Dixon Scores First Victory for Team Target in Unified IndyCar Series at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 30, 2008)-Team Target got off to a great start at Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday night as Scott Dixon started from pole position and passed Tony Kanaan with four laps remaining to win the 200 lap IRL IndyCar Series opener. Teammate Dan Wheldon, who had won the previous three races at the track, finished third.
The historic weekend marked the first event since open-wheel racing unified in the U.S. under the IndyCar Series banner, and Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) led the pack from the opening practice session. Dixon, the 2003 Homestead winner, scored his ninth IndyCar Series pole position, while Wheldon started 22nd after contact with the wall in his first attempt at the series' new four-lap average qualifying format.
Dixon led the first 12 laps of the race while Wheldon passed 14 cars in the first 13 laps to break into the top-10 in the 25 car field. Both Target cars made four pit stops over the course of the race, and neither Dixon nor Wheldon ran outside of the top three after the second stop on lap 72.
While Wheldon would go on to finish a solid third, the turning point of the race for Dixon came on lap 193 when he was running second and leader Kanaan sideswiped the No. 33 car after it lost control. The yellow came out for the incident and left Kanaan's car with right front damage with just five laps to go in the event. The safety crew made quick work of the incident, which allowed Dixon to overtake Kanaan's damaged machine to lead the final four laps and cross the line 0.5828 seconds over Marco Andretti.
The win was Dixon's 11th in the IndyCar series, TCGR's 17th in the IRL, and the 57th for the team in open wheel racing. Overall it marked the 92nd win for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc.
Dixon currently leads the IndyCar championship race with 50 points, followed by Andretti (43) and Wheldon (35).
Next up for the team is the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg next Sunday, April 6th on the streets of St. Petersburg (LIVE, 2:30 pm ESPN).
Team Target Quoteboard:
Scott Dixon "It was one of those races where we didn't exactly have the speed all the time, or things weren't really going our way, but we still came out on top. If you can have races like that, where you have a bad day, or a day where you don't think you're at your best, and you still come out on top, that's a great way to take some points away from others and hopefully it works for the rest of the season."
Dan Wheldon "To be honest, it probably wasn't me, the car was obviously very good. The other people on the track were very respectful. I think they knew I had a fast car. To tell you the truth, I think every time I came up behind somebody and they knew I was quicker, they made it comfortable for me to pass. From that standpoint, I certainly appreciate what they did. From a car standpoint, we were phenomenal on a long run, but on the short run we weren't quite as quick as we'd like perhaps. We seemed to just lose a little bit on that last start. To finish third after a difficult day yesterday, I think these are good points in the bank."