Chicago Race Report

Dixon Wins First as Dorricott-Mears Seals Title at Mi-Jack 100 of Chicago CICERO, Ill. (Aug. 22) - Top rookie Scott Dixon (Speedbet/Diagem Lola) won his first PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship race Sunday in The Mi-Jack 100 of Chicago at the...

Dixon Wins First as Dorricott-Mears Seals Title at Mi-Jack 100 of Chicago

CICERO, Ill. (Aug. 22) - Top rookie Scott Dixon (Speedbet/Diagem Lola) won his first PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship race Sunday in The Mi-Jack 100 of Chicago at the new Chicago Motor Speedway as the Dorricott-Mears Racing trio of points-leading drivers locked up the team's first championship by mathematically eliminating all rivals.

Dixon is the third driver of the 1999 season to sweep an Indy Lights event and he averaged 117.938 mph while leading each of the race's 97 laps on the 1.029-mile Chicago oval from the pole (142.922 mph/25.919 seconds). The 19-year-old New Zealander earned $24,000 - including $3,000 in Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo win from the pole bonuses - for his narrow victory over a rapidly closing Guy Smith (Swift Caravans Lola) by .362 of a second.

Casey Mears (Sooner Trailer/American Racing Custom Wheels Lola) finished third, the first driver across the line from the Dorricott-Mears team which will see one of its three drivers win the 1999 championship within the course of the year's final two races at Laguna Seca Raceway and California Speedway. Despite the fact that the teams' three-time 1999 winner Philipp Peter (Remus/Red Bull/ESTEBE Lola) struggled through the weekend to a disappointing 12th place finish, points leader Oriol Servia (Catalonia/RACC/Elf Lola) finished fourth to ensure the first Indy Lights title for Dorricott-Mears. Servia's total of 124 points is more than 44 points clear - the maximum a driver can earn in the year's final two races - of every driver in the series except his teammates. Mears trails Servia by 18 points at 106 while Peter has 93 points. Servia can clinch the crown if he leaves Round 11 at Laguna Seca next month 22 points ahead of his teammates.

Dixon, meanwhile, has jumped to sixth in the championship and taken a commanding lead in the Rookie of the Year battle with 72 points. His nearest rookie challenger is Mario Dominguez (Herdez/Quaker "Viva Mexico" Lola) who finished fifth in the Mi-Jack 100. His teammate Derek Higgins finished sixth, just ahead of Ben Collins, Felipe Giaffone, Jonny Kane and Chris Menninga who rounded out the top 10.

Sunday's race was slowed by three caution periods including a non-contact spin by Airton Dare on the opening race lap. Other cautions came when Andy Boss and David Pook each hit the wall in separate incidents. Neither driver was injured.

Light Look - Top Five           Light Look - Top Five Points
1.      Scott Dixon             1.      Oriol Servia    124
2.      Guy Smith               2.      Casey Mears     106
3.      Casey Mears             3.      Philipp Peter   93
4.      Oriol Servia            4.      Felipe Giaffone 78
5.      Mario Dominguez         5.      Derek Higgins   76

Television Coverage - Tonight!

Sunday's Mi-Jack 100 of Chicago will be telecast twice on cable sports network ESPN2. The first airing of the one-hour show will be at 12:00 midnight CDT, August 23, which is late Sunday evening (10:0 p.m PDT on Sunday; 1:00 a.m. EDT early Monday). An encore airing will be shown on Thursday, August 26, at 1:30 a.m. CDT (2:30 a.m. EDT and 11:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, August 25).

Post-Race Quotes

- Scott Dixon, #3 Diagem/Speedbet Lola (first career Indy Lights victory) "My car was great. It was quite comfortable, especially at the start. It changed a fair amount during the race but I was able to control most of it with the weight jacker. The last lap was very intense, though. Guy definitely had a better car than I did at that point."

- Guy Smith, #6 Forsythe Championship Racing Lola (second place) "I really struggled in the first few laps and Casey [Mears] is simply awesome on oval starts. He just came from nowhere and there was nothing I could do. Later he seemed to get a little loose, though, and I was able to get back by him. Once the tires were warm my car was quite good and I could run a bit quicker than Scott until I got within a car length or two. Then the aerodynamics would get upset and I just had to hope he'd get loose or lose some time in traffic. He protected the inside pretty well on the last lap so I tried the only place he gave me but I just couldn't get it done."

- Casey Mears, #30 Sooner Trailer/American Racing Wheels Lola (third) "We've been catching up all weekend. We really missed the set-up from the start. We finally got the car where it would run fairly good by myself but it was horrible in traffic. I knew I'd have to get a good start and good restarts to have any hope. On the start, everything went just right for me. But these guys [Dixon and Smith] were just awesome today. I couldn't really run with them."

- Oriol Servia, #32 Catalonia/RACC/Elf Lola (fourth) "My race finish was just fine. It kept me in the lead and it eliminated other drivers outside of Dorricott-Mears Racing from being able to catch me in the final two races. I don't see much of a gap ever occurring between me and my teammates. We share information and we function as a team in the purest sense."

Special Awards

- Dayton Tire Awards: Philipp Peter receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Peter improved six positions to finish 12th. Mario Dominguez receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Dayton Rookie Award recipient. Scott Dixon receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the top qualifier.

- Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Awards: Scott Dixon receives $1,000 for earning his first career Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Pole Award. Dixon also receives an additional $3,000 as the Win From The Pole bonus. This is the third time this year the Win From The Pole bonus has been claimed. The Win From The Pole bonus now reverts to $1,000 for Round 11 at Laguna Seca Raceway.

- Nation's Cup: Casey Mears' podium finish puts the United States back into the undisputed lead in the Nations Cup with 134 points. Brazil lags nine points back, just one point ahead of Spain.

- MCI WorldCom Fast Pace Award: Guy Smith receives the $1,000 MCIWORLDCOM Fast Pace Award for his fast lap of 141.654 mph (26.151 seconds) on lap 79.

- Bosch Platinum+4 Speedway Challenge: With one race remaining in the winner-take-all Speedway Challenge, Casey Mears holds a 13 point lead over his teammate Oriol Servia.

- Racing For Kids Driver Performance Award: Scott Dixon is the Racing For Kids Performance Award winner. Dixon receives $500 and a $1,500 donation will be made in his name to a Children's Hospital. After three Racing For Kids rounds, Oriol Servia leads Casey Mears and Derek Higgins.

Next Event

The next event on the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship schedule is Sunday, September 12 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Guy Smith , Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Airton Daré , Scott Dixon , Oriol Servia , Chris Menninga , Derek Higgins , Mario Dominguez , Jonny Kane , Ben Collins , Philipp Peter