Dixon crashes at Gateway, title stillup for grabs

(Madison, Il) -- PacWest Racing's Scott Dixon had his Dayton Indy Lights Championship lead reduced to 20 points after crashing out of round 10 at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison Illinois today. The 20 year-old New Zealander went...

(Madison, Il) -- PacWest Racing's Scott Dixon had his Dayton Indy Lights Championship lead reduced to 20 points after crashing out of round 10 at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison Illinois today.

The 20 year-old New Zealander went into the round with a 42-point advantage and could have wrapped-up PacWest Racing's first title by increasing his advantage by just two points.

Dixon, driver of the #17 Invensys/Powerware PacWest Lights entry, started second on the grid and had settled into position two behind pole winner Townsend Bell for the first 18 laps. On lap 19 Dixon lost the rear end of his car going into turn three and hit the wall heavily, causing the car to catch on fire. Dixon managed to climb out of the car and was released from CART medical uninjured after a short observation. Prior the accident Dixon had completed all but one lap in the championship this season.

Bell, Dixon's nearest rival, did his part to keep the championship alive by winning pole (1 point), the race (20) and by leading the most laps (1 point). He won the race from Casey Mears and Australian Jason Bright to give Dorricott Racing a 1-2-3 finish.

Dixon leads with the championship with 134 points from Bell 114, Mears (107), Felipe Giaffone (97) and Bright (91) with races in Houston (October 1) and Fontana (October 29) still remaining.

Tony Renna, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Lights car, started eighth on the grid and picked his way through the field to finish fourth. It was Renna's sixth top-four finish in seven races and moved him into sixth place in the championship with two rounds remaining.

TONY RENNA -- # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST LIGHTS -- 4th

"I had a good start to the race and managed to pick-up some early spots," said Renna.

"After Scott's accident I hesitated slightly on the re-start and lost a couple of spots. Fortunately I was able to get them back to finish fourth. I had to be careful as I made my way through the traffic because I had a difficult under steer.

"My Motorola crew did a great job all weekend to keep me in the top four."

SCOTT DIXON -- #17 INVENSYS/POWERWARE PACWEST LIGHTS -- DNF

"My car had a lot of under steer from the start," said Dixon.

"My accident was kind of strange because there was no contact with any other cars when my car stepped out on me a little at turn three. I was able to save it, but I still had to make my turn into three. When I started to turn, the back end completely stepped out and I contacted the wall. I'm fine, but I just feel bad for my Invensys/Powerware crew because they worked so hard all week. We'll just look forward to Houston now and try to get back some of the points we lost today."

TOP 12: 1: Townsend Bell; 2: Casey Mears; 3: Jason Bright; 4: Tony Renna; 5: Chris Menninga; 6: Mario Dominguez; 7: Felipe Giaffone; 8: Rodolfo Lavin; 9: Jonny Kane; 10: Rolando Quintanilla; 11: Rudy Junco; 12: Geoff Boss.

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1: Scott Dixon 134; 2: Townsend Bell 114; 3: Casey Mears 107; 4: Felipe Giaffone 97; 5: Jason Bright 91; 6: Tony Renna 88; 7: Jeff Simmons 78; 8: Mario Dominguez 66; 9: Jonny Kane 49; 10: Chris Menninga 47; 11: Geoff Boss; 12: Rodolfo Lavin 30.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Chris Menninga , Townsend Bell , Mario Dominguez , Rolando Quintanilla , Jonny Kane , Rodolfo Lavin , Tony Renna , Jason Bright , Jeff Simmons , Geoff Boss , Rudy Junco