2008 Dallara Target Chip Ganassi Racing Indycar news, pictures, and information
Scott DixonAfter posting four wins, including three consecutive victories, two pole positions, leading 215 laps and finishing either first or second in ten of 16 races during the 2007 IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon and the Target team have a lot to look forward to in 2008. Finishing runner-up in the Championship which came down to the last turn, of the last lap, of the finale race, may have left Dixon feeling a bit deflated, but he hopes to build on those positive results to contend for yet another Championship.
The positive momentum began in 2006 when the Target Team implemented many exciting improvements to its program, including a return to the Honda engine and switch to the Dallara chassis, as well as the addition of 2005 IndyCar Series Champion Dan Wheldon as a teammate. All those factors had Dixon aiming high once again and it paid off with a return to the front.
That season, Dixon earned two wins, including a second consecutive victory at the Watkins Glen road course and a night race win at Nashville Speedway, along with a pole position on the road course at Sonoma, as well as nine top-five finishes. The driver of the no.9 Target Honda also led laps in nine of 14 races for a total of 261 laps. Dixon was a contender in every race and in a battle that came down right to the final laps of the season finale at Chicagoland, he closed out the 2006 season fourth in the IndyCar Series Championship standings.
Dixon, like many before him, started his racing career in karting and captured two championships in the New Zealand Formula Vee series. After a successful racing career in Australia and New Zealand, including a championship in the class I Formula Ford Series and a 'Rookie of the Year' award in the Australian Formula Holden Championship, Dixon moved on to Dayton Indy Lights series in North America. There he added another championship to his resume in 2000 for PacWest Racing with six wins, seven podium finishes, and one pole position. At the time, he was the second-youngest driver in history to win the Indy Lights title, just six days older than the late Greg Moore.
After his championship performance in 2000, Dixon received the call to move up to the CART Series in 2001. Dixon started the season by making a name for himself in Monterrey, Mexico, where he led 14 laps in his season debut. Just two races later, in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Dixon entered the record books by becoming the youngest ever winner of a CART race, or any major open-wheel race, by capturing his first victory at the age of 20 years, 9 months and 14 days. He followed that record-breaking performance by adding a podium finish of third at Milwaukee, and fourth-place results at Chicago, Road America and Laguna Seca.
In his rookie Champ Car season, Dixon scored championship points in 11 of 20 starts and led the FedEx Championship Series in laps completed, with 2,521 out of a possible 2,610, and miles completed, with 4,351.217 out of a possible 4,520.983. He finished eighth in the championship with 98 points while capturing the 'Rookie of the Year' honors along the way.
In 2002, Target Chip Ganassi Racing picked up the young driver after the PacWest team folded following the third race of the season. Dixon joined Target team drivers Bruno Junqueira and Kenny Brack for the Milwaukee race and put in a solid season that saw him amass 12 top-tens including a second place finish in Denver.
2003 was a storybook season for Scott Dixon. After a move to the Indy Racing League with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, the New Zealander began with a victory at the season-opening in Homestead, Florida, becoming just the third driver to win in his IndyCar® Series debut. Dixon continued to perform after his hot start and captured the series championship with 507 total points.
Dixon won the 2003 Championship with a 343 consecutive laps led, three wins, five pole positions and a total of 748 laps led. The young phenom took the checkered flag at Homestead, Pikes Peak, and led every lap in his victory at Richmond.
As the defending IndyCar Series Champion, Dixon performed consistently throughout the 2004 season, finishing among the top-10 in ten of 15 races with a second place finish in Phoenix, another top-five finish at the Indy Japan 300 in Motegi and capped off the 2004 season on a positive note with four straight races in the top-ten.
The end of the 2005 season finally brought a a close what can be described as a difficult period in which the team's championship contention had been hampered by reduced horsepower. Dixon, however, showed that he had not forgotten what it takes to finish first. He and the Target team celebrated a long awaited win on the road course at Watkins Glen in 2005 and still posted six top-10 results.
Dan WheldonDan Wheldon is very much lòòking forward his third season wîth the Target team in 2008, in order to add to an already impressive IndyCar career in which he can boast 13 career wins, including an Indianapolis 500 victory (2005), five pole positions, and a championship title (2005).
After finishing runner-up in the 2006 Championship, Wheldon began the 2007 season in grand form wîth a pole position and third consecutive win at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. He followed that up wîth a second win at Kansas Speedway and continued to be a championship contender throughout the season, finishing fourth in the points standings.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing welcomed the talented Brit to the team as the driver of the No.10 Target Honda Dallara in 2006 and he immediately proved his worth by winning the season opener at Homestead Miami, posting two pole positions and a second win in the season finale to tie in points in the drivers Championship standings. Únfortunately, Wheldon would lose the tiebreaker wîth two fewer wins than rival Sam Hornish Jr.
That season, Wheldon earned nine top-five finishes after leading the field at least once in 11 of 14 races for a total of 761 laps, the most of any driver this season, and was second in laps completed wîth 2451 of 2510 (97.6%).
Prior to joining the Target team, the young British driver went from being an unproven rookie to an Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series Champion in just three IndyCar Series seasons.
|Engine : 3.5 L., 8-cylinder|
Power: 670 hp
After making his debut in the IRL wîth Panther racing in 2002 for the final two events of that season, Wheldon joined Andretti Green Racing the following year. He competed in 14 of 16 IndyCar Series events during the 2003 season, finished 11th in the standings for AGR and won Rookie of the Year honours after earning five top-five and nine top-10 finishes, including a career-best third in the season finale at Texas.
The 2004 campaign was Wheldon's first full season in the IndyCar Series, but that chance afforded Wheldon three race victories, including the prestigious event at Twin Ring Motegi. The talented young Brit started second and finished third in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing– the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500, went from last to first to win at Richmond and won the final race ever run at Nazareth Speedway. Wheldon finished the season a close runner-up in the 2004 IndyCar Series Drivers' Championship wîth 533 points; the second-highest point total ever and highest ever to not win the Championship.
Wheldon captured the 2005 IRL Driver's Championship by recording six wins in 17 races, breaking Sam Hornish Jr.'s IRL record for most wins in a season. In May, Wheldon won the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 in only his third attempt, becoming the first Englishman to accomplish the feat since the late Graham Hill in 1966. This season he posted 12 top-five finishes and 15 top-10 finishes, and clinched the 2005 IRL Driver's Championship wîth one practice lap at Watkins Glen.
In addition, Wheldon became the first Englishman and the first driver since Jacques Villeneuve in 1995 to win both the Indy 500 and a major Driver's Championship in the same season. He joined such racing legends as A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Únser, Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Únser, Louis Meyer and Wilbur Shaw to accomplish this feat.
With a firm lead in the 2005 Championship by the month of May, Wheldon set his sights on winning the 89th Indianapolis 500. Starting from 16th position, he worked his way through to the front, passing rookie Danica Patrick wîth 30 laps to go and took the double checkered flags to capture the Indy 500 victory and a record purse of more than 1.5 million dollars. It was the first time in history a driver had ever won the race from a 16th place starting position.
Wheldon's ascension in the IRL in his first three seasons was nothing less than astounding, as he recorded nine wins in a 29-race stretch; the best streak in the history of the league. In fact, those nine wins came in just 49 career starts. He also holds IndyCar Series records for most race wins (6) in a season and most consecutive wins wîth three-- St. Petersburg (4/3/05), Motegi (4/30/05) and Indianapolis (5/29/05).Source - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip GanassiChip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. His racing empire includes 11 drivers that represent six different countries and seven series championships, three Indianapolis 500 championships, five Rolex 24 At Daytona overall championships and over 130 wins. Today his teams include two cars in the Indy Racing League, three in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, one Daytona Prototype in the world of Grand American Sports Car racing, two entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and regular entries in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). Overall, that is at least 10 cars covering no less than five different touring divisions.
Throughout Ganassi's career as an owner he has continued to raise the innovation bar wîth a constant search for a better way to do things. He is recognized as one of the first team owners to create both hugely successful driver and Pit Crew development programs. Ganassi was one of the first to create an advanced research and development group that supports all of his race programs. He also created an in depth Information Technology partnership wîth some of his technology sponsors (Microsoft, Dell, EMC, Syntel and Numara) to best utilize their expertise in order to benefit the race program. Whether it is to more efficiently develop young drivers or to better prepare his cars for the track, Ganassi has been at the forefront of many of the innovations that the sport of auto racing has seen over the last two decades.
The 2007 season saw his teams compile a combined 13 wins, the most in team's 18-year history. They were led by IndyCar Series runner-up Scott Dixon who compiled four wins and an IndyCar series record-tying three consecutive at one point. NASCAR newcomer Juan Pablo Montoya and veteran Grand Am driver Scott Pruett each picked up three while Dan Wheldon made it to victory lane twice. In addition, his Grand Am team picked up its second consecutive overall win of the prestigious 24 At Daytona wîth Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett and Salvador Duran in the No. 01 Lexus-Riley.
After the success of Montoya's Raybestos Rookie of the Year NASCAR debut, Ganassi again surprised the racing community. He threw conventional wisdom out the window and found the best driver he could no matter the series and signed 2007 Indy 500 and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti to drive the team's No. 40 Dodge full-time beginning in 2008. Franchitti will become the first European to drive full-time in the series whereby further expanding the ever-growing global reach of Ganassi and his racing operation.
Following a strong career as a driver, Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar™ team in 1990 and established a partnership wîth a new sponsor – Target. Success has been no stranger to Ganassi as a team owner, his open wheel teams have amassed five championships and 56 wins while overall his teams can claim seven championships and nearly 90 wins; his NASCAR teams have 12 victories and three 'Rookie of the Year' titles. Ganassi also boasts two state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis, Ind., and Concord, N.C., and a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Ganassi solidified his place in open wheel racing history, becoming the first owner to lead his team to four consecutive championships wîth Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-98) and then wîth rookie Juan Pablo Montoya's championship in 1999. In 2000, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Montoya blew away the competition in the Indianapolis 500, claiming the title for his team which had not raced at the famed Brickyard since 1995. In 2003, following a switch from the CART Series to the Indy Racing League, Ganassi and Team Target driver Scott Dixon proved they could meet the challenge of a new series and new competition by capturing the 2003 Indy Racing League Championship.
After Ganassi's majority acquisition of Team SABCO from Felix Sabates and beginning his involvement wîth NASCAR in 2001, Sterling Marlin and the No. 40 team gave Ganassi his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory, and the team remained in the top 10 in driver points all season long to finish third in the standings.
In 2003, Ganassi became the first owner to have three drivers claim 'Rookie of the Year' honors in stock car racing in the same season wîth McMurray in the NEXTEL Cup Series, David Stremme in the NASCAR Busch Series and Reed Sorenson in the ASA Series.
Ganassi made his foray into the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004 wîth Sorenson, Mears and McMurray running in eight races. The trio collected one win, two poles and six top-10 finishes. Their success led the way for a full-time Busch Series entry in 2005 wîth rookie Sorenson behind the wheel. Sorenson finished fourth in the championship standings while racking up impressive numbers: two wins, two poles, 12 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes.
That season also saw Ganassi expand his racing team to include two Lexus/Riley Daytona Prototype entries in the Grand American Sports Car Series and four more talented drivers. In keeping wîth Ganassi Racing's tradition of excellence, veteran drivers Scott Pruett and Max Papis won the Rolex Series Championship wîth 11 pole positions and four wins in 12 races to their credit.
With Franchitti, Montoya and Sorenson running the full '08 Sprint Cup Series schedule, the year is sure to have its share of highlights. That, coupled wîth returning IndyCar champs Dixon and Wheldon, the return of Pruett and Memo Rojas in a Daytona prototype, Chip Ganassi Racing is sure to be a contender on all fronts.
Ganassi's interests do not lie solely in auto racing. He has expanded his horizons to include several other sporting and business pursuits. The 1982 Duquesne Úniversity graduate was formerly part owner of his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates and is currently vice president of the FRG Group, a Pittsburgh holding company wîth interests in telecommunications and manufacturing. Ganassi is also a supporter and promoter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, to which his team has donated nearly half a million dollars over the years.Source - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Open Wheel HistoryTeam owner Chip Ganassi and Target began their partnership in 1990 wîth the creation of a one-car IndyCar team. Since then, the Target team has amassed five championship titles, 56 wins, including an Indianapolis 500 victory, and 54 pole positions.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Target Team solidified its place in open- wheel racing history, as Chip Ganassi became the first owner to lead his team to four consecutive championships wîth Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-98) and then wîth rookie driver Juan Montoya's championship in 1999. In 2000, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Montoya blew away the competition in the Indianapolis 500, claiming the title for his team which had not raced at the famed Brickyard since 1995.
In 2003, following a switch from the CART Series to the Indy Racing League, Ganassi and Team Target driver Scott Dixon proved they could meet the challenge of a new series and new competition by capturing the 2003 IndyCar Series Championship. In 2004, defending series champion Dixon was joined by Darren Manning, and together the duo set the stage for a talented, stronger and more experienced team. Dixon highlighted the 2005 IRL season for Ganassi wîth a trip to the winner's circle at Watkins Glen International.
At the end of the 2005 season, the Target Team unveiled a long list of exciting changes to their IndyCar program for the season, including a new engine and chassis manufacturer package and a return to IndyCar Series competition wîth two Indy Racing League Champions, Scott Dixon (2003) and Dan Wheldon (2005).
Those enhancements paid immediate dividends for the 2006 season as both drivers were contenders in every race and ultimately for the IndyCar Series Championship, earning four wins, three pole positions and leading a combined 976 laps (of 2510).
The 2006 season came to an end in dramatic fashion as the Target team took the checkered flag in first and second place, the team's second 1-2 finish of the year, but fell just short of the IndyCar Series title as Wheldon's win tied him for first wîth Penske driver Sam Hornish wîth 475 points but then lost in the tiebreaker wîth two less wins (Hornish 4 - Wheldon 2). The win in the 2006 IndyCar season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, also marked the Target Team's historic 50th victory in open wheel racing, adding to an impressive resume.
In 2007, season highlights included three pole positions and six race victories, the team's best season win total since 1999, while the battle for the IndyCar Series title came down to the final race for a second straight year.
Scott Dixon led the last lap of the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway but the Target team's IndyCar Series Championship hopes ran dry just a few hundred feet from the checkered flag as the no.9 Target car ran out of fuel as it headed for Turn 4 and watched rival Dario Franchitti make the pass for the race win and Championship title.
The Target team and Dixon, who never fell out of contention all season long, finished the 2007 IndyCar season second in the points standings wîth 624 points, and fourth wîth Wheldon's 466 points.
The team now boasts five Championship titles wîth 25 wins on ovals, 16 victories on street courses and 15 on permanent road courses. The first 40 wins came in the CART Series while the following 16 victories were earned in the Indy Racing League.
Returning for his sixth IndyCar season in 2008 at the helm of the No.9 Target car, Scott Dixon who was disappointed wîth a runner-up finish in the 2007 Championship, is hoping to build on the consistency he showed this past season wîth six runner-up finishes, three consecutive victories and four total wins, as well as 13 top- five finishes and 291 laps led.
With five road/street courses on the schedule to compliment 11 ovals races, Dixon, who solidified himself as a road course specialist wîth his three consecutive wins at Watkins Glen and victories at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma, is lòòking to add a few more trips to the winner's circle in 2008 in order to build on his ten career wins, eight pole positions and his 2003 IndyCar title, in order to once again vie for another Championship.
Dan Wheldon will also be back for his third season at the wheel of the no.10 Target Honda Dallara after earning a pole position and two victories in 2007. Wheldon is hoping that his sixth season of competition will see him adding onto an already impressive IndyCar career wîth 13 wins, including an Indianapolis 500 victory, five pole positions and his 2005 Championship title.
The 2008 IndyCar Series season features a 16-race schedule, wîth events on 11 ovals, three permanent road courses and two temporary street circuits and begins under the lights on Saturday, March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.Source - Target Chip Ganassi Racing
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