CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Dixon just misses win

Scott Dixon misses win by coat of paint. Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon went within 0.282 of a second of clinching his second career Champ Car win in the Shell Grand Prix of Denver today. Dixon, was edged out of victory by his Chip Ganassi ...

Scott Dixon misses win by coat of paint.

Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon went within 0.282 of a second of clinching his second career Champ Car win in the Shell Grand Prix of Denver today.

Dixon, was edged out of victory by his Chip Ganassi teammate Bruno Junqueira, who led all 100 laps of the race after starting from pole position in the 14th round of the FedEx Championship Series.

Brazilian Crisitano da Matta finished third in his Havoline-backed Lola and had his championship lead reduced to 52 points from Junquiera.

Championship challenger and 1999 Honda Indy 300 winner Dario Franchitti had his worst result of the season after being taken out by his own teammate Paul Tracy on the opening lap. He still sits in third position on 106 points behind da Matta (175) and Junqueira (123), with five round remaining.

Dixon, who became the youngest winner of a Champ Car race ever at Nazareth in his debut season last year, has now moved back into the top 10 on 81 points amazingly just a win and a bit away from third-placed Franchitti.

It was a big result for Dixon who had new Coors Light beer sponsorship on the side of his Toyota-powered Lola for the first time this season.

Prior to the final round of pit stops, Junqueira led Dixon by 9.5 seconds although the Kiwi trimmed that to less than six seconds when the Brazilian was balked lapping backmarkers.

The race took a new turn on Lap 88 when the tangle between Tora Takagi and Mario Dominguez brought out the only full-course yellow of the day.

The race was restarted on Lap 94 with Dixon less than two seconds behind Junqueira and only the lapped car of Alex Tagliani between them. Tagliani quickly got out of the way as Junqueira built a 2.4-second margin.

However, Dixon continued to apply the pressure to close to slightly more than a quarter of a second when the checkered flag fell.

"I caught up to Bruno, but the track is really bumpy and difficult and I didn't think about trying to pass him," said Dixon.

"He is still in the championship and it's good for him to win. But I had a good car and a good run. We've had some mechanical failures this season so this was good for everybody on my team.

"Hopefully this will be the start of a nice finishing run of the season, including Australia next month, which really is my home race of the season."

Provisional polesitter Adrian Fernandez wound up fourth and Christian Fittipaldi was fifth despite problems with a faulty air jack on two of his pit stops.

Rounding out the top 10 were Tony Kanaan, Kenny Brack, Paul Tracy, Michel Jourdain Jr and Jimmy Vasser. Jourdain has now scored points in all 14 races this year.

Tracy was all apologetic to Franchitti after going on to finish eighth after the opening-lap mishap.

"I wasn't trying to pass Dario but I locked the brakes and I couldn't stop. I ran into Dario, I ran over him. It was my fault," said Tracy.

"I feel really terrible for Dario. I tried to miss him but I was committed to the inside line and I had nowhere to go. We just drove our race and got some points. We're lucky to get points, I feel terrible for Team KOOL Green.

"I was surprised we didn't have many yellows, the fans got a good show and in the end the race was a success."

* The next round of the championship will be held at Rockingham in England on September 14.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Mario Dominguez , Chip Ganassi