IRL: Motegi: Chip Ganassi Racing Thursday report


#10 Dan Wheldon- Honda / Dallara /Firestone

"We got a bit of a baseline at least today but I can't really say that the times today were indicative of what we'll see tomorrow or race day. Things change so quickly here and certainly did today. I had my first win here at Twin Ring Motegi (after 19 starts) and it was an important one as it was Honda's first win on home turf. No one has won three times at the same track (consecutively) and I'd love to be able to do that here. This track has been very good to me, the fans are fantastic and passionate, so there's a lot to look forward to on race day."

#9 Scott Dixon- Honda / Dallara /Firestone

"The weather at this track is the biggest factor. Today we really just saw it all; Rain then sun, huge changes in wind direction, and a big drop in temperature all within an hour. With the split sessions you really can't compare the track conditions even if they were just a half hour apart. I think we'll be in good shape. This is an interesting and challenging track and I'm looking forward to battling up front for the checkered."


* Coming Up This Weekend- Target Chip Ganassi Racing visits the "Land of the Rising Sun" for the IndyCar series' fourth visit to the Twin Ring Motegi facility which sits inside of a mountain top in Tochigi Prefecture, about 60 miles northeast of Tokyo, Japan. The track is a 1.5 mile high banked, uniquely egg-shaped, superspeedway and the race will be contested over 300 miles or 200 laps. It is the third race of the 14-race 2006 IRL IndyCar series season.

* Back on Track- After Thursday morning practice at Twin Ring Motegi was rained out, IndyCars finally got back on track in the later afternoon.

* Look! We've got a Streaker!- Dan Wheldon, driver of the no.10 Target, has won the last two IndyCar Series races at Motegi. Those victories, he said, set the stage for his runner-up finish to Buddy Rice in 2004's Indianapolis 500 and his Indy 500 win last year. No driver has ever won three consecutive times at the same track in the IndyCar Series era.

"Motegi is a good race to win, and it's a track that's been kind to me," says Wheldon. "It is a good stage for Indy and will be again if I can win there three years in a row. It's always difficult when you keep winning a race to continue that streak without something going wrong. I hope this is not the year for that, and I hope that year never comes."

* Checking in the Rear View Mirrors- Dan Wheldon is looking to defend his wins (2004-05) at TWR the past two years while Scott Dixon would love an incident free weekend and to find his way to victory circle.

In 2005, the three Target entries scored 8th (10 car with Darren Manning), 12th (33 car with Ryan Briscoe) place finishes while Scott Dixon saw more of the race from the pits than his cockpit when he was knocked out of the race on the very first lap after his #9 Target Toyota was an unfortunate bystander of a spin in front of him.

In 2004 both Target Chip Ganassi Racing cars crossed the finish line in the top five. From his tenth place starting position, Darren Manning took the checkered flag in fourth place while Dixon finished just behind his teammate in fifth spot, after starting the race from sixth spot on the grid and sporting a sore left ankle following an accident in the first practice of the race weekend.

In 2003 Scott Dixon won the pole and the two Target cars fought for the lead.

* Did You Know That...? The Twin Ring Motegi facility got its name from the fact that it contains two major racing facilities, a 1.5-mile oval and a 3-mile, 14-turn road course that winds underneath and east of the oval. The IndyCar series will run, as it always has, on the superspeedway oval this weekend.

* By the Numbers- Dan Wheldon won his first race at Motegi after 19 starts.

* Where the Rubber Meets the Road- According to Firestone engineers, the high-banked superspeedway at Twin Ring Motegi requires the company's most durable construction and compounds with high-heat durability. The tire specification selected for this weekend's race features the same sidewall construction as used last season at Twin Ring Motegi, with an updated compound formula that should yield better wear characteristics while also improving the grip level for the right-side tires.

* Watch it!- Target fans can tune in to watch the Indy Japan 300 on ESPN at Noon (EDT) on Saturday, April 22 (tape delayed) ,

* Listen in LIVE- Target fans can listen in to the IndyCar broadcast live by the IMS Radio Network at 11:30 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, April 21. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also will be available on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Channel" and webcast on


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