IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-06-05

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- June 5, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Dixon gets back in championship hunt with win at the Glen 2. Dixon reaps post-race rewards: 3. Of note 1. Dixon gets back in championship hunt with win at the Glen:...


Today's IRL headlines
1. Dixon gets back in championship hunt with win at the Glen
2. Dixon reaps post-race rewards:
3. Of note

1. Dixon gets back in championship hunt with win at the Glen: With nine races in the next three months, Scott Dixon figures there are plenty of opportunities for him to recapture the IRL IndyCar® Series championship.

The Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver put himself in an advantageous position with a repeat victory June 4 in the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Tissot. Dixon, the 2003 series champion, beat Panther Racing's Vitor Meira to the finish line by 2.3311 seconds in the timed event. He moved to second in the standings behind Marlboro Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (182-170), heading into the Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 10.

Dixon, runner-up to Castroneves on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in early April, posted his fifth consecutive top-10 finish. He is the fourth driver to win a street/road race in the five events over two seasons.

"You put so much time and concentration on winning Indy, it's so anti-climactic when you don't walk away with a win," said Dixon, who started fourth and finished sixth in the May 28 race. "I think after that race is over, all you want to do is win the championship."

Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr., who finished 12th at The Glen, is third in the standings. Dixon's teammate, reigning IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, is fourth. Danica Patrick is a career-high seventh after three consecutive eighth-place finishes.

"We've definitely put ourselves back in it," Dixon said. "I think it's both teams pretty much at the moment to fight for that championship."

The undulating 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International circuit was a challenge after three weeks preparing and racing on the flat 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The inclement weather made it more challenging.

"The cars were tough to drive," said Dixon, who took the lead for good after a restart by passing Rahal Letterman Racing's Buddy Rice exiting Turn 1. "You knew there was going to be a lot of yellows just because of the conditions."

Conditions vacillated between a wet and drying racing surface, necessitating teams to decide when and if to switch between rain tires and slicks. Both Dixon and Meira kept the slicks on, though the final five laps were competed under a mist in the South end of the circuit and a drying surface in the North.

"With the slicks, as soon as they cool off when you drive through a little bit of a puddle, they lose so much grip," Dixon said. "I think it was hard for all of us to know how hard you can go into that next corner because you're not really sure if the car is going to do it."

2. Dixon reaps post-race rewards: Scott Dixon reaped the benefits from winning an IndyCar Series event.

As the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix race winner, Dixon was presented with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT Camera and an engraved Aquaracer Automatic timepiece from TAG Heuer, the official timekeeper and watch of the Indy Racing League. TAG Heuer presents an engraved Aquaracer Automatic timepiece to the winner of each IndyCar Series event.

The Aquaracer concept is founded on providing the accuracy that all water sports demand. Based on the design and features of the timeless 2000 series, launched in 1982, TAG Heuer's watchmakers and designers have created an original, prestigious sports watch that is water-resistant to 300 meters.

Helio Castroneves collected the Firestone Performance Award and its $10,000 prize for leading Lap 38 (Mile 125) of the race, while Ryan Briscoe won the K&N Award and its $2,000 prize for being the highest-placed eligible finisher.

Because qualifications were cancelled there was no Marlboro Pole Award. The $10,000 prize will be included in the prize for the year-end winner of the Marlboro Pole Award.

3. Of note: Andretti Green Racing failed to place a driver in the top 10 for the first time since 2003 at Michigan, when Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta failed to finish. -- Jeff Simmons led a lap for the first time in his IndyCar Series career.


The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series continues with the Bombardier 500k at 9 p.m. (EDT) on June 10 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Liberty Challenge on July 1 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. ESPN2's coverage of the Corning will be televised at 2 p.m. (EDT) on June 8.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Ryan Briscoe , Jeff Simmons , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing