Dario Franchitti tops Carb Day
INDIANAPOLIS -- Target Chip Ganassi Racing has won the last four points championships and two of the last four Indianapolis 500s.
After this year's trying May, the team finally got it right Friday.
Ganassi's top two drivers -- Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon -- finished atop the speed charts on the final day of practice, and a few hours later, Dixon handed Ganassi his first win in the Carb Day pit stop competition.
Those inside the team garage are hoping it's the start to a better race day Sunday.
"For us, it was just concentrating on the car and making sure it feels decent in traffic and making sure the systems work," said Dixon, a two-time points champ and the 2008 Indy winner. "It's nice to come out of the warm-up with confidence and know that you have a car you feel happy with."
Dixon, who is from New Zealand, posted the second-fastest lap in practice, 222.274 mph.
The only one that went faster was his Scottish teammate, Franchitti, who had a 222.360. American Marco Andretti was third fastest at 221.702.
It was a needed boost for a Ganassi team that spent most of the month trying to chase down the more powerful Chevrolet engines. Ganassi's team uses Hondas.
Most expected at least Dixon and Franchitti to make the Pole Day shootout, but none of Ganassi's four drivers made it into the top nine to vie for the actual pole. Graham Rahal was the top qualifier at No. 12, while Charlie Kimball, Dixon and Franchitti qualified 14th, 15th and 16th.
But just when it looked like Ganassi's team was struggling on the Brickyard's 2.5-mile oval, the team pulled off a rare double -- taking the top two spots on the speed charts and then giving the team owner his first win in the pit stop competition.
Dixon's crew defeated the crew of Panther-Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Oriol Servia by about three seconds in the final round of the competition. Ganassi had finished as the runner-up three times.
"It's nice to have days like this and moments for the guys because, you know, they are forgotten sometimes and they prepare harder than all of us," Dixon said after the pit stop win. "There's been a few change-ups and things like this, but today was flawless. They didn't make a mistake."
Ana Beatriz, who drives for Andretti Autosport, was the only driver who did not complete a lap in practice.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
96TH INDIANAPOLIS 500-MILE RACE
The 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 is in the books. New stars, new cars and the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway came together for a thriller as a great tradition ended its 101st year.
Monday, May 28• Hinton: The best of his generation
• Video: Franchitti sits down with Musburger
Race day, May 27• Hinton: Franchitti simply flawless • Blount: Wheldon friends finish 1-2-3
• Oreovicz: Honda answers the bell
• Recap: Franchitti wins his third | Results
• Video: Indianapolis 500 highlights
• Video: Franchitti emotional after third win
• Video: Sato disappointed with crash
• Video: Kanaan falls short again
• Racing Live! Indy 500 rewind
Saturday, May 26• Blount: Two stars gone, many new ones ready
• Hinton: Magic remains in Indy
• ESPN.com staff's podium picks
• Newton: Dream weekend for Penske?
Carb Day, May 25• Oreovicz: Franchitti, Dixon make a charge
• Blount: Five feel-good stories for the 500
• Blount blog: How about Andretti-Rahal rivalry?
• Oreovicz chat wrap
• Andrews: Legge racing from behind
• Wilson blog: Martina McBride gets the call
• Guerrieri wins Freedom 100
• Racing Live! Indy 500 on ESPN.com, Sunday, noon ET
Features• Hinton: One-on-one with Mario Andretti
• Oreovicz: Handicapping the 500 field
• Blount: The heartache lingers
• Oreovicz: Briscoe puts Penske on pole
• James: Indy 500 on Danica's mind
• Oreovicz: Pole Day surprise?
• Oreovicz: Young guns taking charge
• Oreovicz: Storylines to watch at Indy
News & Notes• Briscoe wins Indy 500 pole | Starting grid
• Food Network's Fieri to drive pace car
• American drivers impress in practice
• Andrettis split up for Indy race-day radio calls
• Jay Penske needs engines for two cars at Indy
• Dario Franchitti to run No. 50 at Indy
• Herta Autosport chooses Honda
• Pagenaud hits bird during practice
• Jim Nabors to miss Indy 500
Video• Indy 500 memories: Wheldon thrills in 2011
• Indy 500 preview
• Helio says he's ready
• The Andretti-Foyt rivalry
• Franchitti's take on Dan Wheldon, Indy
• Indy 500 memories: Hornish thrills in 2006
• A.J. Foyt a NASCAR legend, too
• Indy 500 memories: Wheldon's 2005 victory
• Indy 500 memories: Danica leads a lap
• Indy 500 memories: Helio goes back-to-back
• Analysis: Indy 500 qualifying
• Pole Day: Briscoe stars for Penske
• Indy 500 memories: Little Al holds on
• Indy 500 memories: Mears wins his fourth
• Indy 500 memories: Unser vs. Goodyear
• Indy 500 memories: Mears joins elite club
• Indy 500 memories: Foyt wins fourth
• Indy 500 memories: Sullivan spins and wins
Indy 500 Rewind• 2011 Flashback: Wheldon's Cinderella story
• 2010 Flashback: Dario's all the way back
• 2009 Flashback: Castroneves wins again
• 2008 Flashback: Quiet Dixon makes noise • 2007 Flashback: Franchitti comes up big
• 2006 Flashback: Hornish gets his "Holy Grail"