Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Dixon top scorer during six-race stretch
2. PEAK to sponsor race at Infineon
3. Public to vote for Firestone "Tire"-rific move of the race
4. Drivers reap post-race awards
1. Dixon top scorer during six-race stretch: Drivers and teams who went through the first stretch of six consecutive races in IndyCar Series history can take a couple of days to exhale before they begin preparations for the Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 9.
The stretch that began June 22 at Iowa concluded July 26 at Edmonton. Five drivers, including series points leader Scott Dixon, recorded victories during the stretch. Dixon outscored every driver in his quest for a second IndyCar Series championship.
Dixon pocketed 221 points during the six races, including 50 each for wins at Nashville and Edmonton. Helio Castroneves, who trails Dixon by 65 points in the standings with four races remaining, was the second-highest scoring driver with 191 points.
"It's been a stretch where I think we probably could have maximized a little bit more as well, but that's the way it goes," said Dixon, whose only finish outside of the top five during the stretch was an 11th at Watkins Glen International. "You have to try and make the most of it, especially when you have races that you don't do the best at."
Mike Hull, managing director for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, credited Dixon's and the team's mental toughness for its success.
"Maybe that's an understatement, or maybe we don't give it enough consideration - one or the other, but we've worked really, really hard since we began this season to try to be in the position that we're in today," Hull said.
"You can use the cliche that you take one race at a time, but in actual fact, that's exactly what we've done here. We've just worked one week at a time to do each race. Our job at hand is to be ready to race every week, so I think our guys have done a great job. The drivers have stayed strong through the whole process. All the Target mechanics have done the same thing. We got spit out the other side pretty successfully here."
Other drivers who faired well during the six consecutive weekends of racing on a variety of ovals and road/street courses were Ryan Hunter-Reay and Darren Manning. Hunter-Reay scored his first career victory at Watkins Glen and moved up five positions in the standings to ninth. Manning, the seventh-highest scoring driver since Iowa, had four top-10 finishes to jump seven spots in the standings to 12th.
"It has been really grueling going all over the country and completely different racetracks every race weekend," Manning said. "From Iowa to Richmond, they were probably about the only two tracks that were pretty similar, but when you're actually driving them, they're actually quite a lot different. Iowa is a very high-grip track, and even though Richmond is pretty high-grip, it's still just a single-groove track, so it's quite a lot different driving. The road courses back to the ovals and back to the road courses, it's tough. You have to try and make sure you take every opportunity to relax when you get back home, even if it's just for a day or so."
2. PEAK to sponsor race at Infineon: Infineon Raceway and Old World Industries have reached an agreement that will make the PEAK automotive brand the title sponsor of the IndyCar Series race on the 2.245-mile road course.
The PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County will be held Aug. 22-24.
"We are excited to launch this new partnership and we are proud to be associated with a company as involved and committed to IndyCar racing as Old World Industries with their PEAK brand," Infineon Raceway vice president of sales Frank Gullum said. "Infineon Raceway has quickly become IndyCar racing's premier destination, and we look forward to entertaining PEAK's retail partners here in the Sonoma Wine Country."
PEAK Motor Oil became the Official Motor Oil of the IndyCar Series in 2007, and since its product rollout the PEAK motor oil bottles feature the IndyCar Series logo and 2008 schedule. Old World also sponsors an IndyCar Series title race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 7.
PEAK expanded its relationship with the series at the start of the 2008 season with sponsorship of the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award at all IndyCar Series events.
"All of us at Old World Industries are excited to expand our role with the IndyCar Series. Open-wheel racing fans are very brand-loyal automotive Do-It-Yourselfers, and our PEAK brand car-care products fit perfectly with their interests and passions," said Jerry Riccioni, senior vice president of retail sales at Old World Industries. "Sponsorship at Infineon Raceway will enhance our Northern California and national PEAK brand presence."
The upcoming IndyCar Series weekend also features a Firestone Indy Lights doubleheader Aug. 24 and 25.
3. Public to vote for Firestone "Tire"-rific move of the race: Fans will have the ultimate say in who receives a $10,000 race bonus from Firestone. After each IndyCar Series race, Firestone executives pick three "Tire"-rific Moves of the Race, on-track moves where the drivers had to rely on their Firestone Firehawk tires. Fans can vote for the winner at www.indycar.com.
Justin Wilson won the fans' vote from the race at Mid-Ohio and was awarded $10,000 during pre-race ceremonies at Edmonton.
From the Rexall Edmonton Indy, fans can choose from:
* Scott Dixon's pit crew for a quick stop that put him at the front.
* Paul Tracy for edging Oriol Servia at the finish line for fourth.
* Tony Kanaan advancing from the rear of the grid to finish ninth.
In past seasons, Firestone has awarded the bonus to the driver who led the lap that corresponded to the total number of races in IndyCar Series history.
4. Drivers reap post-race awards: Scott Dixon reaped the benefits from winning the Rexall Edmonton Indy. Dixon was presented an IndyCar Series timepiece from Ritmo Mundo, the official timepiece of the IndyCar Series. Ritmo Mundo presents a timepiece to the winner of each IndyCar Series event in 2008. Dixon also collected the $5,000 DirecTV Crystal Clear Moment of the Race and $1,000 from Bosch.
Ryan Briscoe collected $10,000 for the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by AutoZone. Tony Kanaan won the $2,500 Lincoln Welders Hard Charger Award for being the race leader who started furthest back, and Paul Tracy collected the $2,000 XTrac Award.
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Meijer Indy 300 Aug. 9 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Kentucky 100 on Aug. 9. The race will air at 2 p.m. Aug. 14 on ESPN2.