IRL: Mid-Ohio: Honda race report

Charging Dixon Scores Third Consecutive IndyCar Win Scott Dixon tied an IndyCar Series record and futher closed on the championship points lead with his third consecutive victory of 2007 in Sunday's Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports...

Charging Dixon Scores Third Consecutive IndyCar Win

Scott Dixon tied an IndyCar Series record and futher closed on the championship points lead with his third consecutive victory of 2007 in Sunday's Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Today's victory, following wins at Watkins Glen and Nashville SuperSpeedway in the two previous weeks, ties the IndyCar mark of three consecutive victories previously recorded by Kenny Brack in 1998 and Dan Wheldon in 2005.

It also moved Dixon to within 24 points of series leader Dario Franchitti, who continued his own string of strong results with his fifth consecutive top-three finish.

After qualifying on the outside of the third row in sixth position, Dixon successfully dodged a mult-car accident at the start involving Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti, with the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver moving all the way up to second in the process. Andretti was eliminated in the slow roll that resulted from the contact between the three Andretti Green Racing entries, but both Kanaan and Patrick would recover for top-five finishes.

Dixon followed early leader Helio Castroneves for the first 29 laps, then began trading the lead with Castroneves and Kanaan, who was running an alternative fuel strategy to gain track position. As the majority of the field made the second of its three scheduled pit stops, Kanaan stayed out and built up a 10-second lead prior to his own final stop on Lap 60. But the advantage was not enough, as Kanaan resumed in sixth place and ultimately placed fourth, just behind Castroneves at the finish.

Teammate Franchitti tried a similar tactic, with slightly better results. The Indianapolis 500 winner built up a 16.2-second lead as he stretched his final pit stop to Lap 76, but resumed in second behind Dixon, who ran his own series of qualifying-speed laps to take the lead for the final nine laps, taking the checkers just over two and a half seconds ahead of Franchitti.

After falling back to ninth in the opening-lap incident, Danica Patrick climbed back to a fifth place finish, her IndyCar career-best road course finish. Driving for a resurgent A.J. Foyt Racing, Darren Manning completed the top six with his best road course result of 2007. In a strong debut with Rahal Letterman Racing, Ryan Hunter-Reay finished seventh in his first IndyCar Series race.

Today's event completed a swing of IndyCar races on five consecutive race weekends, including two road courses, two short ovals and one super speedway. After a one-week break, the series resumes with its final five races over six weekends, starting with the Michigan Indy 400 on August 5.

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 6th, finished 1st, third consecutive victory in 2007, ninth career IndyCar victory: "It was a tough race, which we expected, and there was a lot of strategy involved and I've been talking to [team manager] Mike Hull all day. But this is exactly what we have to do to make this a championship fight, we have to put as much pressure as possible on Dario [Franchitti] at every race. We're slowly reeling them in, but Dario's driving incredibly well, too, and they've been extremely consistent all year long. It was great to see all the fans out there today. I couldn't believe the amount of people out here today. The hills were just packed. It's fantastic."

Dario Franchitti (#27 Andretti Green Racing Honda) Started 5th, finished 2nd , holds a 24-point lead in the IndyCar Series championship points standings: "It was a good race for us, but unfortunately 'Dixie' [Scott Dixon] was ahead of us. He drove a great race, and I know it's going to be a fight to the finish for the championship between us. From here on out, every race is important. I had to check up [brake] at the start to avoid collecting [teammate] Tony [Kanaan], and that's when Scott and several others got by me. We played catch-up all day after that. Our pit strategy certainly helped, thanks to [team manager John] 'Ando' [Anderson]. That was a great call. But Scott and his team just did a heck of a job today. We'll need to work harder to beat them in the future."

Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "What a great event today! I want to thank all the fans and everyone involved in putting on the race weekend. Honda loves racing. It's a core part of our culture and we want everyone to love it like we do. Congratulations to Scott Dixon and the entire Target Chip Ganassi Racing team. They're making a strong championship run and I believe the title fight is going to go until the final race at Chicagoland. Once again, it was a weekend of perfect reliability for the Honda Indy V8 engine, and that always is our first goal. Finally, I want to offer a special thanks to all of the Honda associates, dealers, suppliers, friends and family members who came out to Mid-Ohio this weekend. We were overwhelmed with their response and enthusiasm. It makes all our hard efforts worthwhile."

-credit: honda racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull , A.J. Foyt , Robert Clark , Danica Patrick
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing