DIXON WINS AT KENTUCKY WITH LAST LAP PASS OF CASTRONEVES
SPARTA, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 9, 2008 -- Scott Dixon passed Helio Castroneves exiting the final turn of the 200-lap Meijer Indy 300 to earn his record-tying sixth victory of the season. The victory also extended Dixon's lead to 78 points over Castroneves in the race for the season championship with only three races remaining.
Dixon, who led 151 laps after starting from the pole, found himself running third for most of the final 30 laps. When he came out of the pits after a splash of fuel on Lap 194, he was more than six seconds behind Castroneves, who had last pitted on Lap 143. Castroneves ran out of fuel on the final lap and couldn't hold off the charging Dixon. It was the seventh second-place finish of the season for Castroneves.
Marco Andretti, who led 38 laps, finished third, and Vitor Meira, who started second, finished fourth.
Dan Wheldon, who is third in points, finished fifth, and Tony Kanaan, who is fourth in points, finished eighth. Ryan Briscoe (7th) and Danica Patrick (11th) were eliminated from title contention.
A.J. Foyt is sporting the gray stubble of a beard in development.
When driver Darren Manning, with a few weeks head start on his team owner, asked when the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner was going to shave, Foyt didn't skip a beat: "When you win a race."
Scott Dixon has taken the CanTeen Bandanna Challenge and designed a bandanna for the Oct. 17-31 fundraiser for the New Zealand national peer support network for 13-24 year old patients, siblings and bereaved siblings living with cancer.
Celebrities including Donald Trump, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Roger Federer have taken the challenge and donated signed bandannas. The bandanna is a symbol for CanTeen because many young people choose to wear them after losing their hair as a side effect of cancer treatments.
Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan was a willing participant in Ryan Donohue's clever plan to propose to longtime girlfriend Kerri Wilson at Kentucky Speedway.
Wilson, a diehard Kanaan fan, approached the Team 7-Eleven driver during the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and asked for a pair of driving gloves. Kanaan said to catch up with him at another race, which set the wheels in Donohue's mind in motion.
"I e-mailed (Kanaan's assistant) and told her we were coming to the Kentucky race (from Indianapolis) and asked if she could do me a favor," Donohue said. "I asked if she would put the engagement ring in a glove so when Tony gave it to her I would ask Kerri to marry me."
Kanaan suggested Wilson try on a glove, and as she did she pulled out the engagement ring. That's when Donohue's right knee met the blacktop and he proposed.
"I thought maybe TK had lost his wedding ring in the finger of the glove," Wilson said through tears. "This is unbelievable."
"You almost made me cry," Kanaan said as he autographed the gloves.
Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman presented the Paul Dana Leadership in Biofuels Award to all of Indiana's corn and soybean farmers for their help in making the state a national leader in the biofuels industry. The Paul Dana Leadership in Biofuels Award honors the memory of Indy Racing League driver Paul Dana, a strong supporter of Indiana's growing biofuels industry who was killed in a racing accident in 2006. Dana was an advocate of biofuels, and each year an individual or group is recognized in his honor for their work in the biofuels industry.
The Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn accepted the 2008 Paul Dana Leadership in Biofuels Award on behalf of Indiana's corn and soybean farmers. The Indiana Soybean Alliance manages Indiana's soybean check-off program and also has a separately funded membership and policy committee to represent soybean farmers on issues affecting the soybean industry. Indiana Corn represents both the Indiana Corn Growers Association, a voluntary membership organization promoting the interest of corn growers in the state, and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the organization managing Indiana's corn check-off funds.
BECKY SKILLMAN (Indiana Lt. Governor): "Paul Dana was a hero to so many, as an IRL driver, a personality and an advocate for biofuels. He made a difference and was an inspiration. In a very short time, Indiana has become a national leader in the biofuels industry. Today we recognize the state's corn and soybean farmers who have helped Indiana achieve such success."
By leading Lap 1-2, #9 Dixon has become the fifth driver in IndyCar Series history to lead at least 2,000 laps.
INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE NOTES:
* This is Scott Dixon's sixth victory of the season, tying Dan Wheldon (2005) for most victories in a season.
* This is Scott Dixon's 16th victory in his IndyCar Series career.
* This is the 24th IndyCar Series victory for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
* Dixon extends his lead in the championship point standings to 78 over Helio Castroneves.
* Ryan Briscoe and Danica Patrick, who finished seventh and 11th, respectively, are eliminated from championship contention.
* Helio Castroneves finished second for the seventh time this season, including the third consecutive race.
* Dixon and Castroneves are the only driver to record 12 top-five finishes this season.
* Marco Andretti finished third, his sixth top-five finish of the season and the 20th top-10 finish of his career. He has made 45 starts.
* Vitor Meira finished fourth, his second top-five finish of the season. His best finish was second at Indianapolis.
* Dan Wheldon finished fifth, his ninth top-five finish of the season.
* Tony Kanaan finished eighth. Along with Dixon and Castroneves, Kanaan is the only other driver with 12 top-10 finishes this season.
INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE QUOTES:
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, first): "What a day. I think we tried to play it kind of safe and just be conservative. Even in traffic we really didn't rush things. The car was fantastic. We didn't have as much speed, actually, as we thought we did, especially in practice and qualifying. The car was super fast. We had a couple of guys that definitely sped up, with (Vitor) Meira and Marco (Andretti) toward the end, their cars were very fast. It was strategy in the end, it was crazy. There was no way we were going to catch him. He was half the track ahead of us. I knew our car was probably quicker than his, but not 20 miles per hour faster. It was nice to get it the way we did. I think about the run that Dario (Franchitti) had for the championship last season, and it's nice to be able to be in that position after how we lost it last year."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, second): "We took a chance. I can't believe how close we were. Coming out of the last turn, the fuel pressure went on and I started to lift. I was just a few hundred yards short. I have to thank (Tim) Cindric and Team Penske for the great strategy. We did not have the car, unfortunately, so I'm extremely happy with second."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Meijer, third): "We have got to start capitalizing on these cars that can win these races. (Scott) Dixon had a bit of speed on us, but I think we had a better car in traffic. It was between him and I to win this race, and I think it is just unfortunate."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi National Guard, fourth): "Today was good. I think we were actually a little light at the beginning of the race, but we were ahead, so that actually offset it. Everyone did a good job, and we can't complain. Everyone wanted to win, and we put ourselves into position to do that. It was a good finish, and this gives us momentum going into the next race and the rest of the season. We gained points, and we gained everything else, so we are happy that we had an overall good day even though we would have liked to see the win."
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Polaroid, fifth): "It was a very competitive race, and I am really happy for Scott Dixon and all the guys at Target Chip Ganassi. I was having trouble finding speed, and Tony (Kanaan) just wasn't going to let me have it easy, but that's good racing. I didn't seem to quite have enough. It was a good race. We lost a lot of spots in the pits on that last one, and it is difficult to get them back. It seemed I had it going pretty good in the draft, but when I got outside I wasn't quite quick enough. It was a competitive race, and it seemed like we rode pretty well, just a little bit short."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, sixth): "It was fun, clean racing out there tonight. I raced hard with Hideki (Mutoh) and TK (Tony Kanaan), (Dan) Wheldon and (Ryan) Hunter-Reay. I should be happier with a sixth-place finish than I am, but we came here really wanting to get on the podium or battle for a win. It was a good day, and we made up some ground on points. A couple of the other cars were a little quicker than me late in the race. We may have had a little too much downforce in the car late in the race when the track was in the shadows, but the Menards car was a really good car tonight. It's a good finish to get on an oval and score some points. How we'll just head go to Sonoma and Detroit and figure out how to do the same."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, seventh): "Team Penske did a great job today. We had a solid, consistent run and the car was handling very well. It was definitely fun out there; there was a lot of side-by-side racing and it really was quite exciting. I think we had a solid car, we just didn't quite have to speed to run in the top three or four. We would've liked a bit higher finish, but the important thing is we earned some valuable points out there and maintain our fifth-place standing in the championship."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, eighth): "This was a difficult night for us, especially in the early stages of the race. My guys worked hard throughout the race to make the Team 7-Eleven car better, and we were able to get more and more competitive as the night went on. Obviously an eighth-place finish was not what we were looking for, though."
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County Aug. 24 at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with a doubleheader Aug. 23-24 at Infineon Raceway. The races will air at 5 p.m. Aug. 28 on ESPN2. The Kentucky 100 will air at 2 p.m. Aug. 14 on ESPN2.