Grand Prix of St. Pete - Race Advance
Race: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 30
Drivers: @scottdixon9 @tonykanaan
Cars: No. 9 and No. 10 Target Chevrolets
Track: Streets of St. Petersburg (1.8-mile street circuit) in St. Petersburg, Fla.
TV: ABC 3:00pm ET
Social: @CGRTeams #TeamTarget
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT
Nice Place to Start: For the fifth time in six years, Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) starts the Verizon IndyCar Series season off at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as defending series Champions. The team has held the title a total of 10 times (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013).
The Silver Lining: In celebration of their 25th year together, Target and Chip Ganassi Racing will be entering three specially-liveried cars into races on May 25. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson will drive a silver No. 42 Chevrolet in the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, matching Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan's No. 9 and 10 cars which will be entered the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day. The silver cars were revealed at a special celebration thrown by Target in Las Vegas on March 7th where all three drivers were in attendance.
Title Talk: Should reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon take home the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series title, he would become the fifth driver to win four Indy car titles (AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Dario Franchitti). Dixon won the title in 2003, 2008 and again in 2013.
Oh!-pening Day: Since 2006, TCGR has won four of the last eight Verizon IndyCar Series openers (Homestead: 2006, 2007, 2008; St. Pete: 2011).
Dario Returns: Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner Dario Franchitti returns to Team Target in 2014 as a driving advisor for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. Franchitti will aid the team as it adapts to recent lineup changes and additions, and was on site with the team at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Barber Motorsports Park Open Test earlier this month. He will continue to work closely with the teams' Verizon IndyCar Series drivers throughout the duration of the season.
100+ Wins and Counting... : The Target Racing Program, which began with Target and Chip Ganassi Racing in 1990, will be contending for their 104th win as the season starts this weekend. The first win for the program came in 1994 with Michael's Andretti's Indy car victory at Surfers Paradise, Australia, when the team was a two-car, Indy car program. 102 wins later, the program's umbrella not only includes involvement in the Verizon IndyCar Series, but in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The partnership between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the longest consecutive team partnerships in motor racing history.
Topping the Charts: Dixon and Kanaan rank first and fifth, respectively, in the number of victories among active full-time drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Dixon is ranked seventh on the all-time wins list with 33 victories. Reigning Indianapolis 500 Winner Kanaan has 16 victories.
Finding New Roads: All four Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) Indy cars will utilize the Chevrolet 2.2-liter twin turbocharged V6 engine for 2014 season. The engine produces well over 600 horsepower and close to 300 lb. ft. of torque.
Follow Team Target on Twitter: Continue to follow Target Chip Ganassi Racing through Chip Ganassi Racing's official team Twitter page. Find in-race updates and weekly news on the No.9 and No.10 Target teams throughout the 2014 season by following "@CGRTeams".
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR ST. PETERSBURG
Scott Dixon and No. 9 Target Team
The Ice Man Returns: The three-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion (2003, 2008, 2013) and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner returns in 2014 for his first season alongside 2004 Series Champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 Winner Kanaan. Dixon, the active wins leader, is in seventh place on the all-time list (1909-Present) with 33 victories, ranking only behind A.J. Foyt, the Andretti's (Mario and Michael) and Unser's (Al, Bobby and Al Jr.). He also enters his 13th year with Team Target ranked 13th all-time poles list with 22.
Year in Review: Last season, Dixon led at least one lap in eight out of the 19 races on the calendar. He finished the 2013 season completing 2,240 of 2,433 laps and scored four wins on his way to a first-place finish in the overall standings.
Go with What you Know: 2014 marks Dixon's 13th year with Team Target - the longest tenure for a driver in team history (1990-Present).
Moving Forward: With his next victory, Dixon would tie Al Unser Jr. for sixth on the all-time wins list. Dixon won his 33rd race at Houston's Reliant Park in October 2013. A victory in 2014 will extend Dixon's streak of consecutive seasons with a win to 10; while qualifying in the top spot would mark eight consecutive seasons with a pole. Should he win the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, he would join A.J. Foyt, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win four Indy car titles in his career.
Kiwi Honors: Dixon was named New Zealand Sportsman of the Year during the 51st Halberg Awards program earlier this year in Auckland. The Halberg Awards recognize the country's top sporting achievements. Dixon also was named Sportsman of the Year following his second Verizon IndyCar Series championship season, which included a victory in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, in 2008. He credited New Zealand's "never give up attitude" for pushing him to the top of the Verizon IndyCar Series standings after 19 races. "It's always a huge honor and a real privilege to represent New Zealand," he said. "I hope to be (at the awards program) next year."