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Mar 20, 2013 - 06:39 PM
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2013 St. Pete: Target Ganassi IndyCar Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Mar 20, 2013 - 06:34 PM
IndyCar Weekend Team Reports
2013 St. Pete: Target Ganassi IndyCar Race Preview


BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT

Unfamiliar Territory: For the first time since 2009, Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) starts the IZOD IndyCar Season off at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg without the title of defending series Champions. The team has held the crown a total of nine times previously (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), but still enter the 2013 season as the reigning Indianapolis 500 Winners for the fourth time (2000, 2008, 2010, 2012).

 

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Title Talk: Should Dario Franchitti take home the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship, he will join A.J. Foyt as the only other driver to win five Indy car titles in his career. Franchitti won the title in 2007 and again from 2009-2011. Foyt won seven championships in his career.

99 Wins and Counting…: The Target Racing Program, which began with Target and Chip Ganassi Racing in 1990, is just one win shy of the 100-win plateau. The first win for the program came in 1994 with Michael’s Andretti’s Indy car victory at Surfers Paradise, Australia, when the team was merely a two-car open wheel program. Ninety-eight wins later, the program’s umbrella not only includes involvement in the IZOD IndyCar Series, but in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. The partnership between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the longest consecutive team partnerships in motor racing history.

“You’re Watching, Today”: Franchitti and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Charlie Kimball recently made a trip to NBC’s ‘Today Show’ at the show’s headquarters in New York City. The pair met co-hosts Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and weatherman Al Roker in the heart of Times Square to promote diabetes awareness and discuss the upcoming IZOD IndyCar Series season opener. NBC was the first stop among several other NYC-based entities including: CNN, CNBC, Sports Illustrated, Men's Journal and the Wall Street Journal, where Franchitti and Kimball discussed the upcoming Race With Insulin United initiative through Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

That’s the Ticket: Three-time and defending Indianapolis 500 Winner Franchitti unveiled the artwork for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 ticket recently during a 500 Festival Corporate Members event in Indianapolis. Every 2013 Indianapolis 500 reserved seat ticket will show Franchitti donning the traditional winner's wreath after his victory in 2012 and the 2013 Indianapolis 500 event logo. The sample ticket also featured the seat location of longtime fan George "Butch" Welsch, who has been attending the Indianapolis 500 for more than 60 years. Welsch, from St. Louis, won an Indianapolis Motor Speedway contest that determined which Indianapolis 500 seat location would appear on the ticket.

Topping the Charts: Franchitti and Scott Dixon rank first and third, respectively in the number of victories among active full-time drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Franchitti is tied for seventh on the all-time wins list with Sebastien Bourdais (active) and Paul Tracy at 31 victories. Dixon is currently tied with Rick Mears for 10th on the all-time wins list with 29.

Making History Together: Minneapolis-based Target celebrates its 24th anniversary in motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2013. Since its formation, Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) has amassed 89 victories and nine titles (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), including four Indianapolis 500 victories (2000, 2008, 2010, 2012). The 2013 season includes two full-time entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series with Dixon and Franchitti and a full-time entry in the NSCS for 1999 CART Champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 Winner Juan Pablo Montoya. Team Target continues to feature some of the world’s most accomplished race car drivers.

Watch for the H Block: The H-BLOCK – Honda Fan Section is the ultimate place for Honda fans to experience the excitement of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Located in Grandstand 2, the H-BLOCK is an exclusive, dedicated grandstand area for devoted Honda fans to cheer on their favorite Honda drivers. As a fan in the H-BLOCK, you will receive an exclusive Honda Fan Pack, including a hat, rally towel and cinch bag, and will also have a chance to win more exclusive prizes. The H-BLOCK is the place to be on race day. Don’t miss out, get your tickets today!

#TEAMGANASSI

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 ���œ@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.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Regarding his recent visit to New York City for the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy phone, @scottdixon9 tweeted: “Had fun at the Samsung Galaxy #unpacked event! Gotta get the S4 #radiocitymusichall pic.twitter.com/ZPIb2QkffD”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR ST. PETERSBURG

Scott Dixon and No. 9 Target Team

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 tied with Rick Mears for 10th place on the all-time Indy Car wins list (1909-Present) with 29 victories and is tied with Bobby Rahal and Rex Mays for 16th on the all-time poles list with 18.

Year in Review: Last season, Dixon led at least one lap in nine out of the 15 races on the calendar. He finished the 2012 season with the most laps led (456) of any driver, and two wins on his way to a third-place finish in the overall standings.

Go with What you Know: 2013 marks Dixon’s 12th year with Team Target – the longest tenure for a driver in team history (1990-Present).

Dario Franchitti and No. 10 Target Team

Dario Returns: Four-time IZOD IndyCar Series Champion (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner Franchitti returns to TCGR in 2013 for his fifth season alongside two-time Champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner Dixon. Franchitti is tied for seventh on the all-time wins list with 31 and holds sole possession of eighth on the all-time poles list with 29.

Oh!-pening Day: Since 2006, TCGR has won four of the last seven IZOD IndyCar Series openers (Homestead: 2006, 2007, 2008; St. Pete: 2011). Franchitti won the 2011 event for TCGR.

Rarified Air: Dario is one of only five drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 and the series title in the same season more than once. By winning the 2012 Indianapolis 500, he became just the 10th driver in history to win the race three times.

ONE TEAM, SIX CARS, THREE SERIES
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include three cars in the IZOD IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and one Daytona Prototype in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Overall his teams have 15 championships and over 150 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and five Rolex 24 At Daytonas. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Brownsburg, Ind. and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.

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