Dixon sweeps Mid-Ohio; from pole to victory
Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon won from pole on Sunday to complete a weekend sweep of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The flying Kiwi overtook runner-up and teammate Dario Franchitti on a Lap 61 restart while Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third.
"On the (Lap 61) restart I was going to try to get beside him, but I got a bit of a jump and I out-braked him going into Turn 4. It was a bit touch and go but he's a true professional and gave me plenty of room," said Dixon.
The victory was the third career win (previous 2007, 2009) for Dixon over this 2.26 mile 13-turn circuit laid out in the rolling rural landscape of northeast Ohio. It is his first win of the 2011 campaign.
The car was superb this weekend.
Dixon also earned points for most laps led; leaving him only 29 points shy of Team Penske's Will Power for second in the season championship standings.
Dixon added, "It was helluva effort by Team Target; they didn't put a foot wrong. The car was superb this weekend. Sorry to make it so boring toward the end of the race, but I didn't mind (winning by more than 6 seconds). "
The Kiwi's teammate stated, "Let's be honest, Scott had one of those days. He was on a different course today and deserved to win it. From the time we came here for the test (July 28) he's been on a mission. Great job by the Target boys going 1-2".
Franchitti then alluded to the opening lap when he and Will Power touched wheels. "Good points day for us despite Will's best efforts at the start to spin me around. We managed to get out of that and I think it was a great job in a tough race." Thus, the Scotsman has kept the heated exchange of words between himself and the Aussie continuing into the next event.
Hunter-Reay's efforts to stay in touch with the Ganassi drivers came up short but the American was pleased with the Andretti Autosport car and his podium finish. "I didn't have any drink bottle and that's tough because it was a physical race and you don't realize how much you rely on that thing. It was physical race but a lot of fun. Dario (Franchitti) was just fast in the right spots coming out of the tight corners."
KV Racing Lotus' Takuma Sato finished fourth ahead of teammate Tony Kanaan in fifth place. Sam Schmidt Motorsports Alex Tagliani was sixth, followed by Marco Andretti, Oriol Servia of Newman Haas Racing, Dale Coyne's Sebastian Bourdais and AJ Foyt Racing's Vitor Meira in tenth.
Simon Pagenaud ran to a 13th place result in Justin Wilson's stead. Wilson has been diagnosed with a vertebral fracture and will see a spinal specialist in Indianapolis on Monday.
Power's hopes for a championship continued to dim on a disappointing 14th place result in the Buckeye state, and teammates Ryan Briscoe (16th) and Helio Castroneves (19th) could add little solace to Team Penske's mood on Sunday evening.
Danica Patrick finished twenty-first.
The race was run at an average speed of 105.861 mph over 1:48:46.9509.
Scott Dixon's margin of victory was 7.6508 seconds.
There were 2 cautions for 8 laps, and 7 lead changes among 5 drivers.