Top Ten for Target at Phoenix Phoenix, Arizona- Saturday, March 19th, 2005--Grey clouds over Phoenix International Raceway threatened afternoon rain, but all three Target cars took the green flag for the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 presented...
Top Ten for Target at Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona- Saturday, March 19th, 2005--Grey clouds over Phoenix International Raceway threatened afternoon rain, but all three Target cars took the green flag for the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 presented by Argent Mortgage to challenge the front runners for the 200-lap sprint around the venerable 1-mile southwest oval.
Darren Manning was a man on a mission hoping to improve on his performance at this track last season when he finished sixth. He moved his #10 Target Toyota into fifth place by lap184 of the race, but settled for an eighth place finish after coming into the pits for a splash of fuel.
"We really had a great car but we struggled with straight line speed and that made it bit more difficult," said Manning, who moves into fifth place in the IndyCar Series standings. "We were right there at the end but when I dashed in for a splash of fuel at the end we had a slight problem and that cost us few spots. Other than that, it was a fun, a good clean race and we'll build on it. I'm really looking forward to hitting the streets of St.Pete's in two weeks."
Scott Dixon kept the nose of his #9 Target Toyota clean and drove it to an uneventful 12th place finish.
"All in all it wasn't that bad of a day I suppose," said Dixon, who jumps two spots in the IndyCar Series driver standings into 14th spot. "We were really loose at the first part of the runs. And the car seemed to come around after that when we got some laps under our belt. We really got caught back under the second to last caution period because of the gap in front of us, but that's the way it goes. The Target team did I great job. It was just a combination of things that didn't allow us to contend with the frontrunners today."
It was a tough day at the track for rookie Ryan Briscoe, who saw his day come to a premature end due to various incidents of contact throughout the race. First, front wing damage from contact with the wheel of the #11 car necessitated a quick stop early in the race to replace it.
"I was as low as I could get on the track when (Tony) Kanaan chopped down on me and broke the wing and that upset the rest of the race for us," said the young Australian rookie. "I fell a lap down but the car really was awesome. I really felt like I had the best car out there. I felt so confident with it that we stayed out when everyone pitted to try to make up our lap, but staying on old tires ended up working against us."
Briscoe's day eventually ended in the pits after a brush with the wall on lap 89. The Target crew worked diligently to repair the damage and got him back out there to put a few more laps under his belt and gain some more valuable experience, but it was finally decided that the damage was too extensive to fix in the pits.
"I was trying to get passed (Danica) Patrick on the outside but ended up too high, into the marbles and brushed the wall," said Briscoe. "I came into the pits and my Target crew did their best to get me back out there. It's really disappointing because I feel I had a really awesome car, but I definitely learned a lot more out there today and we'll build on that."
Toyota-powered Penske teammates took the top honours as Sam Hornish Jr. bagged his 13th career IndyCar Series victory ahead of Helio Castroneves. After moving from his 21st place starting position to ninth place by the second lap of the race, Tony Kanaan took the checkered in third for a series record 17th consecutive top-five finish.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing will return to race action in two weeks time for the Indy Racing League's very first street race in St.Petersburg, Florida, the third race of the 17-race IndyCar season. Target fans can tune in to watch the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on ESPN at 3:30 pm (EDT) Saturday, April 3rd or they can listen in on Extreme XM (Channel 152) and the IMS Radio Network. Throughout the 2005 season, fans are invited to follow the team's progress by logging onto their official website at targetracing.com for news, features, photos and much more.