Target Chip Ganassi Racing's terrible year continued on Sunday at the Pikes Peak International Raceway when the team lost one car before the race even started and then another before the Honda Indy 225 had reached its half way mark.

2003 IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon was the only TCGR driver to make the finish, albeit in a lowly 16th position, a massive five laps behind event winner Dan Wheldon.

Dixon and Ryan Briscoe shared the seventh row on the starting grid at the one-mile tri-oval but by the first round of pit stops the team saw their hopes of a top finish disappear into thin air.

Briscoe was in 13th place when on lap 79, following his pit stop; the #33 Panoz-Toyota made contact with the wall between turn three and four cutting his race decidedly short.

"It's difficult to say what happened really," said Briscoe who was unhurt in the incident. "I had just had a pit stop for fuel and fresh tires and everything felt fine. Then all of a sudden, I had a moment in turn two and caught it but it felt like I lost tire pressure or something. I went into turn three a little slower just to be sure and then just had the rear go out on me and that was it."

It was a tough start for Dixon who battled a loose car from the start and fell back slowly going down a lap in the first stint. After a few adjustments during his pit stop, things improved but only slightly.

"From the start the #9 Panoz-Toyota was really loose in turn one and two," said Dixon. "I was losing a lot of time there and without any yellows in that first run we never got a chance to come in to make any changes to help with the handling so I stuck it out until the first pit stop. The first yellow helped us get a lap back but then I struggled with rear grip.

"Our last stop we put on new tyres and the car was fairly decent but we needed that kind of balance at the start because by then it was too late and we were down too many laps to make up. We were quick enough at the end that we likely would have finished in the top ten. We just need to forget this and move on. The Target team is really looking forward to hitting the road course at Sonoma next weekend."

Newcomer to the Target team, Jaques Lazier did not start the race after making contact with the turn four wall while running qualifying simulations during the second Saturday practice of the day and sustained heavy damage to the rear of the #10 entry. Efforts made to repair the damage were unsuccessful and the team chose not to risk damaging the spare #10 machine as well with just one week to go before the next round of the Championship and promptly withdrew Lazier's entry.

 

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