DIXON TIES INDYCAR SERIES RECORD WITH THIRD-STRAIGHT WIN LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sunday, July 22, 2007 -- Scott Dixon gained ground on IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti by winning the inaugural Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield...
DIXON TIES INDYCAR SERIES RECORD WITH THIRD-STRAIGHT WIN
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sunday, July 22, 2007 -- Scott Dixon gained ground on IndyCar Series points leader Dario Franchitti by winning the inaugural Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance.
Unfortunately for the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who tied a series record with his third consecutive victory, Franchitti was the runner-up. Dixon, who started sixth in the 85-lap race, inherited the lead when Franchitti had to take on fuel with nine laps remaining. A sprint around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn course ensued, with Dixon prevailing by 2.6917 seconds. Dixon was celebrating his 27th birthday.
Pole sitter Helio Castroneves finished third and Tony Kanaan fourth. Danica Patrick, who started on the front row, rebounded from a Lap 1 incident in which her No. 7 Team Motorola car was sent off-course by Kanaan's car that had spun to finish fifth. The No. 26 car driven by Marco Andretti also was involved in the incident, winding up on its top. Andretti was not injured.
Darren Manning finished sixth. Ryan Hunter-Reay, making his IndyCar Series debut in the No. 17 Team Ethanol car for Rahal Letterman Racing, advanced three positions to finish seventh.
HONDA 200 AT MID-OHIO POST-RACE NOTES:
* This is Scott Dixon's third consecutive IndyCar Series win and the ninth win of his IndyCar Series career. Dixon ties the record that Kenny Brack (1998) and Dan Wheldon (2005) share for consecutive IndyCar Series victories.
* This is Target Chip Ganassi Racing's 15th win in the IndyCar Series.
* Dario Franchitti finished second, his 11th consecutive top-five finish and 12th consecutive top-10 finish.
* Helio Castroneves finished third, his fourth top-five finish this season.
* Tony Kanaan finished fourth, his eighth top-five finish this season.
* Danica Patrick finished fifth, her best finish on a road/street course, and her third top-five finish in the last six races.
* Ryan Hunter-Reay finished seventh in his debut race with Rahal-Letterman Racing.
HONDA 200 AT MID-OHIO POST-RACE QUOTES:
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, winner Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio): ""I was a little frustrated after the second or third stop when Helio (Castroneves) jumped us. We soon found out why, he just didn't put in as much fuel as we did. The guys in the pits have been fantastic throughout the season. They've really made my races a lot easier. It was a tough race. The first stint was about saving fuel. I could tell Helio was doing it. We just saved a little bit more to do an extra lap. The second or third stint was so flat out I couldn't believe it. It was like qualifying every lap just trying to hang on. It was a tough day but a great day for the championship." (About three wins in a row and closing in on the points lead): "It's been fantastic. We're just trying to close in. That's the problem with Dario (Franchitti), he's just so consistent. When we're winning, he's in the top three. It would have been nice if he would have had a fourth of fifth today and we could have really closed in. We're closing in on this championship. We've got five races to go now, and we'll see what we can do." (About a salute from the fans at the end): "That was fantastic. I couldn't believe the amount of people here today. The hills were just packed with people. It was great to see. Even on my pace lap before the race even started, I got on the radio and said, 'You guys should be on the back here and Turn 4.' I couldn't believe how many people were here."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second): "We finished in second place but unfortunately (Scott) Dixon was in front of us again. He really drove a great race and Helio (Castroneves) as well. We were really pushing each other the whole time, pushing as much as our cars would allow. It was a hell of a battle out there. I don't know. We're loosing it somewhere. I know it's going to be a fight until the end for the championship, but I wasn't expecting anything else. We'll just keep pushing the Canadian Club car each week and we'll work on it. We kind of messed up there on the start because we had Dixie (Scott Dixon) covered but then Danica (Patrick) spun and Tony (Kanaan) spun avoiding her then Marco (Andretti) got involved. I had to check up to avoid getting wiped out by Tony and that was a lot of the race right there."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third): "We didn't have the strongest car, but I was driving the wheels off it. It's just a shame that Dixon beat us in the pits, but that's the way it is. I made the call to pit early, and TC (Tim Cindric) thought it was the right decision. There is no resting in this race. We're pushing all of the time, which is fun. Third place is not what we wanted but we're coming back from a lot of bad results, so third looks really nice."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth): (About Lap 1 incident): "There was nothing I could do. Danica (Patrick) appeared to be sliding. She had a loose moment in front of me. I hit the brakes to avoid her and spun. Unfortunately, I took Marco (Andretti) out in the process. It's just unfortunate. I felt so bad for Marco because he had nothing to do with it. Actually, Marco turned me back straight and then he rolled over. I feel bad about it, and unfortunately, it happened between us. It's really disappointing for the 7-Eleven team. Eric Cowdin (race engineer) gave me a great race car today. George (Klotz) (team manager) did a great job calling the race and the guys in the pits were awesome. We had a great car today, capable of winning, and it's unfortunate."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth): "I got into Turn 1 -- or 4 as it would be called on the track -- and slid just a little at mid-corner and then felt that I had been tapped. It's always tough coming into the first turn carrying the speed we were. Helio (Castroneves) really jumped the start pretty well. He gunned it out of the last corner and never looked back when they threw the green. We approached Turn 1 flat out. We got some people in the pits and then after that I was able to pick off people one by one."
DARREN MANNING (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Honda/ Firestone, finished sixth): "It was good. I caught (Sam) Hornish (Jr.) in Turn 1, then slipped through that melee and followed Dixie (Scott Dixon). It was good running up front. We were cautious on our fuel strategy and that kind of hurt us on the first stop. We pitted a lap early and those guys got ahead of me, and I caught up to them but I couldn't get around them. We still have a lot of potential with this car, and we're close on speed right now. We have a good starting point on the road courses and we can build from here."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/ Firestone, finished seventh): "It felt great. The first time out in these cars with no testing and to finish in the top seven feels like a win for me. We had a couple of fluky things happen in practice and the Ethanol team showed amazing tenacity, we kept after it, we didn't do anything cute, we had good pace and ran well. It was a satisfying day for us."
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished eighth): "It was OK today. Obviously we expected more. I think our car was faster than what we showed. We've just got some things that we need to get a little bit better on. We didn't necessarily have a top-five car, but we could have been a couple spots further up. We'll go fix it and try and get ready for Sonoma in a couple of weeks."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished ninth): "First, I've just got to thank my guys, who gave me some really great pit stops today. That really made the difference. I'm thrilled for the team that we could finally finish back into the top 10 again before our weekend off. We really needed to get some momentum this weekend, and I think we found a little bit today. Hopefully, we can build off of that at Michigan."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 14th): "The Team Penske car was working very well at the beginning of the race. But since it's so hard to pass here, we were just following (Dario) Franchitti and trying to save fuel so that we could try to stay out a little longer and avoid the big rush in the pits during the second round of stops, and I just lost my concentration momentarily and spun off course. Unfortunately, my mistake put us a lap down, and laps are virtually impossible to get back on road courses. I feel bad for the crew because they gave me a great car. Hopefully, they'll do the same for me in a couple of weeks in Michigan, and I'll be able to turn in a better result."
The next IndyCar Series event is the Firestone Indy 400 at Noon on Aug. 5 at Michigan International Speedway. The race will be televised live by ESPN2 and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Indy Pro Series event is the Kentucky 100 on Aug.11 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be broadcast at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 16. ESPN2's coverage of the Mid-Ohio 100 will be televised by ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. on July 26.