Team Target Ready for Fontana - MAVTV 500 Advance Notes
IndyCar - Fontana, CA
Race: MAVTV 500 October 19
Driver: @scottdixon9 @tagliani
Car: No. 9 Target and No. 10 Target Hondas
Track: Auto Club Speedway (2-mile superspeedway)
TV: Saturday, 8:00 PM ET on NBC Sports Network
Social: @TCGRTeams #TeamTarget
Location: Fontana, Calif.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT
Down to the Wire:
This is the eighth-consecutive year that the Series Champion will be decided in the season finale. “It’s really going to come down to the wire,” said Scott Dixon, who claimed the prize in 2003 and 2008. “It’s going to be the last lap, last corner kind of situation that we’ll expect. At least I hope it ends that way. You don’t want somebody crashing out on Lap 3 or even midway through the race.”
Earlier this week Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti underwent successful surgery to repair the talus bone in his right ankle. After a surgery that lasted just over three hours, he is resting comfortably post operatively. “Dr. Tim Weber repaired Dario’s ankle and his surgery went perfectly and just as planned,” said Dr. Terry Trammell, Orthopedic Consultant for the IZOD IndyCar Series. “His post-operation x-rays looked great. Everything is positive at this point as Dario continues his recovery.”
Marino Franchitti Twitter Update:
Dario’s brother Marino Franchitti tweeted this week about a special helmet he will use in the American Le Mans Series finale at Road Atlanta this weekend. @MFranchitti : @dariofranchitti is riding with me this week, using his helmet #getwellsoonbro
Tagliani Fontana Fill-in:
Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced last week driver Alex Tagliani will substitute for Four-time Series Champion and Three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner Franchitti at the MAVTV at Auto Club Speedway as Franchitti continues to recover from injuries sustained at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.
Dixon’s second-place finish in Houston was the 31st in his career, tying him Al Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car second-place finish list. This podium finish allowed him to pass Bobby Unser, AJ Foyt and Al Unser Jr. who are all tied for seventh on the list with 30 second-place finishes.
In the Record Books:
Dixon holds the distinction of being the winningest active Indy car driver with 33 victories, which ranks him seventh on the all-time list and one shy of tying Al Unser Jr. with 34. In addition, Dixon ranks seventh on the all-time list for most consecutive starts with 156 straight Indy car starts dating back to the 2004 race in Michigan.
Fuzzy’s Triple Crown:
Dixon will not only seek to capture the coveted MAVTV 500 IZOD IndyCar Series season finale this weekend, but he also hopes to collect the $250,000 bonus established by Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka. Last December, Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka announced the renewal of a longtime tradition with Fuzzy’s Triple Crown that awards $1 million to a driver who wins all three major long distance races in 2013 (the Indianapolis 500, Pocono Indy 400 and the MAVTV 500 in Fontana). If a driver wins two of the three big races, Fuzzy’s will present a check for $250,000. Dixon is eligible for the bonus because of his victory in the Pocono Indy 400. “Winning at Fontana would be huge for us,” said Dixon. “I have a lot of respect for Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka to bring such a great tradition back to IndyCar racing this year. Pocono was a bit of a different circuit than the speed track at Indy and Fontana, but it was great to win there. I know that No. 20 Fuzzy’s car with Ed (Carpenter) will be right there too. Unfortunately, I had a front row seat on his Fontana win last year. I’d like to have him watch me win it this time.”
74 Point Swing:
A victory and second-place finish in Houston enabled Dixon to gain 74 points and take the lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings. Entering the doubleheader weekend, Dixon stood at 452 markers (-49 markers behind leader Castroneves) and heads into the final race at Fontana with 546 markers and a 25-point lead over second-place Castroneves.
If Dixon finishes no lower than fifth in the 250-lap MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway, regardless the result posted by Castroneves, he’ll secure his third Series Championship. The title would continue a trend of winning every five seasons.
TCGR on Ovals:
Since 1990 TCGR has 423 starts on oval courses. Overall, the team’s oval record includes 46 wins, 110 podiums, 45 poles, 167 top-five and 268 top-10 finishes.
TCGR at Fontana:
In 21 starts at Fontana (1997-2005, 2012), TCGR earned one win (1998: Jimmy Vasser), six podiums, 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. In total, TCGR has completed 4433 of 4890 laps and has 331 laps led at the track.
How It’s Made:
CGRT will be featured on the popular Science Channel show How It’s Made in a segment centered on Indy car steering wheels. CGRT was originally featured on the show in June, examining the work behind a driver seat fit. How It’s Made explores the work that goes into everyday objects or products we seldom stop to think about, and offers viewers a first-hand look at how these deceptively simple objects are constructed. The episode will air on the Science Channel in the US on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 9:00 PM ET.
Follow Team Target on Twitter:
Continue to follow Target Chip Ganassi Racing on their official team Twitter page. Find in-race updates and weekly news on the No. 9 and No. 10 teams throughout the 2013 season by following “@TCGRTeams”.
CGRT Mobile App:
Download the Chip Ganassi Racing Teams mobile app for the latest driver news, event information, social media updates and exclusive content. Head to the iTunes store and check it out: http://bit.ly/YGJQxf.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR FONTANA
Scott Dixon and No. 9 Target Team
Houston Race 1 Rewind:
Dixon qualified the No. 9 Target Honda third for the 1.7-mile street course on Saturday. The race was set to begin with a standing start, but a stalled car on the grid aborted the first attempt. On the second attempt, the field successfully started, but another stalled car resulted in the competition’s first caution on lap one of the 90-lap event. On the ensuing restart on lap 10, Dixon advanced to second. In a close contest for the lead, the No. 9 team pitted on lap 37 – one lap earlier than the leader. The pit strategy enabled Dixon to overtake the leader, cycling him into first on lap 39. Throughout the next 26 laps, Dixon maintained the lead. On his final pit stop on lap 65, the competition’s third full-course caution occurred. Dixon exited the pits in third, with the two drivers ahead of him still needing to make their final stops. On lap 68, Dixon cycled back up to first and took the lead for good on the competition’s fourth caution. Powering through two additional late cautions, Dixon was able to maintain his lead and scored his fourth win this season, and first victory in Houston.
Houston Race 2 Rewind:
Dixon started second for Race 2 on Sunday. Earlier in the day, inclement weather resulted in the cancelation of qualifying, and the grid was set by entrant points. The first attempt at a standing start was aborted as a result of two cars stalled on the grid. After a successful second attempt at a standing start, the competition’s first caution came on lap two of the 90-lap event. The field went back to green on lap seven, and Dixon passed the leader on lap 11 after he encountered a mechanical issue. On lap 30, during the competition’s third caution, the No. 9 team completed their first pit stop of the day. Dixon maintained the lead during the subsequent restart on lap 33, but one lap later the field was again under caution. During the ensuing restart on lap 40, Dixon fell back one position where he continued in a close battle with the leader. On lap 62, he again pitted under caution and remained in second position. Three late cautions occurred, and Dixon went on to secure a podium finish of second. With the results, he took a 25-point advantage in the IZOD IndyCar Series points standings.
Career at Fontana:
In six starts at Fontana (2001-2005, 2012), Dixon earned two podiums, two top-five and five top-10 finishes. In total, he completed 1313 of 1320 laps and has 38 laps led at the track.
In the Points:
Following Houston’s doubleheader, Dixon took the lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings with 546 markers.
The Ice Man Returns:
The two-time IZOD IndyCar Series Champion (2003, 2008) and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner returns in 2013 for his fifth season alongside four-time Champion (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner (2007, 2010, 2012) Franchitti. Dixon is in sole possession of seventh place on the all-time Indy car wins list (1909-Present) with 33 victories and is tied with Gordon Johncock for 14th on the all-time poles list with 20.
Go with What you Know:
2013 marks Dixon’s 12th year with Team Target – the longest tenure for any driver in team history (1990-Present).
Alex Tagliani and No. 10 Target Team
About Alex Tagliani:
Canadian Indy car veteran Tagliani will join Target Chip Ganassi Racing alongside Two-time Series Champion and Indianapolis 500 Winner Dixon at Auto Club Speedway after completing 13 rounds of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season in the No. 98 for Barracuda Racing.
Career at Fontana:
In four starts at Fontana (2000-2002, 2012), Tagliani has one pole (2001), one top-three (third, 2001) and three top-10 finishes. Overall, he has completed 945 of 970 laps and has 22 laps led at the track.
By the Numbers:
In 14 seasons of IZOD IndyCar Series racing, Tagliani has 200 career starts, one win, seven poles including the 2011 Indianapolis 500, 14 podiums and over 650 laps led.
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