Dixon Makes it Two in a Row for Team Target with Win at Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (April 27, 2009)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon beat Helio Castroneves to the line by 0.7104 of a second at Kansas Speedway, vaulting him from 17th to fourth in the IndyCar Series point standings. Target teammate Dario Franchitti could only complete 151 of the 200 laps after an incident left him in the outside wall, dropping him out of the points lead to third in the chase for the championship.
Dixon entered the race 17th in points after two difficult races on street circuits to begin the season. The return to a 1.5-mile oval suited him well. After starting fourth, Dixon passed pole sitter Graham Rahal on lap 8 and went on to lead 134 of 200 laps for his 17th career IndyCar Series victory. The win was the third in a row at the track by a Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver.
Franchitti on the other hand was not as fortunate, having to claw his way to the front after starting 21st on the grid. It didn't take long for the Scot to make his way forward, as he was shown in the top-10 by just lap 15. But getting onto pit lane on lap 151 proved to be an issue as he had to avoid the No.02 car who stopped abruptly in front him. Franchitti avoided contact with the No.02, but slid away with two blown tires which resulted in contact with the outside wall, ending his day.
With the win, Dixon moves to fourth in IndyCar points with 81 points (-19 to leader Kanaan), while Franchitti stands third with 96 points.
Scott Dixon: "I think we were expecting the race to be a lot more difficult as far as the wind conditions in Turn 3 and 4 and maybe more cautions. The Target team was definitely talking about a lot of cautions and making sure we were saving fuel. All-in-all for me it was a pretty smooth race. We had a great car. We jumped straight to second then about ten laps later, we got Graham (Rahal) when he slid up the track a bit in Turn 3 and 4. We got out front and started saving fuel. The Target car was really good all day. We had a bit of a fumble in the pits, which dropped us back to third at one point and made it quite difficult to get past (Ryan) Briscoe. I think we were trimmed to win as they say. The car was maybe not as good as it should have been in traffic. Luckily enough, we were saving enough fuel and caught the caution that catapulted us to the front."
Dario Franchitti: "Graham (Rahal) just stopped in front of me coming into the pits. That's one of the places you can make up time, coming in and out (of the pits) and he just braked hard and we were just sort of feathering the brake. I got on the brakes hard when I saw him just stop, and flat spotted both fronts, punctured them and had no steering or front grip after that. It caught me by surprise how early he broke. We were running sixth gear there and he was hard on the brakes."