IRL: Nazareth: Chip Ganassi Racing Saturday report

Target's Darren Manning Qualifies Fifth at Nazareth Nazareth, PA, Saturday, August 28th, 2004--Target Chip Ganassi driver Darren Manning will start Sunday's Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway from fifth spot on the grid, his best career...

Target's Darren Manning Qualifies Fifth at Nazareth

Nazareth, PA, Saturday, August 28th, 2004--Target Chip Ganassi driver Darren Manning will start Sunday's Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway from fifth spot on the grid, his best career qualifying effort in the IndyCar Series to date. His previous-best qualifying effort was sixth at Phoenix and Nashville. This will be Manning's seventh top ten start of the season. Following a fourth place finish last weekend at Pikes Peak, Manning's highest finish of the season, the Target driver is looking for a top three finish on Sunday.

"It's always nice to qualify in the top five and it certainly bodes well for the race." Said Manning who qualified with a speed of 165.609 mph (20.3250 seconds) around the one mile Nazareth oval. "I'm happy with my qualifying run especially since we didn't get to do a second run on new tires in this morning practice like most everyone else. We did take a bit of a guess estimate as a result but that ended up working out pretty well. The test we ran for Toyota here at Nazareth not to long ago definitely paid off for us. I really like our race set up for the no.10 Toyota G Force. The Target team has given me another really good race car and we've already done a couple of full tank runs. We'll just tweak it a bit more and work on breaking into the top three this weekend."

Target teammate Scott Dixon will start from the twelfth spot on the grid with a top qualifying lap speed of 163.930 mph (20.5331 seconds).

"Our qualifying run is an improvement on where we started the weekend and the car is much better that it was on Friday but we still have some work to do." says Dixon. "After last weekend's race in Pikes Peak and the struggles we've had all season long, one of the things I need to work on most is getting my confidence back in the car. I suppose that's part of the reason we're having trouble right now. We've been working on improving the rear stability of the car all season long and we have made some gains year but there's still more to do. The goal now is to get back some of that confidence back in the car and get back up at the front where we know we should be."

The pole for Sunday's Firestone Indy 225 was won by Helio Castroneves, his second pole position of the season. Points leader Tony Kanaan will start third while Buddy Rice, his closest rival for the IndyCar Series title will start 10th.

At the tail end of the final practice, (following qualifying) for Sunday's Firestone Indy 225, as Scott Dixon was about to enter his pit box, Dario Franchitti was also coming into pit lane and made contact with the inside rear of the no.1 Target car and spun it around. There was some slight damage to both cars but no one was hurt in the incident. The Target crew apparently has Olympic caliber high jumpers and sprinters among them. Franchitti apologized to driver and crew for the scare at the end of the session.

"I was coming down into the pit and saw (teammate) Darren (Manning's) crew chief out in the lane, so I came in quite close," says Dixon of the incident. "I just heard "inside" on the radio, and then got collected. It was nothing too much. I'm just glad none of the guys got hit."

Target fans can tune in to watch the Nazareth race on ABC at 2:00 pm (EDT) Sunday, August 29th or they can listen in on the IMS Radio Network.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing