Wheldon Repeats as Kansas Victor Almost a year to the day since he last visited Victory Circle, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon took advantage of teammate Scott Dixon's misfortune to win Sunday's Road Runner Turbo Indy 300,...
Wheldon Repeats as Kansas Victor
Almost a year to the day since he last visited Victory Circle, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon took advantage of teammate Scott Dixon's misfortune to win Sunday's Road Runner Turbo Indy 300, his second consecutive victory at Kansas Speedway and his first IndyCar Series win since last year's race here.
Dixon started from the pole and dominated the first three-quarters of today's 200-lap contest. But the Homestead-Miami Speedway race winner was caught in pit lane when the caution flag waved on Lap 153 for a crash involving former Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice. As a result, Dixon resumed in seventh place, at the tail end of the lead lap, when the green flag waved again on Lap 172.
Still the fastest car in the field, Dixon, the 2004 series champion passed the strong-running Andretti Green Racing entries of Marco Andretti and Hideki Mutoh, as well as the Team Penske cars of Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe, but could advance no higher in the final laps and finished third.
Wheldon, who also had a very fast machine and ran in the top three all day, assumed a lead he would not relinquish when Dixon pitted, holding off Tony Kanaan by just over two seconds at the checkers.
It was another successful race weekend for the Honda HI8R Indy V-8 engine, with a 2008 season-high 27 drivers running a total of 11,002 miles -- also a new race-weekend record for the year -- without failure throughout the weekend.
Following the lead trio came an exciting four-way battle to the finish as Andretti, Castroneves, Mutoh and Briscoe all swapped positions in the final five laps. At the line, it was Castroneves holding on to fourth by less than half a car length, with Mutoh right on his teammate's gearbox and Briscoe equally close behind. Newman Haas Lanigan Racing's Justin Wilson led the former Champ Car field in ninth, just behind A.J. Foyt IV.
A late pit stop for a splash of fuel -- the result of Ernesto Viso unintentionally blocking his pit stall earliere -- dropped Ed Carpenter to an unrepresentative 10th place finish. Also unlucky today were potential top-10 finisher Buddy Rice, who crashed due to suspension failure on Lap 153; and series returnee Tomas Scheckter, who challenged the leaders in the early laps until contact with Viso ended his race on Lap 96.
Dan Wheldon (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 2nd, finished 1st, his first victory of 2008, 14th career IndyCar Series win: "It was a fantastic weekend for everybody on the team. Scott [Dixon] was a bit unfortunate; he probably deserved a bit better than third place. Both of our cars were excellent today, it's just a shame Scott was in the pits when the yellow [Lap 153 caution] fell. It was a strong weekend for us, the car performed very well. It's difficult out there with the equality of the Honda engines, but we were getting good fuel mileage and that's what helped us win today."
Tony Kanaan (#11 Andretti Green Racing Honda) Started 11th, finished 2nd, has finished eighth or higher at every race this season: "After the day we had yesterday, when I think we put 10 laps on the car all day, this was a pretty good result. We got a little lucky at the end with Scott [Dixon's] misfortune on the yellow flag. I think we had a top-three car, but probably not a better car then either of the two Ganassi cars. So we'll be happy with this."
Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 1st, finished 3rd, led 145 of 200 laps: "I have to congratulate Dan [Wheldon] and the whole #10 side of the team; they had a great race today, a smart race. On our side, that's two weeks in a row now that we've lost the race by ourselves, and that's something we have to address. Still, it was a good result, coming from as far back late in the race as we did, and good points for the championship."