HORNISH RETAKES POINT LEAD WITH FOURTH WIN OF 2006 SPARTA, Ky., Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006 -- Sam Hornish Jr. re-claimed the IndyCarÂ® Series point lead by winning the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret at Kentucky Speedway. The ...
HORNISH RETAKES POINT LEAD WITH FOURTH WIN OF 2006
SPARTA, Ky., Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006 -- Sam Hornish Jr. re-claimed the IndyCar® Series point lead by winning the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret at Kentucky Speedway.
The two-time IndyCar Series champion, who led four previous times in the Meijer Indy 300, passed Scott Dixon for the lead on Lap 196 and went on to a 0.5866-of-a-second victory over the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver at Kentucky Speedway.
Hornish entered trailing Helio Castroneves by eight points in the championship race and left leading his Marlboro Team Penske teammate by seven (418-411). Reigning IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon is third with 394 points, and Dixon has 385. Vitor Meira (348) and Tony Kanaan (339) round out the top six -- the only drivers eligible for the championship with two events remaining.
Castroneves, the pole sitter, finished third in the 200-lap race. Wheldon, who led a field-high 66 laps in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth. Kanaan was fifth and Meira sixth.
Vision Racing's Tomas Scheckter advanced 10 positions to finish seventh, and Danica Patrick was eighth. Sarah Fisher, competing in her first IndyCar Series race since the 2004 Indianapolis 500, started and finished 12th in the No. 5 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
RACE DAY NOTEBOOK:
IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira and Indy Pro Series driver Jaime Camara are carry decals carrying get well wishes for fellow Brazilian driver Cristiano da Matta, who was injured while testing a Champ Car earlier this month. The IndyCar Series cars are carrying "Get Well Cristiano" on their cars, while Camara's car has "Get Well Kiki."
Helio Castroneves carried a decal on the back of his helmet.
JAIME CAMARA: "Kiki is Cristiano da Matta's nickname. He's a friend. All my thoughts are with him. We're praying every day for his recovery. I'm trying to give him some support with this sticker."
Denise Titus, R.N., received the 11th Championship Drivers Association award for contributions to the Indy Racing League "above and beyond the call of duty" during the annual Delphi IRL Safety Team dinner Aug. 12 at Marlboro Team Penske hospitality.
"It's not hard to give 100 percent to something you love," said Titus, who coordinates driver care and communication with families for IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series drivers who are injured at racing facilities.
Jeff Simmons honored the memory of sprint car driver Steve King by wearing a King T-shirt given to him on Ethanol Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. King, whose race car carried sponsorship from Team Ethanol, was fatally injured in an accident at the Knoxville Nationals on Wednesday.
MEIJER INDY 300 POST-RACE NOTES:
* This is Sam Hornish Jr.'s 18th career IndyCar Series victory, adding to his IndyCar Series record, and his fourth victory of the season. His last win came at Kansas Speedway in July.
* This is Marlboro Team Penske's eighth win this season and its 23rd win in the IndyCar Series. The team broke its tie with Andretti Green Racing for the winningest-team in the IndyCar Series. It is the team's first win at Kentucky Speedway in the IndyCar.
* Scott Dixon finished second, his seventh top-five finish of the season.
* Helio Castroneves finished third, his seventh top-five finish of the seaon
MEIJER INDY 300 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third): "I was really happy with the Marlboro Team Penske car today. It's been a long time since I raced that hard and I had a great time out there. I thought I had the fastest car today, but we'll have to take third this time. We might not have won this afternoon, but we're definitely right there in the Championship hunt. It's going to get very interesting over the next two races, so we just have to maintain our focus and make sure we're where we need to be in Chicago."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth): "The car was OK. We were just very slow, so we need to figure out what we have to do to be able to go quick. We need to work harder because we need more speed. We definitely need more speed."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, winner Meijer Indy 300): "The car was great. The team gave me awesome pit stops today. We were just trying to bide our time, make it to the end of the race to give ourselves that opportunity to win. This makes up a little bit for Michigan. We're real, real happy. We got our points lead back. We're going to keep moving forward and hopefully get out of here with the championship." (About being shuffled back to ninth in pit stops): "Helio and I decided to come in together so we could work together once we got back out there and draft together. Just one of those things, bad opportunity, but the way the cars were running we knew we'd be able to get back up there. Awesome car. The car handled great. Can't thank Marlboro Team Penske enough for this great opportunity." (About three-wide racing) "This track is a little bit different than the other 1.5-mile tracks that we run at considering it's been ground. So it's similar to Indianapolis the way it's got the little ridges on it, which you wear the tires a little bit more on the one hand, but Firestone brought us a really good tire where we can actually run past the fuel stint, but it gives the car more grip. This track, they made it as smooth as they possibly could. They did an awesome job with it. You can run anywhere from the bottom all the way to the top."
SCOTT DIXON: (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second): "Not too bad a day. The car seemed really strong early on, so we just sat back and saved fuel. It was pretty good at the end, but the other cars seemed to get stronger, or at least they came on at the end. I was pretty happy. The restart hurt us. I think we would have been able to hold them off for a bit, if we didn't have that yellow."
DAN WHELDON: (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth): "The boys did a fantastic job. The car went well, I just made a mistake. Performance wise, I thought we were the best out front. We just can't seem to close the deal. I just made a mistake." (About mistake on pit stop): "I'll tell you my mistake. I was going to pull into (Sam) Hornish's pit."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished seventh): "It was a good day overall. We qualified 17th, and we brought it to seventh, so I'm happy with that. I have to thank the guys. They did an unbelievable job on the pit stops. They've been working extremely hard, and it's definitely paid off now. I just have got to give credit to everybody on the team for working so hard for this. It was a great team effort to finish seventh today."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished ninth): "Unfortunately the car isn't fast enough at this point. Yesterday we thought the Klein Tools/Canadian Club car was fast but we definitely went backwards today. I think the change in conditions caught us out, but we really lost the pace we thought we had. It was a very frustrating day because of that. The only bright spot was the guys in the pits. They were absolutely dynamite. We're all working very hard but we deserve better at this point.
BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 10th): "Today was a fairly good day for the XM Satellite Radio team. We expect to be better than 10th place, but we held on and scored some solid points. The car was not very good in traffic but it got better as the track came to us. Today was a step in the right direction. The crew did such a good job in the pits and it was nice to run up front today.
DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent, finished eighth): "It was a tough day today and I certainly don't think my day was horrible. The car was pretty fast at the end, and that is a tribute to the guys, who worked really hard. We picked up a top-10 result, and I probably could have been a couple of spots higher, but I got chopped pretty bad late in the race. Actually, there were a lot of people driving desperate today. Sure, we intimidate each other, but there is a certain code, and today that was thrown out the window. Considering how bad things were at the end of warm-up, we have to be happy with this result. Again, I really have to give props to my guys, considering all the work they had to do to the car after Vitor (Meira) hit me during the warm-up."
The next IndyCar Series event is the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 27 at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast live by ESPN and broadcast by 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 www.indycar.com. ESPN2's coverage of the WAMZ 100 will be broadcast at The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Sonoma 100 doubleheader on Aug. 26 and 27 at Infineon Raceway.