Calif. -- Chip
Ganassi drivers Dario Franchitti (No. 10) and Scott Dixon (No.
9) made a special appearance at the Auto Club Speedway last Thursday
to promote the IZOD IndyCar World Championships. They also met
with some of the track's biggest fans, otherwise known as hard
open-wheel racing series will return to southern California for
its season-ending race on Sept. 15.
us it's exciting to be back in this part of California,"
Dixon said in an exclusive interview. "It's been about seven
years and I think this year with the new formula, DW12, and the
new engine manufacturers, I think there's going to be 28 or 30
cars and a 500-mile race. It's quite long, one of the longest
races that we have throughout the season. I expect it to be action-packed,
under the lights and exciting for everybody."
500 mile, 250-lap race will take place at night, under the lights.
It marks the series' first return to the track since 2005.
think it will be an interesting race," Franchitti said in
an exclusive interview. "You're going to have everybody finishing
their season on a high and have three or four guys fighting for
the championship. Here at the Auto Club, I think three or four
lanes will be available for use of the IndyCar. We'll be able
to be fast here on many different lanes. You're going to see a
this season, Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500, for the third
time in his career, on May 27.
the Indy 500 was very special," he replied. "I've been
lucky to win that a couple of times before, but this year was
very special being able to dedicate that one to my friend, Dan
Dixon won the Honda Indy 200 on Aug. 5 at the Mid-Ohio Sports
it was good," he explained. "To win at Mid-Ohio last
week was definitely big for us in the championship battle. We
were 61 points back and to come out of that race 28 points behind
with three races to go put us in the championship with a real
shot. It's always nice to win. It seems each year that it gets
harder and harder to possibly do that so [I'm] excited for that."
driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi IndyCar is currently sitting
fourth in points standings.
think our speed as a team between Dario and myself," said
Dixon about what he needs to improve on. "The speed to be
there every weekend. I think reliability has been some of the
issue. We've had a very up and down season because of reliability
and some unfortunate problems that we've had through the races.
I think this year if we had better consistency, we'd be laughing.
In my position now, we definitely need to win some races."
won the last IndyCar series race when it was held at the track
in Fontana, Calif., back in 2005. What's the secret to winning
fast car, good pit stops, great teamwork, good strategy, a little
bit of luck as well," he answered. "All of those things
go hand in hand. Typically, any race is the same. You've got to
have a perfect day."
driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi IndyCar is currently
sitting eighth in points standings.
performance is there, we're been fast enough," Franchitti
said. "But the results are just not coming right now for
a variety of reasons. Myself and the team, we all need to stop
making mistakes and we need a little bit of luck, which has been
missing. Apart that one great day in May when we won the Indy
500, it's been a very tough season."
asking IndyCar officials to change its policy on penalizing drivers
whose engines blow up during a testing session.
rules now are you have five engines to see you through the whole
season," the driver explained. "But if you blow an engine
up in testing, you get penalized in a race. I understand if you
blow up an engine in practice or qualifying, but not testing.
I think they need to separate the two. How are they going to do
that? I don't know. That was something and it hasn't affected
me. It has affected other drivers. I just don't think its fair
for anybody to have that.
at Auto Club Speedway introduced two new culinary dishes named
after the drivers. Franchitti's Baked Ziti and Scott's Hot Tater
Tots will be available in the Drivers Cuisine Cantina during race
I was looking for something that rhymed and that rhymed,"
Dixon said. "Hot Potato Tots, I'm looking forward to that.
Dario has got Franchitti Ziti so he has got some Italian food
going on over there. Yeah, just a little bit of fun to have with
the fans and have a bit of a lunch out here today."
drivers explained what they like to do in southern California
outside of racing.
tough for us because we travel so much," the driver of the
No. 9 IndyCar answered. "On race weekends, we typically get
here on a Thursday and if the race is done on Sunday, we're back
out of here. I think the most important of coming to southern
California is catching up with friends. I have a lot of people
from Oakland and a lot of different sponsors that you have throughout
here. You can't beat the beaches and things like that as well."
chimed in: "For me as a car guy, there's always some pretty
cool cars around. That is one of the things I notice when I'm
around L.A. or Beverly Hills, in particular. California is a real
car culture and that suits me."
addition, new Corona, Calif.-based television channel MAVTV was
introduced as the title sponsor of the race.
awareness for the all new MAVTV-American Real network is what
motivated the decision to become title sponsor of IndyCars
season finale, said MAVTV President Bob Patison. The
thrill and excitement of an IndyCar race is the perfect platform
to showcase the fresh new look of MAVTV-American Real. A network
featuring programming aimed at the active American family.
Club Speedway hosts the world speed record for the fastest lap
of 241.428 mph, which was set in 2000. The track is located at
9300 Cherry Ave. in Fontana, Calif., about 48 miles east of Los