Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. Dixon not ready to give up after narrow defeat 2. Moraes posts career-best finish 3. Fans can "Go Pink" with Fisher 4. Fans can vote for Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race 1. Dixon...
Today's IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. Dixon not ready to give up after narrow defeat
2. Moraes posts career-best finish
3. Fans can "Go Pink" with Fisher
4. Fans can vote for Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race
1. Dixon not ready to give up after narrow defeat: Give Scott Dixon an extra tenth-of-second or so at Chicagoland Speedway and the IndyCar Series championship race would have a different complexion.
Dixon was runner-up by 0.0077 of a second (the fourth-closest finish in series history) to Ryan Briscoe in the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 on Aug. 29 at the 1.5-mile oval. It was Briscoe's third victory of the season, and combined with the one bonus point for the pole and two for most laps led (71) increased his championship advantage to 25.
Dario Franchitti, who finished fourth in the 200-lap race, is second in the standings with two races remaining. The narrow loss resulted in a 10-point swing for Dixon, whose second place for the fourth consecutive year left him 33 points back. During the past two season, Dixon had been the points leader after 15 of 17 races.
Dixon was also been among the title contenders in 2006-08, when Chicagoland Speedway hosted the IndyCar Series' finale. Each year he finished second -- by a grand total of 2.0369 seconds. That worked for Dixon in 2008, when he claimed the championship by 13 points over race winner Helio Castroneves. A year earlier, he needed to beat Franchitti in the winner-take-all race. That bid fell short when he ran out of fuel on the final turn of the final lap. In '06, despite the strong performance, Dixon needed other contenders to finish lower in the order to secure the championship. He fell 15 points short.
"I've seen this movie before several times, so it's frustrating," said Dixon, who was among the six drivers to swap the lead 18 times. "I was thinking maybe for a lap or two there that we just might be able to do it. But for the majority of the night if it came down to that shootout I think we definitely knew we were going to lose. It's getting pretty old, so hopefully we can turn it around at some point."
Twin Ring Motegi is up next, where Dixon has posted third- and fourth-place finishes the past two years. Briscoe was ninth in '08 among his two races, while Franchitti advanced four spots to third in his last trip (2007) on the 1.5-mile oval.
"Obviously we're still in the fight for the championship, but Ryan did another good job (at Chicagoland) and we're going to have to make something happen these next two races," said Franchitti.
The 25-point differential is the fourth-closest in IndyCar Series history with two races remaining, as is the 33 points between Briscoe and Dixon. Castroneves was eliminated from title contention at Chicagoland.
"We've seen how quickly (the championship lead) can turn around," said Briscoe, noting that there has been a different leader after 13 of the 15 events. "I just have to stay focused and try to beat these guys. Japan and Homestead, they're going to be tough races. I sort of got myself into a little bit of trouble (falling to mid-pack midway through the Chicagoland race after an extended service stop), and we've got to try to avoid those instances and run consistent, stay at the front, and we'll see what we can do."
2. Moraes posts career-best finish: Opportunistic throughout the 200-lap PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300, Mario Moraes wasn't about to pass up the chance for a career-high finish.
So the No. 5 Azul Tequila/Votorantim/KV Racing Technolgy car slipped out of the draft of Dario Franchitti's car on the white flag lap and overtook the championship contender for third place a few hundred yards from the finish line on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway oval. Another lap and he might have challenged for the victory. Ryan Briscoe beat Scott Dixon to the checkered flag by 0.0077 of a second (the fourth-closest finish in IndyCar Series history). Moraes was 0.0699 of a second back..
In the past two races, Moraes has posted career bests on a road course (fourth at Infineon Raceway) and now an oval. He's started in the top 10 at three of the four 1.5-mile ovals, including eighth at Chicagoland.
"I would like to say thank you (to) KV Racing. They did an amazing job," said Moraes, who was running sixth as late as Lap 197. "The guys had perfect pit stops. The entire KV Racing Technology team has been working really hard for this all season and I'm really pleased with a third-place finish."
Moraes, 20, competing in his 18th IndyCar Series oval race and 30th overall, jumped two positions to 16th in the standings with two races remaining. He missed the event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in early August to be with his family in Brazil following the death of his father.
"This last month has been really tough for me, and the hardest part of all of this is being focused," he said, "because everything comes passing through your mind. I want to dedicate this to my dad and say thank you (to) KV Racing."
3. Fans can "Go Pink" with Fisher: Fans can support Sarah Fisher Racing and its primary sponsor Dollar General in the fight against breast cancer by going pink for the IndyCar Series the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 10.
Dollar General is making a $25,000 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and is partnering with Sarah Fisher Racing, MainGate Apparel and the IndyCar Series to sell commemorative pink hats to raise funds for Komen for the Cure, the leader in the global breast cancer movement.
"Dollar General is proud to work with Sarah and her team to support the fight against breast cancer," said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General's chairman and CEO. "By working together, we can bring more awareness to this disease and raise more funds to support Komen for the Cure and their promise to end breast cancer forever."
The pink commemorative hats are available online at www.dollargeneral.com Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 and also trackside for the Oct. 10 race featuring Fisher at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Each hat purchased comes with an autographed Sarah Fisher hero card and a portion of the proceeds of the sale will be donated to Komen for the Cure. Fisher will be racing in a pink car rather than Dollar General's yellow and black as part of her "On Track for a Cause" initiative.
Dollar General will have life-size replicas of Sarah Fisher in her pink firesuit in each of their stores to remind customers that the hats are available online. MainGate Apparel will also sell 25 of the life-size Sarah Fisher replicas through their trackside and online stores, along with two black and pink commemorative t-shirts to support Fisher and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
"I'm happy to 'go pink' to gain awareness for this cause," said Fisher. "We're excited that Dollar General is supporting us in this pink project. Having Dollar General behind us broadens our reach for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the millions of families that have or will be affected by breast cancer."
4. Fans can vote for Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race: The $10,000 prize is awarded after each IndyCar Series race to the driver who best utilizes his or her Firestone tires to make a bold, dramatic move during the event. This week's nominees are Ryan Briscoe for his perfectly-timed pass on the next-to-last lap for the victory, Mario Moraes for an impressive drive to a career-best third place and Graham Rahal for challenging for the win before finishing a blink of the eye back in fifth. Fans can vote at www.indycar.com.
The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues Sept. 19 with the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 10:30 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 18 by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Homestead-Miami 100 on Oct. 9 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast by Live by VERSUS at 6 p.m. (EDT). VERSUS' coverage of the Chicagoland 100 will be telecast at 6 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 31.