100th Indianapolis 500 team preview: Chip Ganassi Racing

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MotorSportsTalk looks through the Verizon IndyCar Series grid ahead of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Here’s Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

Last year, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams ended Team Penske’s pole run going into the Indianapolis 500 but came up just shy of the win with first Scott Dixon, then Charlie Kimball. After winning three of five ‘500s from 2008 to 2012, Ganassi looks to end a three-year drought this year. Ganassi has four Indianapolis 500 victories (2000, 2008, 2010, 2012). 

ENTRIES

Max Chilton-R, No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Scott Dixon-W, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan-W, No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Charlie Kimball, No. 42 Tresiba Chevrolet

2016 SEASON SO FAR

Scott Dixon’s traditional slow start hasn’t occurred; instead, the four-time and defending series champion is unlucky to have only won once, at Phoenix. A controversial runner-up result at Long Beach was frustrating, as was getting tapped by Le Mans teammate Sebastien Bourdais in Barber. Elsewhere Tony Kanaan, Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball have had similar strong moments but not yet matched Dixon in terms of contending for wins, outside of Kanaan at Phoenix. 

INDY OUTLOOK

In a statistical oddity, Dixon hasn’t ended best of the Ganassi bunch at Indy since 2009, when he finished sixth. Yet he was back in win contention after a couple years in the wilderness last year. Kanaan is the guy who needs a bounce back at Indy – he’s been quick but he’s been in accidents the last two years since his 2013 win.

Kimball remains underrated at Indy with three top-10s his last four years here, and Chilton is a strong contender for race rookie-of-the-year, particularly if his confidence and cleanliness carries over from his first IndyCar oval race at Phoenix. 

RECENT RESULTS 

  • 2015: 3. 83-Kimball (14), 4. 9-Dixon (1), 23. 17-Saavedra (27), 26. 10-Kanaan (4), 32. 8-Karam (21)
  • 2014: 18. 8-Briscoe (30), 26. 10-Kanaan (16), 29. 9-Dixon (11), 31. 83-Kimball (26)
  • 2013: 9. 83-Kimball (19), 12. 8-Briscoe (23), 14. 9-Dixon (16), 23. 10-Franchitti (17)
  • 2012: 1. 50-Franchitti (16), 2. 9-Dixon (15), 8. 83-Kimball (14) 13. 38-Rahal (12)

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III