Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Tuesday May 15, 2012
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Indianapolis 500 Advance Notes
Race: Indianapolis 500 Sunday, May 27 (12:00 PM ET, ABC)
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Location: Speedway, Indiana
Follow Team Target on Twitter: Continue to follow @TCGRTeams for official updates from Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR).
There’s an App for that: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) and SapientNitro SM recently re-launched an updated mobile application, which is one of the first for the high-velocity world of racing. The application brings fans updated driver and event information, and exclusive content in one centralized and expansive mobile experience, bringing to life the rich heritage and legendary success of CGRT. The unique mobile application conveys the high-octane rush of the racing experience for a team that competes at the highest levels in three series – the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), IZOD IndyCar Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Click here to visit the iTunes Application store and download the CGRT mobile app.
Managing Director Mike Hull on Indianapolis: “The Indy 500 is one of the oldest and most important races in the world – it’s a big race! Having our two Target Honda cars for Scott and Dario in “the greatest spectacle” is a big deal. It continually holds the record as the largest single-day attended sporting event globally. The race is 200 laps; a full green-flag run between stops could be 30 laps; with yellows, there could be as many as nine pit stops; and, over the past five years half of the 33 car starting field has been on the lead lap at the end. To give you an idea about the space covered on a given green lap during the race, even with 32 other cars, the real estate covered will average 41 seconds for two and one half miles. If our Target car pits under green, the stop takes nine seconds, and the in-and-out time is 41 seconds – now that’s not what you want to do unless your competition follows you into the pits under yellow. Memorial Day Sunday is all about the Indy 500 – watch us live on ABC.”
Making History Together: Minneapolis-based Target celebrates its 23rd anniversary in motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2012. Since its formation, TCGR has amassed 86 victories and nine titles (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), including three Indianapolis 500 victories (2000, 2008, 2010). The 2012 season includes two full-time entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series with Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti and a full-time entry in the NSCS for 1999 CART Champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 Winner Juan Pablo Montoya, as Team Target continues to feature some of the world’s most accomplished race car drivers. The Target Racing Program enters 2012 with 95 wins across four series (CART/INDYCAR: 86; GRAND-AM: 4; ARCA: 4; NSCS: 1).
Ganassi’s IMS Glory: Ganassi’s history at IMS over the years includes four wins as a team owner in the Indianapolis 500 (1989, 2000, 2008, 2010) in addition to winning the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400. He was also named Rookie of the Year as a driver in the 1983 Indianapolis 500.
Off to a good start: TCGR has visited Indianapolis Motor Speedway 18 times, making 38 starts with 19 different drivers. Three times, TCGR drivers have started from the pole (1993: Arie Luyendyk; 2002: Bruno Junqueira; 2008: Dixon) and 10 times from the front row.
Dominating the Yard: In 38 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, TCGR drivers have amassed three wins (2000: Montoya; 2008: Dixon; 2010: Franchitti), three poles, five podiums, 13 top-fives and 23 top-10s.
Leading the way: In their 18 visits to IMS, TCGR drivers have led 1,050 of a possible 3,600 laps. That is 29% of the laps run at IMS since 1990.
Recapping Victory: In 2000, Montoya started second and led 167 laps on his way to TCGR’s first Indianapolis 500 win. In 2008, Dixon started from the pole and led 115 laps en route to victory, while in 2010 Franchitti started third and led 155 laps on the way to winning his second Indianapolis 500.
Running circles: Since 1990, Indy cars have visited oval tracks 211 times. TCGR has accumulated 44 victories, 43 poles, 15 double-podiums, 102 podiums, 160 top-fives and 262 top-10s on ovals. Out of a possible 82,940 laps for all team Target starts on ovals, TCGR drivers have completed 73,458 laps (88.6%).
Front of the pack: In 211 visits to oval tracks since 1990, TCGR has led in 126 of those races (59.7%). Of the 43,457 laps run on ovals in that time frame, Team Target drivers have led 9,917 laps (22.8%).
Honda Power: Honda comes to IMS second in the Manufacturers’ Championship, with 24 points, trailing Chevrolet by 12. Lotus is third with 16.
Did you Know?: Four years in a row (2008-2011) a TCGR driver has led the most laps in the Indianapolis 500 (2008: Dixon – 115; 2009: Dixon – 73; 2010:Franchitti: 155; 2011: Dixon – 73).
Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team
Dixon on Twitter: Catch the latest from the driver of the No. 9 Target Honda by following Dixon’s personal twitter account, @scottdixon9.
Connected: Fans can check out Dixon’s season-long blog throughout the 2012 campaign on www.Racer.com.
Brazil Recap: Dixon started third and completed the opening 19 laps there before making his first stop of the day. The No. 9 Target Honda continued in the top-four until pitting for the second time on lap 46. As green flag pit stops cycled through, Dixon inherited the lead on lap 55 and remained on point until an ill-timed caution on lap 63 forced him to pit road under the yellow for a fuel-only stop. A wild restart on lap 67 required him to stop as cars in front of him completely blocked the course. He would pit for tires on lap 71, dropping him to 18th. The No. 9 team gained one position in the closing laps to finish 17th.
Career at Indy: This year’s running of the Indianapolis 500 marks Dixon’s 10th start in the event. In his previous nine starts, he has one win, one pole and has led 303 laps. He has completed 1,650 of the 1,746 laps run at Indy (94.5%). The driver of the No. 9 has an average start of 5.8 and an average finish of 8.2. Dixon’s best start and finish came in 2008 when he started and finished first.
Oval Success: In 117 starts on oval tracks, Dixon has 17 wins, 15 poles, 45 podiums and has led 3,095 laps. His average starting position is 8.9 and his average finishing position is 8.2.
Last Year in the 500: Dixon rolled off the grid second and took the lead in turn one, opening up a half-second lead by the end of lap one. He and Target teammate Franchitti swapped the lead back-and-forth for much of the day. The No. 9 Target Honda remained in the top-two running order for the majority of the race, leading a race-high 73 laps and finishing fifth.
Chasing History: Dixon currently ranks 19th on the list of all-time Indianapolis 500 lap-leaders. In nine starts, Dixon has led 293 laps. If he leads 47 laps, Dixon will overtake Gordon Johncock for 13th on the list.
The One and Only: Dixon is the only driver from New Zealand to ever have won the Indianapolis 500.
Engine, Engine, Number Nine: With a second win in the Indianapolis 500, the No. 9 car will have won for the fifth time. Sam Hanks (1957), Rick Mears (1979), Montoya (2000) and Dixon (2008) have all won with the No. 9.
Twice Would be Nice: With his second win at IMS, Dixon would tie Franchitti, Tommy Milton, Bill Vukovich, Rodger Ward, Gordon Johncock, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser, Jr., Luyendyk and Dan Wheldon with two victories in the “world’s most famous race.”
In the Points: With the results in Sao Paulo, Dixon dropped from fourth to sixth in the IZOD IndyCar point standings with 109 points, 71 points behind leader, Will Power.
Making History: Dixon is a two-time IZOD IndyCar Series Champion, earning titles in 2003 and 2008. He is tied for 11th with Johnny Rutherford on the all-time wins list with 27 victories. He is also tied with Emerson Fittipaldi in 18th on the all-time poles list with 17.
Dario Franchitti and the No. 50 Target Team
Franchitti on Twitter: Catch the latest from the driver of the No. 50 Target Honda by following Franchitti’s personal twitter account, @dariofranchitti.
Car Number Change for IMS: In honor of Target’s 50th Anniversary this May, Franchitti will run the No. 50 instead of his usual No. 10 in this year’s running of the Indianapolis 500. The 2012 season also marks Target’s 23rd year with the race team.
Brazil Recap: Franchitti started the race second in the No.10 car and remained there prior to his first stop of the day on lap 21 of the 75-lap race, where the team made a front wing adjustment. Franchitti came to the line for a lap 27 restart in second, until contact from behind resulted in a reverse spin, which brought out another caution. The team would pit under the caution, returning to the race 22nd, the last car on the lead-lap. The team worked their way back into the top-five and Franchitti finished fifth, his highest finish of the first four races this season.
Career at Indy: In eight career starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Franchitti has two wins and has led 306 laps. He has completed 1,543 out of 1,546 laps (99.8%). He has an average start and finish position of 9.0 and 8.4, respectively. His best start is third, four times (2004, 2007, 2009, 2010) and twice he has won (2007, 2010).
Oval Office: Franchitti has participated in 126 oval races, earning 15 victories, 12 poles, 39 podiums and leading 3,282 laps. He has an average start of 8.2 and an average finish of 10.2.
Last Year in the 500: The No. 10 Target team started the Indianapolis 500 ninth, but quickly worked their way to the top-five. Franchitti remained on point for much of the day, leading the second-most laps behind Dixon, with 51. After his final pit stop on lap 164 from the lead, Franchitti made it to lap 199 before a splash of fuel was needed to complete the 500-mile distance – resulting in a 12th-place finish.
On the Verge of History: Franchitti currently ranks 15th in the number of laps led in the Indianapolis 500. In eight starts, he has led 306 laps. If he leads 27 laps, he will surpass Louis Meyer for 14th on the list.
The Scotsman: There are only two drivers from Scotland that have ever won the Indianapolis 500: Jimmy Clark, from Kilmany, won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 and Franchitti, from Edinburgh, won in 2007 and 2010.
All-Time Win List: If Franchitti wins his third Indianapolis 500, he will tie Sebastian Bourdais and Paul Tracy for eighth on the all-time wins list with 31 and also join Meyer, Rutherford, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bobby Unser and Helio Castroneves with three wins in the Indianapolis 500.
In the Points: With a top-five in Brazil, Franchitti moved up to 10th in the points, -98 markers behind leader Will Power.
Making History: Franchitti is a four-time IZOD IndyCar Series Champion, bringing home titles in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He ranks ninth on both the all-time wins list and all-time poles list with 30 and 26, respectively.
Mike Hull – Managing Director
Scott Harner – Team Manager (Administrative Operations)
Barry Wanser – Team Manager (Racing Operations)
About Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc.
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include four in the IZOD IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and one Daytona Prototype in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Overall his teams have 14 championships and 145 victories, including three Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and four Rolex 24 At Daytonas. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Brownsburg, Ind. and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.
For more information log onto chipganassiracing.com
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Beth Lunkenheimer.
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