Texas Motor Speedway
Dario Franchitti held off Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon by 0.0527 of a second to win the first of the Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway.
Franchitti, who started second in the No. 10 Huggies car, overtook pole sitter Alex Tagliani before Lap 1 was complete and earned the two bonus points for leading the most laps plus the 25 points (half points) for the victory.
Twenty-eight cars took the green flag for a Lap 104 double-file restart following a Lap 94 incident involving the Nos. 83 and 99 cars of Charlie Kimball and Wade Cunningham, respectively, in Turn 4. Neither were injured. Up to that point, the race was on pace to be the quickest in IZOD IndyCar Series history.
Franchitti led Dixon by 0.0800 of a second and the closing Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car by 0.1312 of a second after Lap 109. Dixon attempted moves to the high side and inside on the final two laps, but Franchitti's car was hugging the bottom of the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval.
"What can I say about that one? From the first lap I was able to get in the lead, and the biggest problem was fighting through traffic," said Franchitti, who moved into ninth on the all-time Indy car racing victory list with 28 (breaking a tie with Johnny Rutherford and one behind Rick Mears).
Franchitti started 28th in the second race as all 30 drivers selected their position by blind draw (turning a Firestone Firehawk tire with corresponding number on the back side).
Power finished third and Tagliani was fourth in the No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
"It's tough when cars on are bottom and have new tires, but I didn't try to (pass Franchitti) until the last lap," Dixon said. "Dario's car, the Huggies car, is quick and was the class of the field. The race just blows by. It's hard to keep count how many laps are left."
The margin of victory was the fourth-closest at Texas Motor Speedway (15 of 22 races have been decided by less than a second).
Takuma Sato recorded a career-best fifth place on an oval in the No. 5 KV Racing Technology-Lotus car.
"It's a great feeling," said Sato, who earned his highest starting position on an oval a day earlier. "I mean last year we had so much drama, and finally, finally, we've got something that we wanted. It was a very exciting race, with a lot two-wide and sometimes three-wide racing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it."
Ryan Briscoe finished sixth in the No. 6 IZOD Team Penske car, while E.J. Viso posted a season-high seventh in the No. 59 PDVSA KV Racing Technology-Lotus car. Vitor Meira, driving the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing, earned his 10th top-10 finish in 11 races at Texas, and Graham Rahal finished ninth in the No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car for his third consecutive top 10. Helio Castroneves was 10th in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske car.
The drivers drew for their starting position for the 114-lap Race 2. Tony Kanaan, who finished 11th in Race 1, drew the pole position for Race 2. He'll start next to Cunningham.