Franchitti Edges Power at Mid-Ohio The two main players in the fight for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship battled throughout Sunday's Honda Indy 200, but at the checkers, after 85 laps around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it was Dario...
Franchitti Edges Power at Mid-Ohio
The two main players in the fight for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Championship battled throughout Sunday's Honda Indy 200, but at the checkers, after 85 laps around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it was Dario Franchitti prevailing by the narrow margin of just 52 hundredths of a second over Will Power.
Franchitti's second victory of the season moves him to within 41 points of Power, who has scored all four of his wins this year at road and street course events. However, just one more road course remains this season, which wraps up with four consecutive oval track events. Power has yet to win on an oval, while Franchitti has multiple victories in his 14-season open-wheel racing career.
The victory today was decided in the first round of pit stops on Lap 25, when Franchitti's Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew gave him fresh tires and a full load of fuel just a tick of the stopwatch more quickly than Team Penske could perform the same service for Power. Although Franchitti emerged from the pits in third - behind an out-of-sequence Alex Tagliani and Tony Kanaan - he was ahead of Power and would remain there for the rest of the day.
At the second round of stops, on Lap 60, Franchitti again emerged from the pits ahead of Power and - with Tagliani and Kanaan no longer threats to win - led his championship rival to the finish.
For the 12th consecutive race weekend in 2010, all 27 drivers completed this weekend's event without a failure of the Honda Indy V-8 engine, as drivers and teams logged a total of 9,720 trouble-free miles around the classic, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio circuit.
Tagliani led a race-high 30 laps after pitting on Lap 22 in a move designed to get him out of heavy mid-pack traffic. Just one lap after he pitted, the first full-course caution flag of the day came out, moving Tagliani to the front of the field when everyone else made their first stops. Once at the front, "Tags" demonstrated he had the pace to maintain that advantage, and as a result dropped only a few positions during the final round of stops. He finished fourth, the best result for his new-for-2010 FAZZT Race Team.
Three other drivers - two rookies and a sophomore - also scored their best results of this season. In his second year with de Ferran Dragon Racing, Raphael Matos charged from 10th to seventh in the closing laps, just ahead of Simona de Silvestro, with an eighth-place run for the small HVM Racing squad. Another rookie, Bertrand Baguette, recorded his best IndyCar finish with an 11th place effort.
The IZOD IndyCar Series will take a one-week break, then head west to Infineon Raceway, just north of San Francisco, to conclude the road-racing portion of the schedule at the August 22 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 2nd, finished 1st, 2nd IZOD IndyCar Series win of 2010, 25th career open-wheel win, all with Honda: "I'm quite surprised, and really happy, to have reached 25 victories. The final pit stop was critical. Will [Power] and I were very evenly matched on pace and I'm not sure I would have had any more luck passing him today than he had trying to pass me. It's not over yet, there are still a lot of races to run, and we'll keep fighting on for the championship. Sonoma is next, and we won there last year, so that gives us a bit of an edge heading out there."
Will Power (#12 Team Penske Honda) started 1st, finished 2nd, clinches the Mario Andretti Trophy for most championship points scored on road/street circuits in 2010: "It's fantastic, this is a really good day for us. Mario [Andretti] is one of the top racers of all time, so to win the road-racing championship is a huge honor. But we're focused on the overall championship, and there's still quite a ways to go in the season. He [Franchitti] got us in the pits ^a and we just couldn't get him back. He made no mistakes all day. We're still at the top, but Dario's closing, so we have to stay focused, working hard and improving."
Steve Eriksen (Assistat Vice President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "It was a great weekend for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with Dario's landmark 25th open-wheel victory adding to his total as Honda's most successful open-wheel racer, and tying in nicely with his triumph earlier this year in the Indianapolis 500, [which was] Honda's 100th IZOD IndyCar Series win. It was exciting to see a promising new team like FAZZT live up to its name, leading the majority of the race, and great to see talented newcomers like Raphael Matos and Simona de Silvestro have top-eight finishes. With our nearby auto assembly plants and R&D facility, Mid-Ohio is a "home" race for many Honda associates and it looked like a lot of them were in attendance today and enjoying the racing."
-source: honda racing