TORONTO - Scott Dixon is one step closer to claiming the $100,000 SONAX Perfect Finish Award after winning the first race of the Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O. on Saturday, July 13.
Dixon, who started fifth in the 85-lap race on the tight 1.7-mile, 11-turn street circuit, overtook race leader Sebastien Bourdais on Lap 78 and held off the four-time CART champion on a Lap 84 single-file restart for the victory. It was Dixon's 31st victory, tying Bourdais, Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy for seventh on the all-time Indy car list. Franchitti finished third in the race Saturday.
If Dixon sweeps the doubleheader weekend by winning Race No. 2 on Sunday in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, he'll earn the $100,000 SONAX Perfect Finish bonus. He will start the race from the pole.
Dixon won six days earlier on the wide and fast Pocono Raceway 2.5-mile tri-oval. His last back-to-back victories occurred in 2008 at Edmonton and Kentucky.
Bourdais was 1.7007 seconds back in Toronto in the No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet for his best finish since rejoining Indy car racing in 2011.
Franchitti, who earned the Verizon P1 Award in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, was informed while standing on the podium that he was assessed a 25-second blocking penalty on the final lap that dropped him to 13th.
After the race, INDYCAR officials met with Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing team members to further review the blocking penalty issued on the final lap. The team presented car data showing steering trace and braking points from the Lap 85 incident with the No. 12 car driven by Will Power. The group also viewed additional video. Upon further review, INDYCAR reinstated Franchitti to his original third-place finishing position.
Helio Castroneves, the championship points front-runner entering the 12th event of the season, increased his lead from 23 points to 39 with a sixth-place finish in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. His closest pursuer, Ryan Hunter-Reay, finished 18th in the No. 1 DHL Chevrolet. Hunter-Reay encountered a string of problems, including stalling twice leaving his pit box and making contact with the Turn 3 tire barrier on Lap 79.
Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti finished fourth and Tony Kanaan was fifth.
The first standing start in IZOD IndyCar Series history was aborted when the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car driven by Josef Newgarden developed an engine sensor malfunction before all the cars were gridded, forcing the implementation of a rolling start. The 24 drivers will try a standing start again in Race 2. Dixon will be joined on the front row by Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Franchitti.
Also on July 13, Jack Hawksworth earned his second victory of the season, winning the Firestone Indy Lights' Toronto 100 from the pole. With bonus points attached for the pole and leading the most laps to the victory and championship points front-runner Carlos Munoz placing fourth, Hawksworth slid into title contention through eight of 12 rounds.
Peter Dempsey, the Firestone Freedom 100 winner in the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing car, overtook the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian car of Gabby Chaves on Lap 46 for second and finished 14.4 seconds back.