WHELDON TAKES OVER CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH SECOND PLACE FINISH IN JAPAN MOTEGI, Japan (April 21, 2007)--From a second place starting position on the grid, Target Chip Ganassi Racing No.10 Honda Dallara led the most laps (126) and scored a...
WHELDON TAKES OVER CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH SECOND PLACE FINISH IN JAPAN
MOTEGI, Japan (April 21, 2007)--From a second place starting position on the grid, Target Chip Ganassi Racing No.10 Honda Dallara led the most laps (126) and scored a runner-up finish by 0.4828 of a second to race-winner Tony Kanaan at the Japan Indy 300. The second place finish combined with three extra points for leading the most laps gives Dan Wheldon the points lead (118) in the IndyCar Series Championship.
Wheldon, who lost his ability to communicate with the team mid-way through the race, gave up the lead to come into the pits for a splash and go with 14 laps left in what had become a fuel mileage race. Kanaan took over the lead and retained it by coming out of the pits just ahead of Wheldon.
Scott Dixon, who started sixth on the grid, led two laps and took the checkered flag in fourth place after struggling with understeer for much of the race. It is his third top-five finish in as many races and puts him third in the driver championship standings behind Kanaan (115) with 112 points.
TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING QUOTEBOARD:
SCOTT DIXON: "I like Japan but I never really have much luck here at all and that's a shame. The weekend was up and down and I never really got a setting that I liked but I thought we'd be okay for the race. Instead, we had a lot of understeer especially in traffic and I never really got a good run on anyone. It was one of those days when you're fighting to get some good points. There was never one time where we thought we were particularly fast or anything. I think we could have saved a bit more fuel through the race, which would have enabled us to been there at the end. I'm looking forward to Kansas; the car should be pretty quick."
DAN WHELDON: "I think I have to say when you consider the pace of our car, I think even Tony (Kanaan) would agree it was probably the best out there. It was unfortunate we lost radio communication pretty early on. We were being very conservative with the time that we had to pit. Perhaps some improvements we could have made with the car over the duration of the race. I think that was basically what really hindered us. The frustration of it is that this is a fantastic team but we need to close on the opportunities that we have. We'll continue to work hard and I'm just that much more fired up and looking forward to Kansas."