Series news and notes 2011-10-03

IndyCar Series press release

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Kentucky shows how quickly championship can change
2. Dixon takes home A.J. Foyt Trophy
3. Inside the numbers - Kentucky

Scott Dixon
Scott Dixon

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

1. Kentucky shows how quickly championship can change: Ninety minutes after surveying the 2-foot gash in the left sidepod of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, Will Power still couldn't believe his bad luck.

By his own account, the pole sitter for the Kentucky Indy 300 had the quickest car for the 200-lap race on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway oval, and the initial 48 laps he led backed it up.

But as he was turning into his pit stall for a Lap 49 service stop under green, the front wing of the No. 24 Team Ipiranga Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car sliced Power's No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. It cut to the quick.

"Basically, it was worth 4 mph," said Power, who faded to 23rd after two additional stops to cover the damage with black tape. "The handling didn't really change, but it got slower. I did not see (Ana Beatriz); they sent her straight into us. It's just a mistake.

"From what they told me, she was trying to get first gear for about 5 seconds. If she would have gone when she was supposed to go, she would have come out in front of us. It's unbelievable. We had the quicker car of the day and I couldn't have seen anyone beating us. It was our fastest oval car of the year. I just can't believe it."

Power soldiered to 19th place in the penultimate race of the season, which saved precious points in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship chase. Still, the driver who entered the race 11 points ahead of main challenger Dario Franchitti finds himself 18 points back heading to the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda on Oct. 16 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Franchitti will win his fourth title -- and third in a row -- if he finishes first or second or finishes third and adds at least one bonus point for winning the pole (one point) or leading the most laps (two points). Power would win any tiebreaker based on victories.

"Things change quickly in this sport, and we need to focus on winning the race," said Power, who in 2010 took the points lead into the season finale only to fall five points shy of the title. "We have to put 100 percent into winning the pole, leading the most laps. As much as this is disappointing, it's not going to help us thinking about it. What's going to help is us working even harder to turn up with something special at Vegas."

Franchitti posted his 13th top-five finish as runner-up to Ed Carpenter at Kentucky, but isn't counting the $1 million bonus award to the champion.

"It just shows how quickly things change," he said, referring to Power's race-changing incident and his own season-long results. "You never give up. Until it's mathematically impossible, you haven't lost it or you haven't won it. Just kept our head down and (we) did our job.

"So we'll just go next week with an open mind and see what comes of it."

2. Dixon takes home A.J. Foyt Trophy: He didn't win a race on an oval in 2011, but Scott Dixon secured the A.J. Foyt Oval Trophy with a third-place finish in the Kentucky Indy 300.

Dixon accumulated the most points via top-five finishes in all seven oval races (the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct.16 is not included), and outdistanced Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti by 10 points. Franchitti, the inaugural award winner in 2010, won at Texas and Milwaukee but had non-top 10s at Indianapolis and New Hampshire.

"It's a big honor to win the A.J. Foyt oval award," said Dixon, who will be presented a $50,000 check at the INDYCAR Championship Celebration on Oct. 17 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. "The guy's a legend and a character as I'm sure everybody knows."

Foyt, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and owner of the IZOD IndyCar Series team that bears his name, is the all-time leader in victories with 67 (all under USAC sanction). Foyt, whose Indy car career started on a dirt track in Springfield, Ill., in August 1957, earned his first win came at DuQuoin, Ill., on Sept. 5, 1960.

3. Inside the numbers - Kentucky: Some numbers to note from the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway, the 16th event of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

.0098 - margin of victory in seconds at Kentucky for Ed Carpenter over Dario Franchitti. It was the sixth-closest finish in Indy car racing.

2 - Drivers still eligible for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship after Kentucky. Scott Dixon was mathematically eliminated at Kentucky despite winning the A.J. Foyt Trophy as oval champions.

3 - Drivers who have completed every race this season: Danica Patrick, Oriol Servia and Scott Dixon.

4 -Consecutive front row starts for Will Power, who won his eighth pole at Kentucky… Finishing position for rookie James Hinchcliffe, matching his career-best finish from New Hampshire.

6 - Points separating Sunoco Rookie of the Year point leader James Hinchcliffe (302) and JR Hildebrand (296) with one race remaining.

7 - Finishing position for AFS/SSM Racing's Wade Cunningham, his best in three IZOD IndyCar Series starts.

8 - Consecutive races led by Will Power, who led the first 48 laps at Kentucky Speedway…Different winners in 2011 after Ed Carpenter's win at Kentucky.

13 - Top-five finishes for second-place finisher Dario Franchitti, most of any driver in 2011.

15 - Positions gained by Townsend Bell, who finished 11th after starting 26th, most of any driver in the field.

18 - Points separating IZOD IndyCar Series point leader Dario Franchitti (573) and Will Power (555) with two races remaining.

33 - IZOD IndyCar Series races with a margin of victory of less than one-tenth of a second.

50 - Consecutive races running at the finish for Danica Patrick, extending her series record.

100 - Indy car start for Buddy Rice, who finished ninth in the Fuzzy's Racing/Panther Racing car.

148 - Consecutive starts for Tony Kanaan.

274 - Indy car race winners after Ed Carpenter's win at Kentucky.

***

The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Las Vegas Indy 300, the main event of the IZOD INDYCAR World Championship Presented by Honda, on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by ABC at 3 p.m. The race will be broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on XM 94. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Las Vegas 100 on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Series INDYCAR
Tags dixon, honda, kentucky