Honda Indy 200 Race Report Circuit: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2.25-mile road course) Lexington, OH 2008 Winner: Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske Honda) 94.873 mph average Weather: Sunny, warm, 91 degrees F Dixon Reclaims Points Lead...
Honda Indy 200 Race Report
Circuit: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2.25-mile road course) Lexington, OH
2008 Winner: Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske Honda) 94.873 mph average
Weather: Sunny, warm, 91 degrees F
Dixon Reclaims Points Lead with Mid-Ohio Victory
A textbook performance by Scott Dixon Sunday at the Honda Indy 200 led to the fourth IndyCar Series victory of the season for the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver and a return to the top of the championship points table, with just four races remaining.
Starting third, Dixon saved fuel during the first third of today's 85-lap run over the 2.25-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, enabling him to pit two laps later than his rivals. Emerging from the first round of pit stops in second place, behind early leader Justin Wilson, Dixon moved into the lead on Lap 34 with a decisive pass as he and Wilson approaced lapped traffic. Dixon went on to command the rest of the race, setting fastest race lap just prior to his second and final pit stop; and surrendering the lead only briefly to an out-of-sequence Marco Andretti.
During a hot and humid race day, 21 drivers ran a total of 7,546 miles this weekend at Mid-Ohio -- the 44th consecutive IndyCar Series without a single engine-related failure for the Honda HI9R Indy V-8.
Dixon's strongest rival, Dale Coyne Racing's Wilson, led for 28 laps after an exciting pass of pole qualifier Ryan Briscoe when the latter briefly slid off-line over the crest of the Turn 8 hill. Wilson went on to build up a six-second lead over Briscoe until the first round of pit stops, and remained in contention until waiting one lap too long before making his second and final stop. Wilson ran out of fuel entering Pit Lane, and the resultant stall before rejoining the race dropped him to an unrepresentative 13th-place finish.
Much of the action in the final laps was provided by the battle between Briscoe and Dario Franchitti for second place, with the pair running nose-to-tail for much of the final 20 laps. However, Franchitti was unable to mount a successful passing attempt and took the checkers just over two-tenths of a second behind Briscoe.
Ryan Hunter-Reay had his best IndyCar result since moving from Vision Racing in June, finishing fourth for A.J. Foyt Racing. Andretti Green Racing's Hideki Mutoh rounded out the top five finishers, holding off teammate Marco Andretti for this third top-five result of the season, and best since finishing fourth at Richmond in June.
The IndyCar Series now takes a one-week break before heading west to California for the final road-race event of the season, the August 23 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County at Infineon Raceway.
Scott Dixon (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 3rd, finished 1st, fourth win of 2009 and IndyCar Series record-setting 20th career victory (16 with Honda power): "What a day. I can't say anything more about the team, they gave me such a great car. It's great to finally win on a road course this year, and fantastic to have the points lead once more and that 20th career win. And we had passing at Mid-Ohio! Justin [Wilson] was pretty quick in the early going, and we were bottled up for a bit behind Ryan [Briscoe]. But once I was up to second, I was able to use lapped traffic as a bit of a "pick" and get around him. Then our car was so good on the primary [black] tires, it all came down to hitting my marks and not making any mistakes to the finish."
Ryan Briscoe (#6 Team Penske Honda) Started 1st, finished 2nd: "Our car wasn't at its best on the [alternate tire] 'Reds' that we ran at the start, and when I got a little loose at one point Justin [Wilson] made a great move to get around me. Our car got much better on the primary tires, but Dario [Franchitti] put a lot of pressure on us during the last 20 laps. That 'little button' [the Honda power assist] helped us out a lot in the final laps!
Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "I think the fans got to see a great race today, with a dominating performance from Scott Dixon. It was interesting to see how relaxed he appeared in Victory Circle, while some of his closest competitors looked pretty beat from the heat and humidity. While an 'all red' podium of Ganassi and Penske cars is not an unfamiliar sight this season, it was encouraging to see Justin Wilson have another strong road course run; and great to see strong runs from Ryan Hunter-Reay for the A.J. Foyt team and Hideki Mutoh for Andretti Green Racing. For me personally, it was exciting to see thousands of Honda associates enjoying themselves today at Mid-Ohio, and witnessing another perfect weekend for the Honda Indy V-8 engine. As always, thanks for that goes to our associates at HPD and technical partner Ilmor."
-credit: honda racing