TARGET PODIUM FINISH FOR WHELDON; DIXON THREE POINTS BACK IN CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT Detroit, Michigan (Sunday, September 1, 2007)-- A wild finish to the street fight on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan put Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon on...
TARGET PODIUM FINISH FOR WHELDON; DIXON THREE POINTS BACK IN CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT
Detroit, Michigan (Sunday, September 1, 2007)-- A wild finish to the street fight on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan put Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon on the podium with a third place finish, and saw teammate Scott Dixon caught up in an accident with two laps to go for an eighth place finish, falling just three points back in the IndyCar Championship battle with one final race left in the season.
In what had become a timed fuel mileage race that fell one lap short of the scheduled 90, Wheldon benefited from team strategy that took him from a 16th place starting position to a third place finish, thanks in part to the late race crash that collected his teammate.
As cars were headed for the finish line, led by eventual race winner Tony Kanaan, the second-place car of Buddy Rice ran out of fuel, triggering a three-car accident that included Dixon and Dario Franchitti. Franchitti was able to re-fire his car and took the checkered flag in sixth place to regain the lead in the Championship standings by three points, earned by leading the most laps (27) in the race by one lap of Pole Sitter Helio Castroneves. Dixon was credited with an eighth place finish.
Danica Patrick avoided the wreckage to finish a career-best second at the weekend's inaugural IndyCar Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone. Target's Wheldon was third, followed by Darren Manning and Kosuke Matsuura.
As the Target team prepares to head to 1.5 mile oval at Chicagoland Speedway for the season finale this up coming weekend, Dixon (584 points) falls back into second place in the Championship standings, just three points behind rival Franchitti (587 points). Kanaan's fifth win of the season keeps him third in the standings with 548 points, while Target teammate, Wheldon remains fourth in the standings with 449 points and Sam Hornish Jr. (427 points) rounds out the top five.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Driver Quoteboard:
Scott Dixon: "I wasn't trying to pass Buddy (Rice). I was in a good position and would not have risked it. He ran out of fuel. I sideswiped Buddy but tried to keep going. I was just trying to stay ahead of (Dario) Franchitti for valuable points. I would never have done anything intentional to jeopardize our race. Heading to Chicago the points situation is a lot tighter than I wish it was. Today was a good battle for the Target team and Chicago should be a better one especially for the fans."
Dan Wheldon: "I think that the race, first and foremost, was put on by Roger Penske, and his group of people were just absolutely fantastic. This is the kind of thing that IndyCar needs. Along with Helio getting on Dancing with the Stars or that ballerina thing that he's doing anyway, I think it's good. I think the race was good for the fans. It was very entertaining. For Target Chip Ganassi racing it was good in one aspect, from our standpoint, finishing in the top three. It was a little unfortunate for Scott, but he's still in a great position to be able to win the championship and that's what we need."