Dixon Wows 'Em In ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile First Mile Victory Comes In Record Fashion West Allis, Wis. (May 31, 2009) --Defending IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon parlayed a daring late race pass for the lead in ...
Dixon Wows 'Em In ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile
First Mile Victory Comes In Record Fashion
West Allis, Wis. (May 31, 2009) --Defending IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon parlayed a daring late race pass for the lead in lapped traffic into his first career victory at the legendary Milwaukee Mile Sunday afternoon in the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 in front of a vast sun-drenched crowd.
"We were trying to get the flow of the traffic all day long," Dixon stated shortly after outdueling defending race winner Ryan Briscoe for the checkered flag. "I had many runs at the lead all day but kept getting blocked," continued Dixon.
The New Zealand native chased Briscoe throughout much of the event before pulling off a breathtaking, three-wide pass down the Godaddy.com Backstretch with 25 laps to go when Briscoe encountered a lapped car. Dixon immediately shot to the inside, sandwiching Briscoe between himself and the lapped car as all three machines quickly approached turn three. Momentum carried Dixon to the lead, a position he held all the way to the checkered flag.
"Ryan got caught up with traffic and I made a run on the inside," Dixon said describing the intense moment. "Everything just sort of lined up and it was just perfect there."
Despite pacing the field for most of the afternoon and securing bonus points for leading the most laps, Briscoe was forced to settle for second place after starting from the pole position.
"It was a great race," Briscoe told the crowd, "Scott just had a better time in traffic. He did a great job and just took the opportunity to pass when I got hung up in the lapped traffic."
Dario Franchitti raced with Dixon and Briscoe the entire distance before crossing the finish line third.
Earlier, Franchitti used pit strategy to lead the race on lap 135 but his advantage quickly evaporated twenty laps later when he got bogged down in traffic.
"I could keep getting a run and then there was nothing I could do," a dissatisfied Franchitti said. "I'm kind of disappointed with third because I didn't do the best job of timing passes."
For the second straight year, Graham Rahal started from the outside of the front row in the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225, but this time the third-generation racer finished all 225 laps at The Mile in his sophomore IndyCar Series season, and finished fourth after a steady, strong run.
Wisconsin-born Danica Patrick made a charge in the latter stages of the race to finish fifth, her best Milwaukee Mile IndyCar Series finish and fifth, her fourth consecutive top-5 run this season.
"It was a pretty good day. I sort of had problems with lapped traffic in the beginning but it got better towards the end. It was a good run and we got another top-five finish."
Dixon won the race in record time, covering 225 miles at America's Legendary Oval in one hour, 38 minutes and 43.9552 seconds.
Last Sunday's Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves started the race shotgun on the field after a qualifying mishap and battled all day to remain on the lead lap. After falling behind at one point, Castroneves used a no-pit strategy on the the second and final caution period on lap 160 to get his lost lap back, but the long green flag run that followed forced him to pit for fuel on lap 180, which dropped the affable Brazilian to an eleventh place finish.
Tony Kanaan launched past both Briscoe and Rahal to lead the opening lap, and lead the first 25 laps before settling in line solidly in the top ten. Kanaan's courageous drive came to an end, however, on lap 135 when he brought his machine to pit road with smoke billowing from it from an apparent engine fire.
"I really don't know what happened," Kanaan said after exiting his car. "The car just caught fire and it was really burning up when I came in."
Four-time Milwaukee Mile event winner Paul Tracy made a popular return to The Milwaukee Mile driving the ABC Supply-backed A.J. Foyt Racing famous #14 entry in place of injured Vitor Meira. After he qualified 14th, Tracy instantly grabbed four positions at the start, but his much-heralded drive went sour from the beginning as handling issues with the car left him with a 17th place finish.
The ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt 225 was only slowed twice by the caution flag and only once for an incident involving wall contact when rookie Mike Conway slid against the turn four SAFER barrier on lap 57. E.J. Viso brushed the fence late in turn four late in the event but he continued on and the race remained under the green flag.
In 2000, Dixon also captured a 2000 Firestone Indy Lights race at The Milwaukee Mile, yet had struggled at America's Legendary Oval until recently in IndyCar Series races. His first laps led in series competition came just last year, when he finished second to Briscoe. The Target Chip Ganassi driver led twice for 27 laps on Sunday.