Dario Franchitti-mechanical), and the average speed of 182.123 mph was the fourth-fastest in Series history. Buddy Rice went on to win the Michigan Indy 400, his third victory of the 2004 season, finishing just ahead of pole sitter and points leader Tony Kanaan (400 points). Target teammates Scott Dixon and Darren Manning, still remain in the driver's standings top ten with 226 points (9th) and 216 points (10th) respectively.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing will return to race action in two weeks at Kentucky Speedway for the Belterra Casino Indy 300, the eleventh race of the 16-race IndyCar season. Target fans can tune in to watch the Kentucky race on ABC at 3:30 pm (EDT) Sunday, August 15th or they can listen in on the IMS Radio Network.

-cgr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing