Dixon Fifth, Wheldon 20th at Raceway at Belle Isle DETROIT, Mich. (September 1, 2008)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's (TCGR) Scott Dixon grabbed his seventh pole of the season, led the first 18 laps in Detroit and scored his 13th top-five finish of...
Dixon Fifth, Wheldon 20th at Raceway at Belle Isle
DETROIT, Mich. (September 1, 2008)-Target Chip Ganassi Racing's (TCGR) Scott Dixon grabbed his seventh pole of the season, led the first 18 laps in Detroit and scored his 13th top-five finish of the year. Target teammate Dan Wheldon started 11th and went off pit sequence on lap 11 of 87, but contact with another car on lap 19 would contribute to a 20th place result.
Dixon, who maintains a 30-point lead in the championship heading into next weekend's finale in Chicago, took control from the start but shuffled back to 18th after his first pit stop. He ran a clean race from that point but was not able to advance through traffic on the tight 2.07-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park. His 885 laps led this season leaves him just five short of breaking Tony Kanaan's record for laps led in a season set in 2004.
On lap 18, Wheldon tangled with Jaime Camara in turn 9 and spun, damaging the No.10 Target Honda. The team continued the fight and recovered from falling down a lap until Wheldon went nose-first into the turn 7 tire barrier on lap 66. With the car stuck in second gear, Wheldon climbed out and settled for a 20th place finish.
With his fifth place finish, Dixon's IndyCar Series championship lead stands at 30 points over Helio Castroneves with one race remaining. Dixon could clinch his second IndyCar Series title (2003) in the final race of the season with a finish of eighth or better. Wheldon slipped to fourth in the standings, 142 points back of leader Dixon.
Up next for the Target team is the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway (1.5-mile) on Sunday, September 7th (3:30 p.m. EDT, ABC).
TCGR has won all four rounds of the IndyCar Series contested on 1.5-mile ovals this season (Homestead-Dixon; Kansas-Wheldon; Texas-Dixon and Kentucky-Dixon).
Scott Dixon: "I don't think it was much of a race, to be honest. The car was clearly quicker than anybody's. We were saving a ton of fuel up front and sort of having a merry old day, and that changed pretty quickly. We left with a half tank after that caution. I think I was probably the only person or maybe a couple of others. It's just a hard situation when you're in that position when nobody else pits and you have a lot of slower guys that pitted early on and have a lot of fuel and you have to try to pass them. That was pretty much the race. From that point on, we were just trying to pull up there. My anger is clearly through frustration. It's not the calls, we win as a team and we lose as a team. We clearly had the quickest car today."