Dixon Sweeps the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio
Scott Dixon scored his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory of 2011 in dominating fashion Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, leading a 1-2 finish in the Honda 200 for Target Chip Ganassi Racing by a margin of more than seven seconds over teammate Dario Franchitti.
After starting from the pole, Dixon set fastest race lap and led 50 of the 85 laps to post his third win at Mid-Ohio in the last six years. His other victories here also came in odd-numbered years: 2007 and 2009.
Prior to today’s race, Geoffrey and Lisa Boles of Wagoner, Oklahoma, received the Honda Racing/HPD Dependability Award. The Boles have logged 282,711 miles – to date – in their trusty 1991 Honda CRX-Si. The award was presented to the Boles by HPD General Manager Marc Sours, who noted that the Boles family has accumulated more than 1,500,000 miles in various Honda cars over the years.
In 2010, the Honda Indy V-8 engines used by the full field in the IZOD IndyCar Series tallied a total of 222,278 miles without a single in-race failure, an unrivaled feat in motorsports. The Honda Racing/HPD Dependability Award celebrates similar achievements of Honda owners, like the Boles family, in the Honda Mile Makers Club.
Franchitti briefly led following the second round of pit stops, but did not put up too much opposition when his teammate passed on a restart following the last caution of the day on Lap 61. Franchitti still extended his championship points lead to 62 over Will Power, as his title rival twice was caught out on track by cautions just before his own scheduled pit stops.
Early in the race, Power elected to stay out one lap longer than Franchitti, but that strategy backfired as a caution flag – for Sebastien Saavedra’s crash in Turn Two – dropped him to the back of the field. Power was caught out a second time when contact occured between Danica Patrick and Graham Rahal just after Franchitti and most of the rest of the field had made their second and final stops of the day.
In addition to Dixon, the day’s other star was series rookie James Hinchcliffe, as the Newman Haas Racing driver led 26 laps – the first of his IndyCar career – during the middle portion of the race and appeared headed to a top-three finish. Unfortunately, a spin on Lap 62 dropped him to 20th at the finish.
The IZOD IndyCar Series continues its August swing with a return to oval track racing August 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the scene of Honda’s inaugural Indy car victory in 2005, with Tasman Motorsports and driver Andre Ribeiro.
Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 1st, finished 1st, his 1st win of 2011 and 26th career victory: “We worked hard to get the pole, so to come back here today for the win is fantastic. On the last restart I really wanted to get to the front, and Dario [Franchitti] didn’t fight too hard, and I respect him a lot for that. This is a great result for the team. We really earned a one-two finish today and I’m happy for all our guys.”
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 4th, finished 2nd, holds a 62-point lead in the drivers’ championship: “Scott [Dixon] got a really good restart and he had me to rights. Let’s be honest, Scott had one of ‘those’ days today. He was in a different time zone and deserved to win. From the time we came here to test [on July 28], he’s been on a mission. It was the usual tough race here at Mid-Ohio, but a good points day for us.”
Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race: “It was a great day for Target Chip Ganassi racing, and for the more than 15,000 Honda associates, dealers and suppliers who came out to enjoy the race and joined what looked like a near-capacity crowd at this beautiful circuit. Honda has had a long and successful partnership here, and we’re grateful to the entire Trueman family for their years of service to Mid-Ohio. We look forward to the improvements planned for the facility by Savoree Green Promotions in the future.”