Team Target Heads to Long Beach
Race: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Sunday, April 17 (3:30 PM ET, VERSUS)
Track: Streets of Long Beach (1.968-mile street circuit)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Follow CGR on Twitter: Follow @CGRTeams for official updates from Chip Ganassi Racing’s INDYCAR and GRAND-AM teams.
Managing Director Mike Hull on Long Beach: “The Long Beach Grand Prix has enormous Open Wheel equity – the winners of this race in F1, CART, and IndyCar represent the very best. The locals refer to it as the “race.” For us, it’s a Big Race to Win. All of our people are very energized to be recognized in Long Beach. Over the years, the race track configuration has been changed to match the downtown planners aggressive growth, but the common denominator continues to be curbs, concrete, and uneven surface. It truly represents a technical driver who finds the quickest route. Watch closely, as it isn’t always conventional. Our Target team winners include: Vasser, Zanardi, Montoya, and Franchitti for five wins. What can you say, except, they have represented our Target Team, and Open Wheel Racing as Major Champions. It would be special to be first on Sunday with either Scott or Dario.”
Walk of Fame: The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach will honor racing legend Jimmy Vasser as well as the legendary race team of Target Chip Ganassi Racing at the sixth annual Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame induction ceremony. Both honorees have won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach during their careers. The induction ceremony will take place Thursday, April 14th at 11:00 a.m. on Pine Avenue just south of Ocean Boulevard, along the course in front of the Convention Center.
TCGR Knows How to Win: Formed in 1990, TCGR has five wins at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009) and a total of 81 Indy car victories, including three Indianapolis 500 wins (2000, 2008, 2010). TCGR’s most recent win was on Sunday, March 27, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
CGR Wins: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Indianapolis-based operations have won four out of the five races they’ve entered so far in 2011 (Rolex 24 At Daytona-GRAND-AM, Grand Prix of Miami-GRAND-AM, Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg-INDYCAR and the Porsche 250-GRAND-AM). The TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team win at Barber Motorsports Park gave CGR its 138th victory.
Team History: TCGR has a long history of success at Long Beach, winning the race five times (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009). Jimmy Vasser won in 1996 and Alex Zanardi won back-to-back races in 1997 & 1998. Current Target NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya won in 1999 and reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti won in 2009. Coincidentally, every TCGR driver that has won the GPLB has gone on to win the championship.
Podium Finish: Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers earned a double-podium finish at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama last Sunday with Scott Dixon second and Dario Franchitti third. The result marked TCGR’s 26th double-podium and the 10th since the duo became teammates in 2009.
Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team
Follow Dario on Twitter: Follow @dariofranchitti for all the happenings and inside information on the driver of the No. 10 Indy car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Comfort Zone: With a total of eight starts at Long Beach, Franchitti has three top-fives and five top-10s, including two back-to-back podium finishes in 1998 and 1999. Franchitti’s win at this track was in 2009 where he started on pole.
Winning on Multiple Tracks: Franchitti’s most recent (27th) win at St. Petersburg marked the 22nd different track on which he’s scored a victory in an Indy car. He only trails Mario Andretti (52 open wheel wins) by four tracks, followed by Al Unser (20), Michael Andretti (19), Sebastien Bourdais (18), with A.J. Foyt, Helio Castroneves and Paul Tracy tied at 17. Although Foyt has 67 wins, many came at tracks like Phoenix (five), Trenton (12), Langhorne (four), the Indy Mile (five), Ontario (five), or Milwaukee (four).
One of Dario’s Favorites: “The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is a big one for me because it’s one of the places I went when I came to the U.S. for the first time. Whether or not you’re a fan of Indy cars, if you come to Long Beach you’re not just standing there watching the race, it’s about coming to be entertained for the weekend.”
Barber Recap: Franchitti started the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in seventh and worked his way up into the top-five by lap 10. After a caution on lap 36, Franchitti made a pass on the No. 6 car for third position. He kept a spot in the top-three for the remainder of the race and went on to finish third.
Catching Up with Johnny Rutherford: Franchitti spent time with legend, Johnny Rutherford, at Barber Motorsports Park during the race weekend. Rutherford drove the pace car for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Franchitti is currently 10th on the all-time Indy car win list, tying Johnny Rutherford with 27 wins.
Franchitti on Johnny Rutherford: "It was a terrific honor to spend time with Johnny Rutherford; we're blessed to have so many stars from the past with us every weekend. Johnny Rutherford is a legend and friend of mine."
Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team
Follow Scott on Twitter: Follow @scottdixon9 for all the happenings and inside information on the driver of the No. 9 Indy car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Collecting Finishes: Dixon’s fourth-place finish in the 2010 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is his best IZOD IndyCar Series finish at Long Beach after starting eighth. He won the Firestone Indy Lights race at the track in 2000 and finished 15th when the IZOD IndyCar Series visited Long Beach for the first time in 2009.
Barber Recap: Dixon started the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in third position and ran as high as second over the 90-lap race. He recorded the fastest lap of the event on lap 73 with a time of 73.866 seconds en route to a second-place finish behind race winner Will Power.
Start One, End One: Out of his 57 career podium finishes, 17 poles and 25 wins, Dixon has won from the pole seven times (2003, 2007, four times in 2008, and 2009).
Points Jump: Dixon jumped from 16th to fourth in the standings with his runner-up finish at Barber Motorsports Park. In 2009, Dixon jumped from 17th to fourth after Long Beach leading into Kansas, which is the largest points jump in Dixon’s career.