Team Target Ganassi pressing on through trying days

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With Team Penske breaking through at Texas and Will Power scoring his first podium of 2013 at Milwaukee, the onus is now back on Target Chip Ganassi Racing to deliver the results it’s been accustomed to in the IZOD IndyCar Series: winning.

It was another tough day at the office for Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile, despite both drivers recording top 10 finishes in the same race for only the third time in nine races this year.

Dixon has done the best job of performing damage limitation despite never quite having the setup on his No. 9 Target Honda. He related after Milwaukee, when he finished sixth and never ran in the top five, that there’s still much more work to be done.

“I think we went down a road earlier in the year and now we’re just trying to regroup and find our way,” he said after the race. “Maybe we’re lacking confidence in our changes with the car but we’ll work hard and get better. We had a good day but went back and forth on some things. We had understeer in the middle of the corner and the car snapped coming off. We had a bit better car then we showed. I got ran wide on the restart by (Tony) Kanaan and didn’t quite agree with it but then again what can you do.”

Franchitti recovered to eighth place after starting 23rd thanks to an engine change. With the field as close as it is, it’s difficult for teams with such a good amount of engineering and crew talent to have their strengths highlighted if the setup isn’t quite there. It’s not as though Franchitti’s forgotten how to drive or engineer Chris Simmons has lost his magic touch. Still, the way the series has evolved this year was an interesting point Franchitti raised in his post-race quotes.

“Obviously we didn’t have a great qualifying effort and then we took the engine change penalty before the race,” he said. “We started in the back, made some good progress, but it was difficult to pass. The guys made good calls to keep me in the hunt but keeping the car pointed straight was a challenge. To pass people was very tough. The cars are so close, so the series might be a victim of their own success right now. We need to start allowing something to differentiate when guys get it right and wrong.”

Their teammate in the Novo Nordisk CGR car, Charlie Kimball, fought an ill-handling race car to 17th.

Dixon is now fifth in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings with 221 (78 points behind leader Helio Castroneves), while Franchitti holds on to 10th with 192 and Kimball is 13th on 175.

IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
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The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.

The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.

ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend

The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.

A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1

Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2

10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3

10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4

10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race