St. Pete: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Franchitti Fourth, Dixon 16th in IndyCar Series Season Opener ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April. 5, 2009)-Dario Franchitti finished fourth in his first IndyCar Series points race since winning the series championship in 2007, while Target Chip Ganassi...

Franchitti Fourth, Dixon 16th in IndyCar Series Season Opener

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April. 5, 2009)-Dario Franchitti finished fourth in his first IndyCar Series points race since winning the series championship in 2007, while Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon finished 16th after contact on lap 80 of the 100-lap Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Franchitti started fifth, and made a bold dive to the inside in the opening lap, passing his way up to second place in the No.10 AIR WICK® car. Dixon on the other hand had to deal with the accordion effect of cars from his eighth starting position, but came out of the fray in sixth.

Franchitti continued his steady drive over the course of the race to finish fourth-- his fifth consecutive top-10 finish in the IndyCar Series dating back to Kentucky in 2007.

Dixon's day was not as smooth after the No.3 car overshot his pit box on lap 36 and impeded the No.9 car's progress. Dixon lost all track position, dropped back outside the top-15 and was forced to an alternate strategy. His day ended after contact with the turn 3 wall on lap 80 after getting together with the No.27 car.

Up next for the Target team is Round 2 of the IndyCar Series at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. on Sunday, April 19th (3:30 p.m. EDT, Versus).

Dario Franchitti: "The Air Wick car was pretty quick, especially at the end. But we lost track position. Some of the other guys maybe caught a lucky break there and jumped us in the pits. But all through the day we made it a little better. The one thing it wasn't doing well was using tires. You could see that at the start when Justin (Wilson) and I were fighting and Justin was able to pull away further and further. That last stint was good for us because we had a chance to cool them down again. We've got a little bit of work to do but it was definitely a good start."

Scott Dixon: "The Target car was really quick at the start. I think we had a lot of close calls diving in for the first turn -- maybe even a little contact from behind. I was obviously upset out the Penske car coming into our pit box, which pretty much took away all our track position at that point. As a result, we had to go off sequence and change strategies. The only problem was that a lot of other cars were doing that as well. That, and when you're that far back you just tend to get held up by slower cars and can't pass. I just lost the suspension at the end after the contact with Mutoh. I thought I was alongside him for the pass but we got together and in the next turn I caught the wall."

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing