IRL: Texas: Chip Ganassi Racing qualifying report


#9 Scott Dixon- Toyota / Panoz /Firestone

Scott Dixon (210.465 mph) will start from the inside of row eight on the grid after qualifying 15th.

"This race has always been a good one. Racing under the lights makes it fun for both fans and drivers. The Target team has been doing a great job at giving me a good car and while we might just be lacking a bit of speed, when it comes to this race the key will be working my way forward and staying with the draft."

#10 Darren Manning- Toyota / Panoz /Firestone

Darren Manning (211.712 mph) was the highest qualifying Target Toyota and will start the Saturday night Texas race from the inside of row five after qualifying 9th.

"The Target team has been working very hard and I'm happy with our run today. The key in the race will be running with the lead pack. I ran as high as second a year ago in this race so anything goes. It'll be all about pack racing and being aggressive all race long. The team's put together a strong race car. We'll work on making the no.10 Target Toyota comfortable in the draft and I'll work on being the first car to the finish"

#33 Ryan Briscoe- Toyota / Panoz /Firestone

Rookie Ryan Briscoe (211.159 mph) qualified 12th and will start from the outside of row six.

"This Texas track is something else. Everyone had told me a lot about it but it was still a bit of a shock to feel those g-forces in the highbanked corners. I knew that the track was big but with those tight corners it make it feel a lot smaller. I really like it and can't wait to run in packs in Friday practice in preparation for the race. I feel pretty good about our qualifying run as that is as quick as we have been all day."

Live from Texas...It's Saturday Night!--For the sixth race of the season, "America's Original Nighttime IndyCar Series Race" returns to the high-banked oval of Texas Motor Speedway on June 11 for the Bombardier Learjet 500k (200 laps). This will be the IndyCar Series' 16th visit to Texas, but for the first time since 1997 it will be the only stop the IndyCar Series will make at the 1.5-mile oval this season. The track's unique 24-degree banked turns has produced some of the close racing that has been the hallmark of the IndyCar Series over the last 10 seasons.

Looking Back-- Last year's night race at Texas provided lots of action for the Target team and proved to be a tough test of perseverance and patience. Darren Manning kept his Target crew busy with two nose cone changes to the no.10 car due to various incidents of contact with other cars, and worked his way from a 14th place starting position to find himself battling for 2nd place with Buddy Rice. Spectacular contact between their two cars on lap 181 eventually put both out of contention for the win, with Manning having to settle for an 8th place finish. Contact in the pits with Adrian Fernandez ended Scott Dixon's race prematurely and he was credited with a 14th place finish.

At Texas in 2002, Target driver Jeff Ward edged Al Unser, Jr. by .011 of a second in what was at the time, the closest finish in IRL history. In fact, four of the closest finishes in IndyCar Series history have occurred at Texas Motor Speedway, the most at any track.

In 2003, Dixon, qualified his Toyota/ G Force in second spot twice, finishing 6th in the night race, second in the season finale and was crowned the 2003 IndyCar series champion with the result.

Listen to the Man -- "Low drag. That's the name of the game at Texas. The low drag aerodynamics has to be real free in the corners so that the driver does not have to have a lot of steering input," says Eric Bretzman, Target Team Chief Engineer for Scott Dixon and the no.9 Target Toyota Panoz.

"You have to have a good balance because the banking in the corners is a challenge. It's the biggest banking we see all year. It makes for higher speeds in the corners. You're not looking for as much grip as say Homestead, where the corners are tighter. The added banking at Texas makes more grip in the corner and brings the speeds up.

"Getting the car to run in a pack is also important. You'll work on getting the car to handle real well in the pack. Starting position is not critical if you can work through the field. If you're good in heavy traffic, there's not much downforce in the pack cutting the wind. You want to keep the car from having too much understeer in the pack. We'll work on that the first day and whole second day working the draft looking for different combinations of setups because we're basically trying to turn the car without relying on the front wing.

"A good car will handle good in both grooves. If the car is off, it may be easier to run the car on one groove or the other, but a good car that can win the race will be good in both grooves."

Where the Rubber Meets the Road--According to Firestone engineers, the high-banked superspeedway (24 degrees in the corners) at Texas Motor Speedway requires the company's most durable construction and compounds with high-heat durability. The tire used at Texas is similar to the compounds used at other 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Did You Know That...? -- Drivers say racing at night at Texas Motor Speedway is almost like driving in daylight, thanks to the revolutionary Musco Lighting on the superspeedway. The lighting system uses mirrors to simulate daylight, without glare and shadows. There are 187 Mirtran fixtures around the 1.5-mile track plus 48 additional light fixtures down the length of pit road, each with a 2000-watt bulb. There are also 117 light poles with 7-12 lamps with 1500-watt bulbs in each.

Watch it LIVE--Target fans can tune in to watch the Bombardier Learjet 500k on ESPN Live at 8:30 pm (EDT) on Saturday, June 11th.

Listen Up--Target fans can also listen in to the IndyCar broadcast live by IMS radio Network at 8:00 pm (EDT). The IMS Radio broadcast will also be available on XM satellite Radio Channel 152 "Extreme" and webcast on


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Jeff Ward , Adrian Fernandez , Scott Dixon , Al Unser Sr. , Buddy Rice , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing