IRL: Watkins Glen: Chip Ganassi Racing qualifying report

All six drivers in Firestone Fast Six qualifying, Castroneves, Giorgio Pantano, Patrick Carpentier, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti, improved their time as all six positions changed. ...

All six drivers in Firestone Fast Six qualifying, Castroneves, Giorgio Pantano, Patrick Carpentier, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti, improved their time as all six positions changed.

#9 Scott Dixon- Toyota / Panoz /Firestone

Top Six Shootout position determining starting spot: 4th (133.497 mph / 1min 30.8783 seconds)

Main Qualifying session: 1st

After posting the fastest time in the initial qualifying session, Dixon participated in the Top Six Shootout and finished 4th and will start from the second row for the inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix.

"It was great to be first in the initial qualifying session but in the shootout I struggled for front grip and just could put in that prefect lap. It's unfortunate because we have the car to do it but being on the second row in fourth and having Giorgio (Pantano) in second spot is very good for the team morale. Just from the get-go, we decided to do one long run with the car. We didn't really think we could make any time up after the tires had one (heat) cycle in them. We weren't quite as good as we'd have liked. We had a lot of understeer and the more I pushed on it, to try and get more time, the more I was waiting for the front end to hook up. I think it's pretty good for the race. Nobody has done any really long runs, so we should be all right. It was a good day for the team with two in the top four, which is nice for a change. The car seems strong. The cars for the first six or seven laps seemed to get quicker and quicker. The no.9 Target Toyota is very consistent and by staying in the front will make in easier to have opportunities to pass. The start should present a good opportunity for passing especially. This is a big momentum circuit with fast corners so one little mistake can cost you. It should be a very interesting race."

#10 Giorgio Pantano- Toyota / Panoz /Firestone

Top Six Shootout position determining starting spot: 2nd (133.497 mph / 1min 30.8783 seconds)

Main Qualifying session: 5th (133.774 mph / 1min 30.6903seconds)

Pantano was fifth in the initial qualifying session which put him in the Top Six Shootout where he posted the second fastest time, just 3/100th of a second behind the pole winning time of Helio Castroneves. Pantano will start from the front row in just his second IndyCar race.

"I've very pleased with the Target team's effort today but a bit disappointed we didn't get the pole because we were so close (3/100th of a second). We knew we had quite a good car on the long runs. Our goal was to be in the top six for the ten-minute qualifying, and we did that. We're starting second. The important thing is to start on the front row. We did the job, and now tomorrow is the hard race. The Target team have given me a very good car and put me out front now I have a job to do tomorrow."

Let's Get Ready to Rumble--For his feisty nature and stature, Giorgio Pantano (pronounced George-io Pant-anoh) has carried the nickname "Tyson" (after the boxer) for the past few years in his native Italy. Upon hearing that, the no.10 Target Crew has named the car "Tyson" in honour of its driver who will be starting from the front row in just his second IndyCar Series race.

Foggy Friday's Fast & Furious Fight for First--Just as he had done at Infineon Raceway in California last month, Giorgio Pantano, driver of the no.10 Target Toyota, set the fastest time in Friday morning practice with a quick lap of 1 minute, 52.1348 seconds (108.191 mph) despite the rainy and foggy conditions on the historic Watkins Glen International long course. Scott Dixon was tenth in that first session.

I Can See Clearly Now...-- With the rain gone and the track dry, the second practice session on Friday saw lap times fall quickly. BUT... the track was anything but clear as the entire field took the track for the session causing traffic and some difficulties in being able to put together a proper lap time without being hampered by a slower car of yellow falg. Scott Dixon turned in a lap time of 1 min 33.2028 seconds to take the third spot on the timing sheet, while teammate Giorgio Pantano was sixth overall.

Road Trip--Target Chip Ganassi Racing hits the road for a third and final time this season as they get set to race on Sunday in the Finger Lakes region of New York at the historic 3.37-mile undulating road circuit of Watkins Glen International. Target Chip Ganassi Racing will field two cars this weekend with Scott Dixon and Giorgio Pantano at the helm. This will be the 16th of 17 races on the IndyCar Series season schedule.

The Road to Success-- Target Chip Ganassi Racing has working all year for that elusive win and Watkins Glen track looks to be their best hope as the 2005 IndyCar season begins to draw to a close with just one more race in Fontana in October. The Target drivers have tested here twice this season on the racetrack which features 11 turns on the long course with varied banking between 6 and 10 degrees, 115 feet between the lowest point and the highest point of the track, and highlighted by "The Boot," "The Loop" and "The Chute". This weekend's race will be the first major open-wheel series race at the facility since 1981.

King of the Road- Target Chip Ganassi Racing has had a long history of success on road courses. The team boast a total of 45 wins since 1994 (IRL and Champ Car) and 26 of those have come on road or street courses. Their last road course win was at Mexico City in 2002 with driver Kenny Brack.

On the Road to Recovery-- Target Chip Ganassi Racing's 23-year-old Australian IndyCar rookie driver Ryan Briscoe (no.33 Target Pioneer /Toyota /Panoz /Firestone) continues to progress on his road to recovery after a spectacular incident on Sunday, September 11, at Chicagoland Speedway. He was released from Indianapolis' Methodist Hospital on Monday September 19.

After being transferred from Chicago's Advocate Christ Hospital 24 hours after the incident, Briscoe underwent further evaluation and treatment at Indianapolis' Methodist Hospital under the care of Dr. Scott Bjerke, Dr. Terry Trammell and Dr. Kevin Sheid, with the assistance of Indy Racing League medical personnel.

Briscoe sustained a concussion, two broken collarbones, a bruised lung and contusions to his legs and arms. He also has a tiny fracture to a small bone in his right foot and several contusions on his back. All injuries are expected to heal without requiring surgery.

Based on Briscoe's current condition, the team plans to campaign a two-car effort for each of the final two races of the 2005 IndyCar season at Watkins Glen and California Speedway.

Catch it LIVE--Target fans can tune in to watch the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix Presented by Argent Mortgage on ESPN Live at 3:30 pm (EDT) on Sunday, September 25th. The race will also be broadcast on the IMS Radio Network and available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme).


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Helio Castroneves , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing