IRL: Nashville: Series race report

DIXON WINS RAIN-DELAYED RACE AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY GLADEVILLE, Tenn., Sunday, July 15, 2007 -- Scott Dixon claimed his second consecutive IndyCar Series victory by winning the rain-postponed Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville ...

DIXON WINS RAIN-DELAYED RACE AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY

GLADEVILLE, Tenn., Sunday, July 15, 2007 -- Scott Dixon claimed his second consecutive IndyCar Series victory by winning the rain-postponed Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.

Dixon, who started on pole, took control of the race from area resident Dario Franchitti, with a three-wide pass of the reigning and Indianapolis 500 winner and Target Chip Ganassi teammate Dan Wheldon as they battled lapped traffic.

The win was Dixon's second straight at the 1.33-mile concrete oval and cut Franchitti's series point lead to 34 points.

Danica Patrick finished third, matching her career-best finish, followed by defending IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. and Marco Andretti.

FIRESTONE INDY 200 POST-RACE NOTES:

* This is Scott Dixon's second consecutive IndyCar Series win and his second consecutive win at Nashville Superspeedway. He is the 14th driver to win back-to-back IndyCar Series races and the first driver to win more than one race at Nashville.

* This is Target Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th win in the IndyCar Series.

* Dario Franchitti finished second, his 10th consecutive top-five finish and 11th consecutive top-10 finish.

* Danica Patrick finished third, matching her career-best finish. She also finished third at Texas in June.

* Darren Manning's ninth-place finish was A.J. Foyt Racing's best finish at Nashville Superspeedway.

FIRESTONE INDY 200 POST-RACE QUOTES:

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, winner, Firestone Indy 200): "It's fantastic. It's exactly what we need. It's been a tough season, especially the start of it. This is what we need for the championship chase against Dario (Franchitti). He had a strong day and was very competitive out there. We just seemed to get up a little bit on pit stops and a bit of traffic there. We're happy. It's a big day for Energizer. That's twice we've run this car now and it has won. (About the move from third to first): I think the other guys just got caught up a bit. To be honest, our car just seemed to get stronger throughout the race. I think we were better in traffic. Maybe a little more downforce, which enabled us to hold on as it got a bit hotter and the track went away. We didn't gain in speed, but we stayed really consistent."

DARIO FRANCHITII (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second): "The Canadian Club car had a good start and got by Scott (Dixon) right away. We were happy up front there. Then we had lapped traffic three-wide in front of us. And that was it. Scott got a good run on us and passed us. From then on, we were struggling to get back up to him. We just got screwed in traffic all day. We'll just have to see what happens next week.

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third): "I thought we had a pretty decent car. We had it dialed in for the last stint very well. I had a lot of understeer in traffic and that makes it difficult, especially how much I was dealing with lapped traffic. They (lapped cars) want you to get inside of them but the likelihood of getting inside of them is low because you get understeer behind them. It's tough to be behind people. It was just unfortunate. There was zero cooperation from lapped traffic.

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth): "We missed the setup at the beginning of the race, but as the day went on we were able to make some tweaks that allowed the Team Penske car to improve significantly. We got to the point where we could make some passes and move up in the field. It's tough because we were running our fastest laps towards the end of the race. I think the green track really changed the complexion of the event this afternoon; if we had run last night I think the race would've been much tighter. I'm looking forward to heading to Mid-Ohio next week as I think we've got a great opportunity ahead of us after that second-place finish at Watkins Glen."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth): "These are the kinds of finishes the NYSE team needs the rest of the year. I think we had a better car than where we finished, but track position is everything here. Each time we came up behind somebody, it never seemed to go our way. If you want to keep somebody behind you at this track, you're certainly able to and that's what happened. We seemed to get caught up behind cars three laps down and they just kept blocking us and it was frustrating. We just have to make the NYSE car better in traffic next time. We'll take the finish. It's not bad."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished sixth): "Some people might not be very happy with a sixth-place finish, but after the string of tough races that we've had recently, we're pretty pleased to score some solid points. It was challenging out there today because the track was really slick. Thankfully, we didn't make any mistakes, and the Team Penske crew was great once again in the pits. If it wasn't for those guys, we probably would have finished a couple of spots lower. I can't say enough about this team and how they've all stayed behind me through this tough stretch. Hopefully, it's all behind us now and we'll be able to finish out the season strong."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Patron Sharp Rahal Letterman Dalllara/Honda/Firestone, finished seventh): "We really didn't need that last caution as we pretty much had fourth place locked up. Overall, it was a strong day for the Patron Rahal Letterman Racing team. Any time you can run away from the Penske cars like we were doing, you've got a good car. It was very tough to pass today. We could get pretty close to guys but but quite get close enough to pass. On the last restart, Sam got a good restart and chopped across my bow to make the pass and that took my downforce off the front wing, which made me wash up and lose a couple more spots."

DARREN MANNING (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished ninth): "I'm really pleased. We threw a setup on it for qualifying, which turned out good, but we didn't know how it'd be on the long run. It was really good. I could stay close to the car ahead and take advantage of a mistake. The ABC Supply crew gave me good stops. I was a little disappointed to lose a lap to Dixie (Scott Dixon) because of lapping Sarah (Fisher) and I got in the marbles, but she had a handful today."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished eighth): "I'm very happy for the Target team today. That was an important team win for everyone. It ended up pretty disappointing and frustrating day for the No.10 Target side. We had problems on two pit stops. One with the fuel probe and the other with the airjack dropping before the tires were done. The last one was on a green lap stop and was a big setback. We were doing great up to then. The three-wide pass with Franchitti and Dixon was pretty hairy, but it got the job done at that point. We'll just look forward to Mid-Ohio."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 10th): "Really really tough day in the Delphi car. The crew did everything they could to help me out, but we just didn't have the strength to get it done today. I think a top 10, considering how we struggled, is a good effort for us The Panther pit crew was really good today, and we were just able to get by (Tomas) Scheckter at the end before the last yellow came out. We were strong at Watkins Glen, so we're excited about Mid Ohio."

***

The next IndyCar Series event is the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance at 1:30 p.m. on July 22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be televised live by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Indy Pro Series event is the Mid-Ohio 100 on July 22 at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be broadcast at 5:30 p.m. on July 26. ESPN2's coverage of Sunbelt Rentals 100 will be televised by ESPN2 at 5 p.m. on July 18.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing