DIXON CLAIMS FIRST WIN OF 2011 AT HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Scott Dixon overtook Dario Franchitti on a Lap 61 restart and went on to win the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
It was the first victory of the season for the two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion, who started from the pole and led the most laps in the 85-lap race. With the bonus points, Dixon closed to 29 points of Team Penske's Will Power for third place in the series championship standings. Power, who started fourth, finished 14th.
Franchitti leads Power by 62 points heading into the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at the 1-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Four of the final six races are at tracks new to the series this season.
It was the third victory in five races under INDYCAR sanction at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Dixon.
Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third and Takuma Sato finished a season-high fourth after starting ninth. Tony Kanaan advanced from 16th on the grid to finish fifth.
HONDA INDY 200 POST-RACE NOTES:
· Scott Dixon is the winner of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio. This is Dixon's first win of the 2011 season. His last win came in 2010 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
· This is Dixon's 26th career win, tying him with Rodger Ward for 12th on the all-time Indy car win list.
· This is the fifth consecutive race at Mid-Ohio where Dixon has led laps.
· Dario Franchitti finished second. He has finished in the top-three in his last four starts at Mid-Ohio.
· Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third, matching a career best at Mid-Ohio. Hunter-Reay previously finished third at Mid-Ohio in 2003.
· Takuma Sato finished fourth, a career best IZOD IndyCar Series finish.
· Tony Kanaan finished fifth, his fifth top-five finish of the season.
HONDA INDY 200 POST-RACE QUOTES:
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, finished second): "Let's be honest, Scott had one of those days. He was on a different course today and deserved to win it. From the time we came here for the test (July 28) he's been on a mission. Great job by the Target boys going 1-2. Good points day for us despite Will's best efforts at the start to spin me around. We managed to get out of that and I think it was a great job in a tough race."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY ( No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Soda, finished third): "I didn't have any drink bottle and that's tough because it was a physical race and you don't realize how much you rely on that thing. It was physical race but a lot of fun. Dario (Franchitti) was just fast in the right spots coming out of the tight corners."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus, finished fourth): "I am very pleased with today's result. It has been a tough weekend and considering the circumstances we achieved the best result possible. The warm-up this morning was not particularly easy for me, but we came back in the race. We got a very solid job from the engineering staff and a great performance by the crew during pit stops. I was patient all through the race and saved my resources until I needed them. I made some positions up on the last restart, which was exciting and the key the result. In the end, to be able to challenge the top-three and finish in fourth hopefully will give us some momentum."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished sixth): "We had a good start and picked up a spot. The team did a great job with good pit stops. Everybody worked really well over the weekend. It's a decent result. We had a good balanced car, but just not enough grip. I was really pushing hard all weekend long to try and get lap times out of it. On the last restart, I got caught on the inside and I didn't want to risk it. Sato and TK went three deep. I kept the car clean and its good sixth-place points. It was hard work just to keep the car at its limits without making any mistakes. Good fitness and good training is always good for tracks like this, but I feel good. Overall, it was a fair weekend for the Bowers & Wilkins team."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy, finished seventh): "Not a bad day overall. We're still struggling for grip with the car, but we came into today read to fight and that's what we did. The guys did well in the pits and we gained where we could on the track. We salvaged what we could and were able to gain 12 positions for the Venom car."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing, finished eighth): "It was a weekend where I didn't have the pace that I thought I was going to. It's usually a place where I have always been quick and we had a good test but I couldn't put it together in qualifying. Starting 20th really makes it hard to pull off any miracles. Finishing eighth is not too bad but it's not really what we came here to do. I guess we salvaged the situation; it could have been worse. Back to the ovals now and we were very strong at the last two so I am looking forward to it."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "It was helluva effort by Team Target; they didn't put a foot wrong. The car was superb this weekend. Sorry to make it so boring toward the end of the race, but I didn't mind (winning by more than 6 seconds). On the (Lap 61) restart I was going to try to get beside him, but I got a bit of a jump and I out-braked him going into Turn 4. It was a bit touch and go but he's a true professional and gave me plenty of room."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing, finished 10th): "As competitive as it is we'll accept a top 10 under any conditions, especially coming from 21st. Our only good session was the one that counted - the race. No matter how bad we start, our ABC Supply team never gives up. The team gave me a good car and good pit stops. Another top 10 on a road course - we'll take it!"
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "We started from our best road course starting spot and on the first lap Tag (Tagliani) decided I didn't deserve enough race track to stay on the race track and I got pushed off in Turn 5 so we fell right to the back. I thought I may have bent something on the car so we sat around the back (of the field) for a bit. We decided to take the early pit window and go for the lucky yellow and it worked out just perfectly. We got around Danica on that restart and managed to keep Scott and Dario at bay while making the fuel mileage that we needed because obviously we were stretching it a little bit. We came in for our second stop and it looked like we were going to cycle out about third and then that caution came out and that's what really threw us for a loop because we opted for the black tires that last stint because I had run so well on them in the middle stint but we knew from warm-up that they took a little longer to come up to temperature. When it came up to that restart I got passed by a couple of the KV cars and was going into the keyhole trying to keep TK (Kanaan) behind me and made a rookie mistake. It's one of the tough things about being a rookie is that when you make those mistakes it's usually very public. And after the day we had its unfortunate because the guys did such a good job. The car was obviously phenomenal. I can deal with failures, I can deal with being taken out but my own personal mistakes are the toughest thing to deal with."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen): "It was a great day for the No. 83 Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen car. We were quick all day and running inside of the top-10, where we qualified, all day. It was nice to be up front. I pressured Tony Kanaan into a mistake for fifth. Not many people do that. I just went into the next corner pushing to get a gap but dropped a wheel, spun and ended up 11th . I'm really proud of the whole effort from the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew this weekend."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Penske Truck Rental): "We were just really unlucky today. In the first stint the Penske Truck Rental car was able to stay with (Scott) Dixon, we were saving fuel and we were pretty comfortable. We had trouble with a tire change on our first pit stop, which hurt us, but we were still in good shape. We did a good job saving fuel - I think Will and I were able to go farther than everyone else - but we just got caught out by the yellow flag. In the end, that's what really hurt us. It's just really frustrating. We had a great car today - a winning car - but we just caught a tough break."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central): "It was a tough day for the Service Central team. The No. 38 Service Central car was really good during the first stint. I really felt like we were going to have a good day; it was shaping up really well. We came into the pits, had a good stop, then when I went to exit the pit box James Jakes was coming in and we hesitated. The team waved me and then stopped me so Jakes and I wouldn't make contact and when I tried to stop the car, I stalled it. That put us way back. I went out to run the next stint and passed a couple of cars, but couldn't make much headway on the blacks. Luckily, we were able to save fuel but we were on a longer run. I came in for my second pit stop for reds. Then, I went up into the keyhole and jumped ahead of Sebastien Bourdais and Danica Patrick, which I don't know where they were but certainly four or five positions ahead of me. We were looking to make up that kind of time. Bourdais slipped underneath of me, but that wasn't a surprise due to the fact that he was on warm tires. I filed in behind him and I think Danica tried to fill a hole that wasn't there and I spun. It's a shame because I thought the Service Central team had a great run going and were able to move up in the end."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Penske Truck Rental): "I'm just very frustrated. We worked hard all weekend and we finally got the Penske Truck Rental No. 3 car where we wanted it. But, the double-file restarts hurt me again. I try to stay away from trouble but somehow trouble seems to find me. Somebody touched the No. 4 car (J.R. Hildebrand) and he lost control and hit me and we needed to come in and change our front wing. That really did us in for the race. I feel really bad for my guys. To work so hard and finish 19th is really tough."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "Today was tough. The Verizon car was fast even while I was saving fuel. We were making great fuel mileage and we were going to go a lap or two longer than the leaders on the second stop, which would have put us in great position to challenge for the race lead in the last stint. Basically, today we suffered for doing a great job of driving a smart race. I have to thank the Verizon crew, they gave me great pit stops today we just got caught out by that last yellow flag."
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus: "Unfortunately the contact with JR Hildebrand messed up my result today. I was running in a good position behind Sato, when suddenly J.R. who was a few positions behind, came in from the outside causing me to lose positions as I braked hard to avoid contact with him. We had a pretty good start and I was following Takuma through my first stint and things were looking good until then. I was able to gain some places back but the last 20 laps were very tricky because I had to save a lot of fuel. This is not something we deserve after such a good weekend. We put so much effort in and it paid off for the team with Takuma's fourth and Tony's fifth place finish."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): "It was a tough day for the GoDaddy.com car. A couple of the yellows didn't work in our favor, and we just didn't quite have the speed to make up lost opportunities. It's so difficult to pass on this track, and you need that speed from the start. The guys did a good job in the pits, so I wish we were able to pull off a stronger finish."
MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 17 Snowball Express/AFS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I met all my goals except for getting a top-10 finish. After what happened today, I mean I absolutely can't be disappointed. I can only be proud of myself and the team. That first stint was pretty solid. We passed three or four cars right away until I was about to pass Saveedra, then he went off. He brought out a full-course yellow. I came in for the pit stop. I had an electrical problem, and I couldn't get first gear. So I had to sit there until they went in to emergency mode. So, then we went all the way to the back again and I had to start all over again. It took me a while to get pass Ed. He was on Red tires and I was on Blacks. Once I got past him, we started picking away again. Then we got past two more cars, I think Jakes again for sure. Then we came in for the last stop and got back on the Reds. I got past Viso, and then the rest of the race was all about saving fuel. I was hanging on to Briscoe and Power and trying to keep Castroneves behind me. Here I was in my first IndyCar race and I'm behind two Penskes and hanging with them, and keeping another Penske behind me, and still saving fuel. It was good to know that I could do that in my first race without giving 100 percent. That gives me a lot of confidence for the next race. "
The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 on Aug. 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live at 3:30 p.m. (ET) by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is New Hampshire 100 on Aug. 14 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. VERSUS' coverage of the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres will air at 4 p.m. on Aug. 17.