Wheldon Whips Field in Kansas Dan Wheldon dominated the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 Sunday at Kansas Speedway, winning for the second time in 2007 and extending his championship points lead going into next month's 91st running of the Indianapolis...
Wheldon Whips Field in Kansas
Dan Wheldon dominated the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 Sunday at Kansas Speedway, winning for the second time in 2007 and extending his championship points lead going into next month's 91st running of the Indianapolis 500.
Wheldon and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon, combined to lead all but seven of the 200 laps Sunday at the 1.5-mile oval. Only a "drive through" pit lane penalty for Dixon on Lap 165 -- for an improper pit lane entry 10 laps earlier -- prevented a 1-2 finish for the Ganassi duo.
Dario Franchitti followed up his third-place finish last week at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan with a second-place result today, continuing a strong season for the Andretti Green Racing driver, who moves up to fourth in the championship standings. Teammate Tony Kanaan started from the pole and led seven laps early in the race, but fell several laps off the pace after a collision in the pits with teammate Danica Patrick on Lap 49. Both were able to resume, with Patrick finishing a season-best seventh, but Kanaan lost eight laps while his AGR crew replaced his damaged left front suspension and ultimately came home 15th.
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race winner Helio Castroneves finished third Sunday in Kansas City, with Dixon regaining the lead lap and finishing fourth after his penalty. Tomas Scheckter rounded out the top five, his best result of 2007, for Vision Racing.
Defending series champion and Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. struggled with handling problems early in the race, and went down a lap to the leaders during the opening segment. But his Team Penske crew made chassis changes at every pit stop, gradually recovering the handling balance as Hornish fought to a sixth place finish.
Following Patrick in seventh, Vitor Meira also improved during the second half of the race to finish eighth, with Vision Racing's A.J. Foyt IV having his best result of the year in ninth, and Jeff Simmons rounding out the top ten in his Rahal Letterman Racing Honda.
The IndyCar Series now heads "home" to Indianapolis for the Indianapolis 500. Practice for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing begins on May 6, with the 91st running of the 500-mile classic on May 27.
Dan Wheldon (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 4th, finished 1st, second race win of 2007, 13th career IndyCar victory, extends series championship lead after four of 17 races: "The car was simply perfect today, the Honda engine performed as it always does, and the entire Chip Ganassi team did a fantastic job. And it's not just the crew that makes sacrifices and puts in incredibly long hours, but their family members as well. This last week was a bit frustrating for us in the wake of our problems at Motegi, but the win today sends us into Indianapolis in a great frame of mind. I don't think we're the favorites, there are too many strong teams and drivers in this series, but we're certainly ready for the month of May."
Dario Franchitti (#27 Andretti Green Racing Honda) Started 6th, finished 2nd, has finished 7th, 5th, 3rd and 2nd in the four races this year: "It was a interesting day, for sure. Conditions were quite tricky early with the wind gusts and the leftover rubber from the (NASCAR) Truck race yesterday. It was hard to find grip and the cars were sliding around a lot. Our car was a bit difficult at the start of every stint, but got much better as the laps went on. I'm very pleased with the progress Andretti Green Racing has made on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. This was a good day for us and it's nice to head into Indy on the back of a couple of strong finishes."
Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "This was our first real "warm weather" race of the season, with the temperature near 90-degrees for most of the race. Now it's on to Indianapolis for the 'Month of May', and I believe we are very well prepared once again for the challenge of supplying the full 33-car starting field."