Dixon Tops Opening Day Of Practice At Texas Motor Speedway

FORT WORTH, Texas, Thursday, June 7, 2007 – Scott Dixon, driving the No.
9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, topped the overall
speed chart (214.164 mph; 24.4579 seconds) in the two practice sessions
(one each during the late afternoon and early evening) in preparation
for the Bombardier Learjet 550k at Texas Motor Speedway.

IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti was second (214.138;
24.4609 in the first session) and Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony
Kanaan (214.072) was third. There’s a lone practice session June 8
preceding AAMCO Transmissions pole qualifying at 7 p.m. (ET).

“We had a chance to work on a few things today and the Team 7-Eleven car
responded very well to the changes we made,” said Kanaan, the winner
June 3 at The Milwaukee Mile. “The evening session was helpful because
it was similar to how we expect the conditions to be on race day.”

Twenty drivers totaled 1,498 laps with one incident. Milka Duno, driving
the No. 23 CITGO car for SAMAX Motorsport, made contact with the inside
retaining wall exiting Turn 2. Duno was checked and cleared to drive,
and she participated in the evening session.


This is the 18th IndyCar Series event at the Texas Motor Speedway. Helio
Castroneves is the defending race winner. Gil de Ferran holds the
qualifying record under the current track measurement with a lap of
23.5031 seconds, 222.864 mph set in October 2003.

Previous winners at Texas expected to compete in the Bombardier Learjet
500k are: Scott Sharp (June 2000, June 2001), Sam Hornish Jr. (October
2001, September 2002), Tony Kanaan (June 2004), Helio Castroneves
(October 2004, June 2006) and Tomas Scheckter (2005).


Five Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the
Bombardier Learjet 550: Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice
(2004), Dan Wheldon (2005), Sam Hornish Jr. (2006) and Dario Franchitti


Five IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the
Bombardier Learjet 550: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Sam Hornish Jr.
(2001, 2002, 2006), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan
Wheldon (2005).


Milka Duno (SAMAX Motorsport) is the only Bombardier Rookie of the Year
candidate expected to compete in the Bombardier Learjet 550k. Duno leads
the Bombardier Rookie of the Year point standings over Phil Giebler
(Playa Del Racing) 26-10.


Drivers entered in the Bombardier Learjet 550k have combined for 78
IndyCar Series victories, 75 IndyCar Series pole positions and 1,140
IndyCar Series starts.


Crew for #23 Duno reports telemetry data indicates a sudden decrease in
rear downforce as car entered the back straightaway. The car was rebuilt
after Indianapolis and has numerous new parts. The team has begun the
failure analysis process. However, SAMAX Motorsport has determined that
the data and location of the incident clearly rules out any driver
issue. Crew is expects car to be repaired for second practice.


Entry update: Chief mechanic for #55 Matsuura is now Mark Shambarger.
Shambarger will also change right front tire for car during pit stops.


The Scottish Parliament honored Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti
during a recent meeting. MSP Jamie McGrigor proposed the following
motion: “That the Parliament congratulates Scotland’s Dario Franchitti
on winning the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 in the United States
of America, part of the IndyCar Series and one of the most famous motor
races in the world; notes that, in doing so, he became the first Scot to
win the race since Jim Clark in 1965, and wishes Dario Franchitti every
success in continuing to fly the flag for Scotland in the USA.”

The motion was supported by several bi-partisan members of parliament.


Dario Franchitti posed for photos and signed autographs with a group of
Special Olympians from the Greater Dallas Region in front of an American
Eurocopter (with a Lone Star on the side). American Eurocopter is a
sponsor of Special Olympics in Texas. Eurocopter is personal sponsor of

With 24,675 athletes, offering 20 sports at more than 200 competitions,
Special Olympics Texas is one of the largest Special Olympics programs
in the world.

“This is a big day; it’s not often you get to meet the winner of the
Indianapolis 500,” said Jesse McNeil III, director of the Greater Dallas
Special Olympics.


Firestone supplied nine sets of Firehawk racing radials for teams to use
in practice, qualifying and the race. The tire specification is new to
Texas for 2007, but it already has seen race action on the 1.5-mile
Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kansas Speedway. A superspeedway tire
construction to absorb the loading the tires take on the high-banked
ovals, in conjunction with a tread compound featuring improved grip from
last year, is being used. .


The No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, driver Scott Dixon and crew
are displaying the blue and white colors of Commit’s nicotine lozenges
this weekend.


SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone,
fastest of the day): “Our car was good today. We worked on race setup
most of the day. It’s kind of hard with these sessions with time. You
don’t really have enough tires to be out there all the time, and they
seem to lengthen them as well. That was a bit frustrating but generally
a good day. We stayed in traffic most of the night. Obviously the fast
speed is from a big tow. (About performance on 1.5-mile tracks): “Our
team has been quick at most places, especially the mile and halfs. Dan
(Wheldon) was superfast here last year, and we’ve come quite aggressive,
I think, for this weekend. That should definitely transfer into great
speed and that’s what it has done so far. We have had a few issues with
this racecar with the rear end but it seemed to roll of the trailer
pretty nice and it’s got good speed. We’re pretty happy.” (About his
season): ” I’m sort of stuck in these second places and fourth places,
which is a

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone,
third-fastest): “We had a chance to work on a few things today and the
Team 7-Eleven car responded very well to the changes we made. The
evening session was helpful because it was similar to how we expect the
conditions to be on race day. Overall, it was a good day for us.”

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone,
fifth-fastest): “We worked on the race setup of the Team Penske car
today. We were able run in traffic, and the car seems to be handling
well. Overall, I think we had a fairly successful day, and we’ll
continue to fine tune the car to see if we can get a little more speed
out of it tomorrow.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone,
seventh-fastest of the day): “Today we worked primarily on race setup
with the Team Penske car. We managed to make progress all day, which is
always a good thing. We also got a chance to run under the lights, which
gave us a chance to simulate race conditions. Overall, we’re satisfied
with the progress we made today, but we’ll keep working on the car
tomorrow in hopes of making it two in a row at Texas.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone,
eighth-fastest of the day): “The NYSE car was pretty quick today. We
still have some work to do to make the car better under race conditions
but I’m confident we’ll get there. We’ve still got another session
tomorrow to get ready for qualifying but it’s more important to have a
comfortable race car here.”

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone,
second-fastest of the day): “All in all it wasn’t a bad day for the
Canadian Club car. We worked under various conditions. It was really
nice to get a run in something close to race conditions. We are
reasonably happy with it. We still have work to do, but we are going
into the race with a positive frame of mind.”

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi Panther Dallara/Honda/Firestone, 10th-fastest
of the day): “The car is good. We had a little bit of a push early in
the first session but we had that sorted by the evening practice. It’s
great to know that the Delphi car is going to be racy and Saturday night
should be a lot of fun. We’ll see how we end up tomorrow in
qualifications but I don’t think it will be a huge deal. At Texas, it’s
all about your race setup and who is prepared for over 200 laps. I know
Panther will be.”

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “Tonight’s
session was very valuable since it was the only time we’ll run at the
actual time of day that the race is held. We just worked in traffic and
tried to see how the Motorola car would be in a pack and how it would be
in different situations. We’re not quite where we need to be yet, but we
learned quite a bit and can keep working on it from there.”

FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE: (all times local):

11 a.m. IndyCar Series garage open

2:30 – 4:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)

6 p.m. AAMCO Transmissions Pole Qaulifying

NOTE: Schedule subject to change due to weather.


The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the Bombardier Learjet 550
on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast at 10 p.m.
(ET) by ESPN2 and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network beginning at 9 p.m.
(ET). The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite
Radio and The sixth season of Indy Pro Series
competition continues with the Liberty Challenge doubleheader on June
16-17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The races will be
telecast by ESPN2 at 5 p.m. on June 21. ESPN2’s coverage of the Road
Runner 100 will be telecast at 6 p.m. on June 7 by ESPN2.

Share Button