Team on Target: Pole Position Sonoma, California, Saturday, August 17, 2005-- So far, it has been a perfect weekend for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at the hill side 2.26 mile, 12 turn natural-terrain Infineon Raceway as they prepare for Sunday's...
Team on Target: Pole Position
Sonoma, California, Saturday, August 17, 2005-- So far, it has been a perfect weekend for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at the hill side 2.26 mile, 12 turn natural-terrain Infineon Raceway as they prepare for Sunday's inaugural Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix. After sitting atop the combined practice standings on Friday, rookie Ryan Briscoe put the no.33 Target Toyota Pioneer on pole after setting the fastest time in single lap qualifying, then topping it once again in the Firestone Fast Six shoot out with a speed of 108.248 mph (1 minute, 16.4913 seconds) against Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Tomas Enge, Sam Hornish Jr. and Buddy Rice. It is Briscoe's first career IndyCar pole and the first for the team since teammate Scott Dixon's 2003 IndyCar Championship winning season.
"This is fantastic," exclaimed Briscoe. "This is huge for the Target team. It's been a tough year and it's great to see the team's motivation up. The no.33 Target Toyota been working really well and I put in a good clean lap for the first qualifying session. We made a slight adjustment to the front wing of the car during the shootout and improved our time. I knew we could do better and I did. The Target team came into this weekend well prepared and when you've got a good car, it makes my job driving a lot easier. We're here with good equipment and competitive equipment. Most of the credit goes to the Target team. This is a hard working crew and a winning team. They've won championships and a whole lot of races on road and street courses. I'd like to add another one to that list. There won't be any room for errors in the race and I hope to put in a good show tomorrow."
"Obviously we are very happy with Ryan's (Briscoe) pole position," said Target team owner Chip Ganassi who's team has won five championships and 45 races, 26 of which have come on road or street courses. "We needed that pole more than we needed oxygen at this time of season. It been a long and difficult season for this team and this certainly helps but we'll be looking for a race win tomorrow."
All three Target drivers started the weekend off well as newcomer Giorgio Pantano posted the fastest speed in Friday morning practice with Dixon is second spot and Briscoe in fourth. The Target trio was once again in the top five at the end of the day.
Qualifying didn't quite go as planned for Dixon and Pantano as both drivers found the track to be just as unforgiving as it challenging.
"A bit of a shame really because I had a good lap going and the no.9 Target Toyota was really much better than this morning, but I put it sideways in the carousel and that's what cost me," said Dixon who's efforts put him ninth on the grid. "It's definitely been a much stronger weekend for the Target team and it should be a very exciting race. The track is very physical and we're just hoping to get the job done tomorrow."
"I'm pretty disappointed actually because the team gave me such a good car," said Pantano who took over the helm of the no.10 Target Toyota just this weekend. "I was too late braking as I headed into the chicane and locked up the rear missing the chicane. I made a mistake and that problem cost me a second right there. I have been really enjoying this weekend and this track and I'm hoping to do well in tomorrow's race for the Target team."