Dixon and Wheldon Go One-Two For Chip Ganassi Racing Team's 100th Win LEBANON, Tenn. (July 13, 2008)-Scott Dixon's third straight win at Nashville Superspeedway in the No.9 Energizer Honda Dallara gave Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. its 100th...
Dixon and Wheldon Go One-Two For Chip Ganassi Racing Team's 100th Win
LEBANON, Tenn. (July 13, 2008)-Scott Dixon's third straight win at Nashville Superspeedway in the No.9 Energizer Honda Dallara gave Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. its 100th win Saturday in the rain-shortened Firestone Indy 200. Target teammate Dan Wheldon finished second in the race that marked the sixth win in 11 races this season for Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR).
Dixon started the scheduled 200 lap race fifth and moved his way up to the top three with a big run on the outside groove during the opening lap. Wheldon started sixth in the No.10 Target Honda Dallara but slipped backed to seventh in the early goings as he tried to dial in his car.
By lap 33 Dixon had encountered lapped traffic while Wheldon slowly worked his way up to the top five. On lap 45 second-place Danica Patrick made a run at race-leading Helio Castroneves which opened the door for Dixon to slide through to second position. Ten laps later Dixon would pass championship contender Castroneves for the lead before the first round of pit stops on lap 61.
Dixon held the point until Tony Kanaan took the lead on lap 90, while Wheldon ran strong in fifth. The second round of pit stops came for TCGR on lap 103, and a light rain put the race under yellow on lap 139 with Dixon second and Wheldon seventh.
The turning point of the race came on lap 149 when leader Kanaan pitted from the lead. Dixon was in second and got the call to follow Kanaan, but by the time he could get the Energizer car pointed toward pit lane it was too late to commit without risking a spin.
Wheldon's team followed suit by staying out and the race went green again on lap 153. With TCGR running first and second, the yellow flag flew again for rain which would halt the race for good on lap 171, leaving Dixon the winner with Wheldon in the runner up spot. Wheldon's second place finish was his eighth top-five finish of the season.
Dixon's third consecutive victory at Nashville marked the third time in IndyCar Series history that a driver has won three consecutive races at one track. Dixon did it at Watkins Glen from 2005-07, and Wheldon did it at Homestead-Miami from 2005-07.
To date, TCGR has combined with their Indianapolis-based Rolex Sports Car Series operation to win 11 of 19 races this season.
With his fourth win of the season (Homestead, Indianapolis and Texas), Dixon extended his IndyCar Series championship lead from 48 to 63 over Castroneves, with Wheldon now six points back of Castroneves in third. Up next for the Target team is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance on Saturday, July 20th (1:30 p.m. EDT, ABC).
Scott Dixon: "It's a big night for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Every time we ran this car I've won with it, here at Nashville and at Watkins Glen. It's been a hell of a lot of luck for us, but you could not have been luckier than we were tonight. It was a miscommunication on the pit call. That's the only reason that I didn't come in. I was angry for a few laps, but when I saw that rain coming down, I thought, "Oh, this could work out pretty good." (Tony Kanaan) was pretty strong and he seemed to get the worst out of it."
Dan Wheldon: "I absolutely did not (have a second-place car tonight), but sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. It's a great night for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the end. To finish 1-2 and the rain seemed to be powered by Energizer Batteries because it kept coming down. I had a lot of drag in the car and it made it very difficult. I had to lift a lot in traffic and as I said, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good."