TEAM TARGET HEADS FOR WINE COUNTRY
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Sonoma Advance Notes
Race: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday, August 28 (4:00 PM ET, VERSUS)
Track: Infineon Raceway (2.303-mile Road Course)
Location: Sonoma, California
Follow TCGR on Twitter: Follow @TCGRTeams for official updates from Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Managing Director Mike Hull on Sonoma: “Racing Indy cars at Infineon Raceway started with Dan Gurney winning the first Indy car race there in 1970. For us, it’s special that Target Chip Ganassi Racing has had its share of success following in such footsteps. The track itself is very technical for the drivers, with its extreme elevation change and hard braking zones. The length of the lap combined with ‘getting it right’ separates the field. It will be all about set-up, strategy, and that last fuel segment this weekend, and if you can get all of that right, you will have a chance to win. These are all of the elements that make IndyCar Series racing very exciting.”
Team Target at Sonoma: Team Target has made 13 starts at Infineon Raceway since 2005. In those races, they have claimed two wins (Scott Dixon-2007, Dario Franchitti-2009), three poles (Ryan Briscoe-2005, Dixon-2006 and Franchitti-2009), four podiums, six top-fives and nine top-10 finishes. TCGR’s average start in Sonoma is 6.6 and their average finish is 7.2. They have completed over 93% of the laps run (958 of 1,020) at Infineon, led 158 laps and have been running at the finish in 11 of 13 starts.
“Bullseye” the Target Dog: Target will be bringing their very own Bull-Terrier mascot, “Bullseye”, to the track for the upcoming IZOD IndyCar Series race weekend. Bullseye will be making appearances at Infineon Raceway all weekend long, including the series’ driver autograph session on Saturday, August 27th at 4:45pm. Running through 5:45, fans can stop by the IndyCar Fan Village to meet TCGR drivers Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon and Bullseye.
Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Team
Media Alert 1: Dixon will be appearing at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in downtown San Francisco on Thursday, August 25th at 2:15 pm for a reading event. He will have media availability from 2:15-2:45 pm. The School is located at 825 Shotwell St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Media Alert 2: Dixon will be in Victory Lane at 9:45 am on Sunday, August 28th for a media availability and appearance with “Bullseye”, the Target dog.
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.
History at Sonoma: In six career starts at Infineon Raceway, Dixon has posted one victory (2007), two podiums, three top-five and four top-10 finishes. He also started from the pole for the 2006 race in Sonoma. Dixon has completed every lap run at the track (470 of 470) since the first race there in 2005, and has led three of six races for a total of 57 laps. He is one of only five drivers to have competed in every race at the track, and one of two who have been running at the finish in all six events as well (Tony Kanaan).
Leading Laps: If Dixon is able to complete at least eight laps of this weekend’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, he will eclipse the 1,000 mile mark at Infineon Raceway (Currently at 982.24 miles). Only three other drivers will have the opportunity to reach the millennium mark during the race (Kanaan, Danica Patrick, and Helio Castroneves).
Podium Power: In Dixon’s 182 career starts, he has racked up 63 podium finishes, putting him 14th on the all-time podium list. His first top-three finish came at Nazareth Speedway in 2001, when he scored his first career Indy car victory. Dixon has seven podiums to through the first 13 rounds of the 2011 season and has finished inside the top-three in four of the last five races.
Target Reading Event: On Thursday, August 25th, Dixon will be making a pit stop at the Cesar Chavez Elementary School in downtown San Francisco. The event will feature a book reading and question and answer session with Dixon, who also will showcase his No. 9 Target car and personal driving gear. Target, with the help of “First Book”, is donating a book to each of the 150+ students who will be in attendance. In addition to the book donations, Target will be presenting the school with a $2,000 grant to select new books for its library.
Loudon Recap: Dixon started the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 in seventh and ran inside the top-10 throughout the first stint of the race. He then moved into the top-five for the first time prior to a lap 111 caution. Following a restart on lap 119, Dixon drove up to third and after the final round of pit stops found himself battling with Oriol Servia for second. In the end, he maintained his place inside the top-three and finished third in the rain-shortened event (215 of 225 laps), giving him his seventh podium of the year.
Taking The Lead: With his third-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Dixon capitalized on his teammate’s disappointing day to take the lead in the AJ Foyt Oval Trophy standings. He now holds a 17-point advantage over Franchitti in second, and is 36 points ahead of third-place Will Power. Coming into the race at Infineon Raceway, Dixon sits 90 points behind Franchitti in the Mario Andretti Road Trophy standings with three road/street events remaining.
In the Points: After his podium finish at NHMS, Dixon remains third in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series point standings with 370 points. He is currently 73 points back of leader Franchitti, but is now only 26 points behind Power for second.
Dario Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Team
Media Alert: Franchitti will be appearing in Victory Lane at 9:45 am on Sunday, August 28th for a media opportunity with “Bullseye”, the Target Dog.
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.
Franchitti in Wine Country: Franchitti has made five career starts in the heart of Napa Valley. In those races he has picked up one win (2009), four podiums, four top-fives and five top-10s. He is also the only driver to have qualified on the pole for the race twice (2007, 2009). His average start at Infineon is 6.2 and his average finish is 3.4. He has completed every lap in his five starts (390 of 390) and has led 137 laps, the most of any driver at Sonoma.
Dominant Performance: In the 2009 edition of this event, Franchitti started from the pole and led all 75 laps on his way to winning the race. At the time of Franchitti’s wire-to-wire win, it was the first time a driver had led every lap of an IZOD IndyCar Series race since Dixon led all 206 laps of a rain-shortened event at Richmond International Raceway in 2003.
Stepping Up: In his five starts at Infineon Raceway, Franchitti has finished on the podium four times (First-2009, Second-2006, and Third-2007, 2010). He has not finished out of the top-three since his first race at the course in 2005, when he finished eighth. He has also qualified inside the top-three in his three starts since 2007 (First-2007, 2009, and Third-2010).
First Infineon, Then the Title: In 2009, Franchitti won the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway and then went on to win the IZOD IndyCar Championship. He is the only driver to accomplish both feats in the same season. Four drivers have won in Sonoma and finished second in the final standings since 2005 (Kanaan-2005, Dixon-2007, Castroneves-2008 and Power-2010).
Running Up Front: Franchitti holds the longest active streak for races led with six. He has led 484 of a possible 940 laps during this current stretch. That amounts to the No. 10 car leading more than half of the laps run (51.49) since the Milwaukee 225 at the Milwaukee Mile in Round 8 of the 2011 season.
Tough Day at NHMS: Franchitti started the afternoon from the pole and kept the No. 10 Honda out front for much of the first half of the race. From the drop of the green, he was able to run away from the field, moving out to a sizable lead prior to the first cycle of green flag stops. He led 115 of the first 119 laps, but following an incident on a restart, Franchitti was forced to retire to the garage with damage for the remainder of the race. When the checkered flag flew, he would be scored in the 20th position.
In the Points: Despite being caught up in an on-track incident at New Hampshire, Franchitti heads into Sonoma with a 47-point lead over second-place Power with only five races left. He did drop to second in the AJ Foyt Oval Trophy standings and is now 17 points behind Dixon with two oval events to go. However, he is still at the top of the charts in the Mario Andretti Road Trophy standings and has a 28-point lead over Power with just three road/street events remaining.