NEWTON, Iowa – The “Sleeping Giant” that is Chip Ganassi Racing has woken up and that could spell change for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
All four of its drivers qualified in the top seven during Friday night’s qualifications for Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 300 led by Scott Dixon, who won the pole with a two-lap average of 186.256 miles per hour in a Dallara/Chevrolet. That broke the two-lap record of 180.375 miles per hour set by Takuma Sato in Jun 2011.
Target teammate Tony Kanaan was the second-fastest qualifier at 185.891 mph in a Chevrolet.
“It’s nice to have a reasonably strong run and not feel like you are overthinking it too much,” Dixon said. “We had a decent car. We missed a little bit on our Pole sim in practice but we knew we had good speed. For me, this weekend is a totally different setup than we normally run.
“I hope we are back on the way up. Houston was frustrating because our car was a bit decent but I had a shifting problem in the first race and brake failure in the second race. The fifth-place finish for us at Pocono gave us a boost for a day but not qualifying as well as we should have kept us from getting all the way to the front. Coming to Iowa, it’s a track where we have had good races. It’s a strong track for us. Dario Franchitti was quick here and Dan Wheldon got a win for us at Iowa.”
With the pole Dixon ties Gil de Ferran for 13th on the all-time list of pole winners. It was the 21st pole of his career.
“We had a tough test here a few weeks ago but coming back and having the car set properly it’s been a dream to drive,” Dixon said. “With new teammates we have changed some of the short track setups but this weekend the car rolled off the truck very well. We knew we had good speed in the car. With my qualifying going 14th and Ryan Briscoe and TK (Kanaan) going before me I was able to get advice from them so it is good to see all four Ganassi cars in the top seven.
“Trying to get all of us to agree on the same thing is pretty tough and fairly unrealistic.”