FORT WORTH, Texas (May 9, 2012) - Target Chip Ganassi Racing has remained one of the IZOD IndyCar Series' powerhouse teams, but the organization known for winning races and championships has struggled during the outset of the 2012 season.
Three-time defending champion Dario Franchitti sits in 10th in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship with just one top-five finish in the first four races of the season while teammate Scott Dixon has fared slightly better with two runner-up performances but two finishes of 15th or worse that has him sixth in the standings. With Monday's open test at Texas Motor Speedway featuring 12 drivers in all, the track time allowed the team to focus on its oval package in hopes of turning around the season as four of the next five races will be held on an oval. The oval stretch begins with the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27, and includes the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 9.
"It's not been a great start to the year," Dixon said. "I think we've shown promise in a few areas and are definitely suffering in some others the last two races. We really shot ourselves in the foot. We're looking to rebound in the Indy 500 and it will be the first time on ovals to race the cars again.
"It's been pretty good to get some laps today (Monday) and figure out what's going on in a somewhat similar configuration to what you run at Indy minus the few aero changes, ultimately trying to bounce back up."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's performance in Monday's open test provided signs that the organization can turn its season around as the top three practice speeds were turned in by Target Chip Ganassi or its subsidiary teams.
Dixon topped the speed charts with the fastest lap of 212.371 miles per hour, followed by Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing's Charlie Kimball with a lap of 211.330 miles per hour and Franchitti, Dixon's teammate, rounding out the top three with a speed of 210.525 miles per hour.
For Dixon, despite the changes to the chassis, ovals remain a strong point for he and Target Chip Ganassi.
"The bigger tracks to me seem to be more comfortable, places like Milwaukee and the shorter tracks," Dixon said. "Additionally, with the cars that your team or our team doesn't understand as much sort of adds another variant as well. It's fun. Racing (on ovals) is the best part about it."
Dixon and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series stars return to Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 550 on Saturday, June 9. Tickets are available by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.