IRL: Pikes Peak: Chip Ganassi Racing Saturday report

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#9 Scott Dixon- Toyota / Panoz /Firestone "The Target team did a good job with the no.9 Target Toyota and it feels really comfortable. We trimmed out just a bit too much in the second practice so we had to go back a bit. When we went out for qualifying the wind had completely changed direction along with the temperature. We've had four seasons in one day it seems. The headwind was so strong that on the backstretch I had to downshift 2 gears and you could really feel it move the car. It should be a good race and I'm hoping to be up front again."

#10 Jaques Lazier- Toyota / Panoz /Firestone Jaques Lazier made contact with the turn four wall while running qualifying simulations during the second practice of the day and sustained heavy damage to the rear of the no.10 Target Toyota.

Efforts made to repair the damage were unsuccessful and the team did not qualify the car and will start from the 22nd spot on the grid.

"I'm very disappointed for all the hard work the Target guys put into this car. We were making some really good strides and had just made a big change but I'm not sure what happened exactly. The rear of the no.10 Target Toyota jumped out twice and I was able to catch it, but that last time it got me in the marbles and there wasn't anything I could do."

#33 Ryan Briscoe- Toyota / Panoz /Firestone "I really love this track. It's a one mile oval that has the feel of a superspeedway with different grooves. Our qualifying effort wasn't too bad. I probably could have found another tenth of a second but the wind was completely opposite of what it was in practice. I feel pretty good about our preparations for the race. The Target crew has once again prepared a really good race car so I'm looking forward to moving the no.33 Target Pioneer Toyota to the front."

NOTES: Pikes Peak or Bust--Target Chip Ganassi Racing heads west in search of their first win of the season much like the fortune hunters who flocked to Colorado in search of gold with the slogan of "Pikes Peak or Bust," painted across their prairie schooners . Although only a handful of those who flocked to the region ever found gold but Scott Dixon found his fortune at Pikes Peak International Raceway in 2003 with a win that propelled him to his IndyCar Series Championship that season. This weekend's 225 mile contest will be the 13th of 17-race 2005 IndyCar season.

Get Shorty- Target Chip Ganassi Racing has had good success on short ovals. Of the their 19 wins on ovals since 1996, nine of the Target team's victories have been on short ovals, including Scott Dixon's win at Pikes Peak in 2003. The short 1-mile oval presents drivers and teams with several challenges due to its location at nearly a mile above sea level, which reduces the amount of downforce on the car and horsepower produced by the engine. The track's tri-oval layout and 10 degree banking puts a premium on handling.

In Training--While most of the IndyCar drivers had the weekend off prior to the Kentucky race, Target driver Scott Dixon had a race to run...a Triathlon to be exact. Keeping fit comes with the territory for Dixon in his quest for success behind the wheel of the no.9 Target Toyota, but he's taking that goal a step further this year.

In just the past month, he's competed in two triathlons in Shelbyville, Indiana featuring a 1/2 mile swim, 16 mile bike and 3 mile run. Even Target teammate Ryan Briscoe got into the action when he joined Dixon for the event last month. Dixon won his age group (21-24) and finished 22nd overall while Briscoe was not far behind placing 29th overall. After celebrating his 25th birthday and moving into another category (25-29 age group) for the competition this past weekend, the New Zealand native won his age group once again and finished 8th overall.

"I've done some triathlons in the past and always really enjoyed the competition aspect of it," Dixon said. "I started training for them again about a month or so ago and am doing several in Indiana and maybe a half Iron man later in the year."

Next Stop... the Olympics?!--Target Team drivers Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Jaques Lazier gave U.S. national triathlon team members pointers on how to drive the ovals on the IndyCar Series simulators during a visit to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Joe Umphenour of Bellevue, Wash., reciprocated by suggesting scenic routes for Dixon to ride his bike while in the area for the Honda Indy 225 at nearby Pikes Peak International Raceway. The bike route through the Garden of the Gods was the top choice.

Dixon and Briscoe also are triathletes -- though not at Olympic distances or as accomplished. Dixon two weeks ago placed first in his age group in a triathlon in Shelbyville, Ind., and plans to compete in a half-Ironman triathlon in Miami in November.

The Olympians in training, including Logan Wealing of W. Lafayette, Ind., peppered the IndyCar Series drivers with questions about racing, their cars and the series. Such as: "Does your mom get nervous watching you race? My mom does watching me compete; she thinks I'll fall off the bike."

That was compliments of Mark Fretta of Portland, Ore., who also asked whether there are "serious Indy Racing League groupies."

"There are," Briscoe deadpanned. "Or at least I'd like to meet some of the female ones."

Where the Rubber Meets the Road -- Firestone's race tire development team has brought another proven specification for use in this weekend's event. The same specification handled the rigors of PPIR a year ago quite successfully. The PPIR spec features a stagger difference of approximately 0.51 of an inch in the rear tires.

According to Firestone engineers, Pikes Peak is a unique track that does not require as much grip as other 1-mile ovals. To help improve the car's handling, the Firehawk tire brought to PPIR this weekend has the maximum amount of grip for the right-side compound and the second-highest level of grip for the left-side compound.

Catch it LIVE--Target fans can tune in to watch the Honda Indy 225 on ABC Live at 3:30 pm (EDT) on Sunday, August 21st. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme).

Next Stop --Target Chip Ganassi Racing continues their road trip to Sonoma, CA., for the August 28th race, the second of three road races of the 2005 season.

-cgr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jaques Lazier  , Scott Dixon , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing