DIXON, FRANCHITTI READY FOR FINALE IN LAS VEGAS
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Las Vegas Advance Notes
Race: IZOD INDYCAR World Championships on Sunday, October 16 (3:00 PM ET, ABC)
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile D-shaped oval)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Follow TCGR on Twitter: Follow @TCGRTeams for official updates from Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Managing Director Mike Hull on Las Vegas: “Looking ahead to the IndyCar finale, I think we're lucky in that we did a full-scale simulation, as it were, at Kentucky…up to a point. One-and-a-half-mile oval racing is gladiator racing – wheel to wheel, hard racing, and the driver has to focus for 200 laps. So I think it's good that we had one of those races before the finale. The aero package for Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be similar to Kentucky, and the fact that IndyCar is allowing us a bit of extra time at the front end of the Vegas weekend and giving us time to digest what we've learned will help all of us.”
Team Target on Ovals in 2011: In 2011, Team Target has made 14 starts on oval tracks. In those starts, they have scored two wins (Franchitti – Texas Race One and Milwaukee), eight podiums, 10 top-fives and 12 top-10s. They have also picked up two poles to go with those finishes (Franchitti – Milwaukee and New Hampshire). Their average start on ovals this year is 8.9 and their average finish is 5.2. Dixon and Franchitti have completed 2,539 (96.3%) of a possible 2,636 laps and have led 829 of them (31.4%). Team Target has been running at the finish in 13 of the 14 starts and has finished on the lead lap 13 times.
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.
Dixon on the Championship: “The job now is to help Dario. If we can do that and get another Championship for the team…that is going to be huge. Obviously you want to win the Championship, but it takes a lot to do it. It is not just yourself. It is the team, how you prepare and making sure you are on the right strategy. You need to go out and do the things you always do. If I can try and race for the win, that would be fantastic as well. We are still in the business of trying to win races and that is what I am going out to try to do.”
2011 in Review: Dixon has made 17 starts in 2011, tallying two wins (Mid-Ohio and Motegi), nine podiums, 12 top-fives and 13 top-10s. Along with his solid finishes, he also has two poles (Mid-Ohio and Motegi) and has started inside the top-10 15 times. Dixon’s average start and finish in 2011 are 6.2 and 6.5 respectively. He has completed 99.5% of the laps run this season (2,100 of 2,111) and led 190 of them (9.0%). He has been running at the finish in all 17 races so far this season and finished on the lead lap 14 times.
Driving in Circles: There have been seven races on oval tracks this season. In his starts on that track type, Dixon has five podiums, six top-fives and has finished inside the top-10 is all seven races. His best finish on the ovals in 2011 is second (Twice - Texas Race One and Texas Race Two). He has completed all 1,318 laps run in those races this season and has led 77 of them (5.8%). Dixon’s average start on the ovals is 9.6, but his average finish is 3.6. He has been running at the finish of every oval race and has not scored fewer than 20 points in those seven starts.
Going For a 1-2 Sweep: Dixon is currently 37 points behind Will Power for second-place in the overall IndyCar point standings. If Dixon is able to pass Power for second, it will be only the second time in TCGR history that the team has finished first and second in the final standings (2009).
On a Roll: Following last weekend’s race at Kentucky, Dixon now has the longest consecutive streak of both top-five and top-10 finishes with six. No other driver has finished inside the top-five in consecutive races, and second-longest streak of top-10 finishes belongs to TCGR teammate Franchitti with four. Dixon also holds the longest streak for starts inside the top-10 with eight. That is four more top-10 starts than the second-place driver (Power – four).
AJ Foyt Oval Trophy: Two weeks ago at Kentucky Speedway, Dixon finished third, securing the 2011 AJ Foyt Oval Trophy Championship with 216 points. With his third-place finish in the Kentucky Indy 300, the driver of the No. 9 Honda scored 35 points, keeping him 10 points ahead of runner-up and teammate, Franchitti. Dixon posted an average finish of 3.6 in races on ovals this season and averaged 30.9 points per race in order to take home the title. This oval championship marks the second in a row for Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Franchitti won the inaugural title in 2010).
Kentucky Recap: Dixon started seventh and by lap 63 had moved up into third-place. He brought the No. 9 Honda in for a pit stop under caution on lap 81, and after a slight wing adjustment, gained one position, coming back onto the track in second. After a restart on lap 93, Dixon fell back to third, but continued to maintain his place inside the top-three. Following the second caution of the race, Dixon gained a position, putting him back into second. A third yellow flag waved on lap 167, allowing the team to conserve fuel and run until the end of the race. When the checkered flag flew, Dixon crossed the line in third-place. With his finish, Dixon secured the A.J. Foyt Oval Trophy for his performance this season on oval tracks.
In the Points: Coming into the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Dixon remains third in the overall IZOD IndyCar Series point standings, 55 behind Franchitti and 37 behind second-place Power. While his deficit to first-place makes him mathematically ineligible for the series championship, he still has a chance to move up to second in the standings following the race at Las Vegas.
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.
Championship on the Horizon: If Franchitti takes his fourth career IndyCar Series Championship at Las Vegas, it will be his fourth title in as many seasons of competition (2007, 2009 and 2010). It would also be the fourth consecutive title for TCGR (Dixon – 2008, Franchitti – 2009, 2010) and ninth overall (Jimmy Vasser: 1996; Alex Zanardi: 1997, 1998; Juan Pablo Montoya: 1999; Dixon: 2003, 2008 and Franchitti: 2009, 2010). Franchitti would be only the third driver in IndyCar Series history to ever win at least three titles in a row (Ted Horn: 1946-1948 and Sebastien Bourdais: 2004-2007).
In It to Win It: If Franchitti wins the season finale at Las Vegas, it will be the third time in his career that he clinched the IndyCar title by winning the final race of the season (2007 and 2009). It would also be the third different track that he clinched the championship at (Chicagoland Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway).
Grand Finale: Franchitti’s 18-point lead heading into the final race of the season is the largest gap that he has ever had on second-place with one race remaining. Prior to this season, he has only gone into the final race of the season as the point leader twice. The first time was in 1999, when he led by nine points, ended the race in a tie with Montoya (Both had 212 points) and finished second after losing the “most wins” tie-breaker. The other was back in 2007, when he held a three-point lead over second-place and went on to win his first career IndyCar title.
2011 in Review: Going into Las Vegas, Franchitti has started all 17 races of the 2011 season. In those races, he has totaled four wins (St. Petersburg, Texas Race One, Milwaukee and Toronto), nine podiums, 13 top-fives and 15 top-10s. He also has two poles (Milwaukee and New Hampshire), nine top-five starts, and 15 starts inside the top-10. His average starting position this season is 6.2, while his average finish is 4.8. He has completed 2,014 (95.4%) out of the 2,111 laps run, and has led a series-high 884 laps (41.9%). Franchitti has been running at the finish and has finished on the lead lap in 16 races this year.
Ovals This Season: In seven races on ovals in 2011, Franchitti has racked up two wins (Texas Race One and Milwaukee), four top-fives and five top-10s. Both of his poles this season came on ovals (Milwaukee and New Hampshire). He has completed 1,221 (92.6%) of a possible 1,318 laps and has led 752 of them (57.1%). He has been running at the finish in six of seven races and has only finished off of the lead lap once. His average start on ovals is 8.3 and his average finish is 6.9.
Leader of the Pack: Franchitti has led 884 laps so far in 2011, which puts him only 16 laps led from setting a new single-season record (Dixon – 899 laps led in 2008). He is the only driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series to have led more than 100 laps in a single race this season (Five times – Texas Race One, Milwaukee, Iowa, New Hampshire and Kentucky). He has led in 11 different races this season, which is the second highest total behind Power with 13.
Lead Lap Finisher: Franchitti has finished on the lead lap in 16 of the 17 races so far this season. If he is able to complete every lap in the season finale at Las Vegas, he will set a new personal record for most lead lap finishes in a season (Also had 16 in 2010).
“Tie” Him Up: With a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Franchitti would tie his career-best total for wins in a single season with five (2009). Also, if he is able to finish on the podium in the IndyCar World Championships, he would have his 10th podium of the season, making this the third time in his past four years of competition that he has had double-digit podiums and fourth time in his career (1999, 2007 and 2010).
Kentucky Recap: Franchitti began the race from 11th and moved up to ninth after just four laps. With pit stops starting on lap 51, he used great fuel mileage to move into first and hold onto the lead after his pit stop on lap 52. After the second caution of the day came on lap 140, the No. 10 team made their second stop of the day and maintained the lead. The third yellow flag allowed Franchitti to conserve fuel, allowing him to run to the end of the race. With 20 laps-to-go, he was battling side-by-side for the lead with Ed Carpenter and took the checkered flag in second by 0.0098-seconds behind Carpenter (The sixth-closest race in IndyCar Series history and the closest ever at Kentucky Speedway).
In the Points: With his runner-up finish at Kentucky, Franchitti moved back into the points lead with 573 points. He is now 18 points ahead of second-place Power with only one race remaining. This is only the second time in his last four seasons of competition that he has gone into the season finale as the point leader (2007).