IRL: Nazareth: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Target Bids a Final Farewell to the Speedway at Nazareth with Two Top Tens Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Sunday August 29th, 2004-- Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Darren Manning took their final laps in stride at the Firestone...

Target Bids a Final Farewell to the Speedway at Nazareth with Two Top Tens

Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Sunday August 29th, 2004-- Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Darren Manning took their final laps in stride at the Firestone Indy 225, the final race to ever take place at the unique Nazareth Speedway, which will no longer host spectator motorsports events after this weekend.

Darren Manning had his best career qualifying effort in the IndyCar Series to date at Nazareth enabling him to start from fifth spot on the grid, while teammate Scott Dixon who had been trying to shrug off a run of bad luck and frustrating race finishes, started from twelfth place. Both drivers battled hard on the uniquely configured tri-oval that offered few opportunities to pass. Darren Manning crossed the finish line in sixth place while Dixon improved his lot to finish ninth.

"The only really good opportunities to pass were on the restarts and both Darren (Manning) and I got lucky once or twice on the restarts and moved up but we got caught out a few times as well," says Dixon. "The car was good and very quick especially in turn two. I got some good runs there but they just weren't quite enough. I got a lot of my confidence back in the car this weekend. My engineer Julian (Robertson) really helped improve the handling of the Toyota/ G Force. It's been frustrating this year for the whole team but I feel a lot better about the improvements we have made and we want the final stretch to be a strong one."

"I'm happy with the sixth place finish although I really tried to push on that final restart and thought I might have been able to gain just a few more spots at the end there," said Manning of his efforts to try and finish in the top five for a fifth time this season. "It really is too bad that we won't be returning to this track as I learned a lot about racing here. Track knowledge certainly plays an important part here and by the halfway point of the race I was getting a better idea of what I could and could not do. We had some strong pitstops, the car was really good and we improved it as the track improved, so overall the Target team is fairly pleased with the result."

"We've had a nice run over the years here at the Nazareth Speedway and we are sorry to see it go, says team owner Chip Ganassi. "The Target team has had some great races here but it's time to look forward and the league has bigger and better things to come. Today wasn't our best day here but it wasn't our worst either. It's a tough track to pass on and I'm satisfied with the team's efforts here today to get both Toyota / Panoz G Forces in the top nine."

Dan Wheldon notched his third race win of the season at Nazareth after taking over the lead on lap 146 coming out of the pits ahead of teammate Tony Kanaan. The victory moves him into second in the battle for the driver's championship (with 431 points) behind points leader Tony Kanaan (now with 503 points).

Kanaan and Dario Franchitti finished second and third, respectively, to complete the first 1-2-3 finish by teammates in IndyCar Series history.

Target's Darren Manning moves up a spot in the standings to ninth place with 296 points, while teammate Scott Dixon retains the eleventh place spot with 277 points.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing will return to race action in two weeks at the 1.5 mile D-shaped tri-oval Chicagoland Speedway in Illinois for the Delphi Indy 300, the fourteenth race of the 16-race IndyCar season. Target fans can tune in to watch the Chicago race on ABC at 1:30 pm (EDT) Sunday, September 12th or they can listen in on the IMS Radio Network. Throughout the 2004 season, fans are invited to follow the team's progress by logging onto their official website at target.com/racing for news, features, photos and much more.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing