IRL: Watkins Glen: Honda race report

Dixon 'Three-Peats' at Watkins Glen For the third consecutive season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was unstoppable at Watkins Glen International Raceway, scoring his first IndyCar Series win of 2007 Sunday at the Watkins Glen Indy...

Dixon 'Three-Peats' at Watkins Glen

For the third consecutive season, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was unstoppable at Watkins Glen International Raceway, scoring his first IndyCar Series win of 2007 Sunday at the Watkins Glen Indy GP and closing his points gap to championship leader and third-place finisher Dario Franchitti.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Dixon shadowed and challenged early race leader Helio Castroneves for the first 19 laps, then took over at the front when Castroneves lost control and crashed without injury exiting the final turn of the 3.77-mile road course. Although several drivers gambled with alternative pit strategies mid-race, Dixon continued to have the quickest car on course, and reclaimed the lead for the second and final time on Lap 43 to take the checker just over six seconds ahead of Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr.

Dixon has now won all three IndyCar races to be held at 'The Glen'. He and teammate Dan Wheldon are the only drivers in IndyCar Series history to post three consecutive wins at the same circuit. Wheldon has won the last three races at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

It was another weekend of 100 per cent reliability for the Honda Indy V-8 engine, as the IndyCar Series completed the second road course event of the season, and the second of five consecutive races in a swing through the Midwest and East Coast.

For Hornish, today's result marks his best road-course performance in three seasons of IndyCar Series events with both right and left turns. Starting fifth, the defending series champion survived a bumping incident with Tony Kanaan on Lap 31 while the pair battled for position.

Kanaan also continued on after the contact, both cars running with wheel marks on their respective sidepods. After finishing fourth, Kanaan exchanged words with Hornish in Pit Lane, while IndyCar Series officials defused a scuffle involving members of their two teams.

One of those on alternative pit strategies, Marco Andretti finished fifth after leading nine laps, while Buddy Rice had his fourth consecutive strong race, running sixth for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Dan Wheldon overcame problems with the on-board jacking system to run seventh, and Kosuke Matsuura gained three positions from qualifying to finish eighth for Super Aguri Panther Racing.

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 2nd, finished 1st, first win of 2007, seventh career IndyCar victory: "This was a fantastic day for us. It was a bit of a rough race, with everyone on different fuel strategies it was very difficult in traffic. You were never sure if you needed to try as hard as possible to pass the car in front of you, or just be patient and wait for an opportunity. Then we had a few spots of rain at the end, and that was a bit nerve-wracking as well. But our car was bloody fast all day, we've had such good luck here over the years and the guys did a great job in the pits. We gained on Dario [Franchitti] in the [championship] points today, and that certainly helps as well."

Sam Hornish Jr. (#6 Team Penske Honda) Started 5th, finished 2nd , his career best IndyCar Series road-course finish: "I got a good run off Turn Five and got along side of him [Kanaan]. He started coming in but I was already up against the curb, so we bumped. But neither one of us spun, it was just hard racing. After the race we argued about it, and we probably both got a bit too loud. But it was a very physical race on a hot day, and tempers were up there."

Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "It was going to be tough for anyone to catch Scott Dixon today. He's had the dominant combination here all three years and the Target Chip Ganassi Team demonstrated it again today. Congratulations to them for a well-earned victory. And again, congratulations to all the associates at Honda Performance Development and our technical partners at Ilmor. It was another weekend of perfect reliability for us in our second road-course race of the season."

-credit: honda

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Marco Andretti , Kosuke Matsuura , Chip Ganassi , Robert Clark , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing