Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti won the Indy Racing League championship after Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon ran out of fuel one half mile from the finish line. Franchitti appeared to be beaten as Dixon ran ahead of the Scot on the...
Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti won the Indy Racing League championship after Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon ran out of fuel one half mile from the finish line.
Franchitti appeared to be beaten as Dixon ran ahead of the Scot on the 197th of 200 laps at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday (September 9th).
When the red and white TCGR car slowed on turn 3 of the 200th lap Franchitti slipped into the high groove and went coolly around his only viable championship contender, winning the trophy by a slim thirteen points.
"They were telling me it's close on fuel," he said afterwards. "When he (Dixon) ran out of fuel he wiggled a little, and I had to dodge him by going high."
"After I collected the car I knew we had won the race, and won the championship."
Dixon rued the result by saying, "I can take being beaten on the track in the heat of battle, but it's a little harder running out of fuel."
He went on to add, "Ultimately it was about mileage and we didn't make any today."
Team Penske's Sam Hornish, Jr finished third in what may turn out to be his last season on the Indy Racing League championship trail. He, and Franchitti, are rumored to be mulling opportunities in stock cars for next year.
Helio Castroneves was fourth, and Rahal Letterman's Scott Sharp was fifth.
Tony Kanaan, Rahal Letterman's Ryan Hunter-Reay, and surprising Hideki Mutoh of Panther Racing placed sixth, seventh and eighth.
Dreyer & Reinbold's Buddy Rice and AJ Foyt IV of Vision Racing rounded out the top ten.
The race was run with remarkably little yellow save for a spin by Marco Andretti in turn four on lap 34.
Andretti was transferred to a local medical center where he was examined by CAT Scan and found to have no significant injury.
Vitor Meira spun in turn four also, on lap 136 to bring out the yellow flag for fourteen laps to clear debris and repair the SAFER barrier.
Danica Patrick (who finished eleventh) spun entering the pit lane on lap 194, slowing the field for two laps prior to the dramatic finish at speed.
The average speed of the race was 173.686 miles per hour. Mutoh set the race's fastest lap on lap 173 at a pace of 216.616 mph.