2. Danica Patrick, No. 7 Honda
3. Tony Kanaan, No. 11 Honda
8. Dario Franchitti, No. 10 Target Honda
Target Chip Ganassi Racing claimed their third consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series title and fifth consecutive win at Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday night as Scott Dixon won the Cafés do Brasil 300 and Dario Franchitti clinched the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship.
It was the third straight championship for Franchitti (2007, 2009, 2010), who joined Team Target following a brief stint driving for team owner Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR team in 2008. In addition, it marked the eighth open wheel title overall for the team (CART – 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999; IndyCar – 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010) and the 12th overall championship (CART – 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999; IndyCar – 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010; GRAND-AM – 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010).
Franchitti entered the weekend trailing championship leader Will Power by 12 points. He earned the PEAK Performance Pole Award on Friday afternoon, which gave him a one bonus point and closed the margin between he and Power heading into the race (-11). Following the pole award, Franchitti and the No. 10 Target Honda clinched the most laps led on Lap 118 of the 200-lap race to earn another two-point bonus (-9). He would go on to finish in eighth position, outscoring Power by five points.
Dixon entered the finale in Homestead just four points outside the top-three in the championship standings. He qualified on the front row alongside Franchitti, and eventually took over the race lead on lap 168. He held onto the top-spot for the remainder of the 200-lap event, outlasting Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan to claim his third victory of the 2010 season.
With the victory, Dixon regained third-place overall in the championship standings, and closed out the season 55 points out of the top-spot.
Dixon’s win at Homestead extended Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc’s team-record 18th wins in 2010 across all three of the series in which the team competes (GRAND-AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup and IZOD IndyCar Series).
Franchitti and Dixon combined to win six of 17 races in 2010, scoring three victories each (Franchitti – Indianapolis, Mid-Ohio, Chicagoland; Dixon – Kansas, Edmonton, Homestead).
- The win was TCGR’s seventh overall at Homestead (1996, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010).
- It was TCGR’s 40th win in the IZOD IndyCar Series and 80th in Indy car racing.
- The win was the 133rd for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc.
- The win was TCGR’s 18th at 1.5-mile tracks (Chicagoland – 2006, 2010; Homestead – 1996, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; Kansas – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; Kentucky – 2008; Motegi – 2002, 2009; Texas – 2002, 2008).
- Of TCGR’s 40 wins in the IZOD IndyCar Series, 28 have come on ovals (70%).
- The win was Dixon’s 25th Indy car victory, moving him into a tie for 13th overall on the all-time list with Gordon Johncock.
- Dixon and Franchitti combined to lead 175 of 200 laps in the event.
- Franchitti’s finish marked his ninth consecutive top-10 finish.
- The title also marks the fourth-straight IndyCar Series championship won by current Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers (Franchitti – 2007, 2009, 2010; Dixon – 2008).
- Since 2007, Franchitti and Dixon are the only two drivers to win the IZOD IndyCar Series championship.
- 2010 marked the fifth straight year that Team Target has placed two cars inside the top-four in the overall championship standings.
- It was the second time a Target driver has won the Indianapolis 500 and IZOD IndyCar Series Championship in the same season (Scott Dixon – 2008).
- It was the second time in history that Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. have won two championships in a season (GRAND-AM, IndyCar – 2008).
- Target Team led 15 of 17 races on the season, leading 825 of 2,214 laps (37%).
- Franchitti won the IZOD IndyCar Series championship by five points over Power, the second-closest margin of victory in IZOD IndyCar Series history.
Dario Franchitti: “It was all going really well until that last pit stop when we got back in the pack and everyone was going four-wide and banging wheels. The 18 car crashed right in front of us and almost took us out. It was a little too action-packed at the end of the race."
Scott Dixon: "Dario's car was strong all night. Tony Kanaan was aggressive in the first stint, so I didn't want to get involved in that too much. We were a little loose at the start, but we were able to fix that. With so many yellows, it turned into a fuel race, and we had a few rough restarts. This was a huge night for us, but more importantly for Dario for taking another championship. A great night for the Target team, and it is nice to come out on top. We definitely had a rough year and a lot of missed opportunities, but everyone is very excited about the outcome of tonight."
About Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR)
Target Chip Ganassi Racing is the reigning Indianapolis 500 Winner and three-time reigning IZOD IndyCar Series Champion. Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with sponsor, Target. Today, Target Chip Ganassi Racing includes two entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series for two-time Champion (2003 and 2008) and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner Scott Dixon, and three-time Champion (2007, 2009 and 2010) and two-time and reigning (2007 and 2010) Indianapolis 500 Winner Dario Franchitti. Target Chip Ganassi Racing has collected eight Championships and 80 wins since 1994 and operates out of a state-of-the-art race shop facility in Indianapolis, with a corporate office in Pittsburgh.