IRL: Phoenix: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Target Chip Ganassi Racing Advance Race Weekend Notes & Quotes * Coming Up this Weekend--Target Chip Ganassi Racing heads to the 1-mile asphalt oval at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona this weekend for the XM Satellite Radio ...

Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Advance Race Weekend Notes & Quotes

* Coming Up this Weekend--Target Chip Ganassi Racing heads to the 1-mile asphalt oval at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona this weekend for the XM Satellite Radio Indy-presented by Argent Mortgage (200 laps / 200 miles). It is the second race of the 17- race 2005 IRL IndyCar series season. The track, located in the foothills of the Estrella Mountains, features a unique bend in the backstretch and varies in banking from 3 degrees on the front stretch to 11 degrees in Turns 1 and 2. It is banked at 9 degrees in Turns 3 and 4.

* Thrill Ride--As if the world of IndyCar racing wasn't exciting enough, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team owner, Chip Ganassi was invited by Luke Air Force Base in Arizona to take a ride of a lifetime in an F-16 Fighter Jet with Colonel Pat Shay on Thursday, March 17th. Ganassi spent the morning participating in a training session at the base in preparation for the ride in the F-16 that afternoon. What made the ride particularly special was that Col. Shay's flight with Ganassi was to be the final one of his 25-year career at Luke AFB. Shay, a former winner of the Air Force's "Top Gun" award is scheduled to retire, following a voluntary tour of duty in Iraq.

"In the fall of 1981," said Ganassi prior to the flight, "I was invited to PIR for my very first test in an IndyCar. I remember arriving at Sky Harbor Airport as the luckiest guy on the planet. The night before the test, as you can imagine, I did not sleep! I tossed and turned all night, filled with anticipation. The next day went great, and that was the start of my career. While I do not expect to start a new career today, I have to tell you the memories of 1981, and returning to that sun drenched valley as another "rookie" in the F-16, again I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet. This has had me simply more excited than I can remember! "

Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Ryan Briscoe was also on hand for a tour of the facility and to watch their team owner take his ride. Photos and video footage are available to the media upon demand.

* Take Me Out to the Ballgame and the Golf Course--Darren Manning made an appearance at the Major League Baseball's Spring Training game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers at MaryVale Sports Park in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, March 15th. Manning threw out the first pitch and signed autographs for fans. Then on Wednesday, the likeable Brit met with Phoenix's ABC 15 anchor Jeff Heisner for a one-on-one interview on the first tee at Whirlwind Golf Club. They certainly had a lot to talk about, as the interview lasted the whole 18 holes.

* Revved up for Speed Jam --Target will be bringing some special guests to perform at PIR during the race weekend. Grammy Award-winning Velvet Revolver (with former members of Guns'n'Roses) will watch the IndyCar race as fans, then perform for the fans in concert immediately following the race with an opening set by Silvertide.

The Speed Jam event will also feature the Indy Racing Fan Experience and an all-star lineup of motocross athletes, including Motocross athlete and Glendale-native Nate Adams, who took first place in Freestyle Motocross in the 2004 X Games, along with Tommy Clowers, multiple X Games medalist in the X Games Step Up. Jeff Tilton, first place winner at Adrenaline X and Vans Triple Crown Biggest Whip, 19-year-old phenom Niki Danielson and 1999 IFMA Rookie of the Year John Distler will appear as well. The riders will sign autographs and perform freestyle motocross demos at various times throughout the weekend just outside of Turn Two at Phoenix International Raceway.

* Taking a Closer Look--Fans will get a closer look at the inside workings of a Target IndyCar this season. Target Chip Ganassi Racing has built a "Cutaway Car" for the IndyCar Series television broadcasters ABC and ESPN beginning with this weekend coverage of the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 Presented by Argent Mortgage at Phoenix International Raceway.

The car, which will be the first such tool used during season-long telecasts of Indy-style racing, is a full-sized IndyCar Series machine featuring cutouts along its vertical axis. It will give viewers a closer look at the inner workings of an IndyCar Series race car, showing everything from the cockpit and footbox, to the aerodynamic and mechanical characteristics unique to IndyCar Series racing.

* Fresh Face- Australian Ryan Briscoe made his IndyCar Series debut in Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first race of the 2005 IndyCar Season, finishing 20th after an accident on lap 61, but looking to learn from the experience and working for a strong finish in Phoenix. This will be Briscoe's rookie race at Phoenix, but he has run a number of times now at the track, as his first test with Target Chip Ganassi Racing was at PIR in December and took part in the Open Test in January as well. Briscoe pilots the #33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota Panoz.

* Eye in the Sky- Target Chip Ganassi Racing welcomes Jacques Lazier as the eyes and ears for rookie Ryan Briscoe in the #33 Target Toyota.

* Where the Rubber Meets the Road--Firestone's race tire development team considers the configuration of each track as it chooses the tire compound to be used at each track. According to Firestone engineers, the short oval at Phoenix requires the highest-grip compounds and most significant stagger of any IRL venue.

* A Look Back-- Last year at the Phoenix International Raceway, Scott Dixon qualified 5th and finished 2nd, his best finish of the 2004 IndyCar season. Darren Manning improved on his 6th place qualifying position to finish 5th in the race.

* Catch it LIVE-- Target fans can tune in to watch the XM Satellite Radio Indy presented by Argent Mortgage, on ABC at 3:00 pm (EDT) Saturday, March 19th with Todd Harris (play-by-play), Gil de Ferran (analyst), Scott Goodyear (analyst), Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Jack Arute (pit reporters).

* Listen in LIVE- Target fans can listen in to the IndyCar Qualifying webcast at 5:15 p.m. (EST) March 18, www.indycar.com and then tune into the race coverage on IMS Radio network at 3 p.m. (EST), March 19; (XM Extreme, Channel 152) with host Mike King, Pancho Carter (driver analyst), Dave Wilson (color commentary), Mark Jaynes (backstraight play-by-play), Kevin Lee and Nicole Manske (pit reporters).

-cgr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Scott Goodyear , Gil de Ferran , Jaques Lazier  , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , Pancho Carter , Dave Wilson , Jamie Little , Todd Harris
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing