IRL: Nashville: Honda race report

Dixon Leads Ganassi 1-2 Finish in Nashville Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon scored his second Indy Racing League IndyCar Series victory of 2006 by out-running teammate Dan Wheldon and Panther Racing's Vitor Meira in a 26-lap dash to the...

Dixon Leads Ganassi 1-2 Finish in Nashville

Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon scored his second Indy Racing League IndyCar Series victory of 2006 by out-running teammate Dan Wheldon and Panther Racing's Vitor Meira in a 26-lap dash to the finish Saturday night in front of a packed house at the Nashville Superspeedway.

It was another successful race weekend for Honda and the engineers of Honda Performance Development, as the field of Honda HI6R Indy V-8 engines once again performed reliably throughout practice, qualifying and tonight's 366-mile race.

Dixon started the Firestone Indy 200 from the inside of the second row, but brushed wheels with Helio Castroneves as the field packed into the first turn at the start of the 200-lap event. Both drivers were able to continue with only minor damage, but Dixon fell slightly off the pace of early race leaders Wheldon, Sam Hornish Jr. and Tony Kanaan.

However the 2003 series champion was never too far away from the lead pack and when Wheldon made a final "insurance" stop for fuel under caution on Lap 133, it was Dixon taking over in the lead. The final sprint was set up when Kosuke Matsuura -- who led five laps and looked set for a top-three result -- crashed without injury in Turn 4 on Lap 164. As the green flag waved on Lap 174, both Meira and Wheldon made runs at Dixon's lead, but without success.

Danica Patrick finished fourth for Rahal Letterman Racing, her best IndyCar result since also finishing fourth at the 2005 Indianapolis 500, with Castoneves hanging on for a fifth-place finish despite an ill-handling car resulting from the opening-lap contact.

Tonight's Firestone Indy 200 was the first in a run of three consecutive IndyCar Series race weekends, with the final short oval of the season, The Milwaukee Mile, on July 23, followed by the ultra-fast 2.0-mile Michigan International Speedway event on July 30.

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 3rd, finished 1st, his second victory of 2006, and first oval track win since Richmond, 2003:

"It's been a long time since I've won on an oval. I don't think I had the fastest car tonight, but we may have been the quickest in traffic. The guys did a superb job in the pits and we made great fuel mileage. It was a fantastic night for Target Chip Ganassi Racing with our 1-2 finish."

Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on Honda reliability in today's race:

"We're entering a stretch of three consecutive race weekends, one of the most challenging parts of the season. Once again, we had great reliability from the Honda engines throughout the weekend. Our congratulations to Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Target Chip Ganassi Racing organization for an excellent 1-2 finish."

-honda

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Kosuke Matsuura , Chip Ganassi , Robert Clark , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing