(Houston, Texas) -- The Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be decided in the last race of the year in Fontana California on October 29, after PacWest Racing's Scott Dixon crashed out of today's penultimate round on the streets of Houston, ...
(Houston, Texas) -- The Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be decided in the last race of the year in Fontana California on October 29, after PacWest Racing's Scott Dixon crashed out of today's penultimate round on the streets of Houston, Texas.
Dixon, driver of the #17 Invensys/Powerware PacWest Lights entry, was left with "nowhere to go" when he crashed into the stationary cars of Jonny Kane and Derek Higgins on lap 20 -- Australian Jason Bright joined the trio to see four of the race's leading cars eliminated early.
Kane had a mechanical problem and dumped oil all over the track before spinning into a tire barrier -- Higgins, Dixon and Bright then joined the pile-up, allegedly because no caution flags were flown to indicate a problem at that turn.
Dixon will now be left to fight out a three-way race to the championship with Dorricott Racing's Casey Mears and Townsend Bell who finished 1-2 ahead of Felipe Giaffone today. Dixon, a 20 year-old from New Zealand, now has just a four-point lead in the championship, after having a 42-point advantage just two race ago.
Tony Renna, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Lights car, had his own problems early in the race when he was hit in the left-hand side by Rudy Junco on lap one. Renna continued until lap 17, but was then forced to pit because a hole in his left side pod had caused both water and oil overheating.
Renna had unstrapped himself from the car, but decided to go back out after the four-car accident automatically put him in 12th place. The Motorola team worked frantically to repair the hole in the side pod and Renna rejoined the field and eventually finished 10th and in the points.
TONY RENNA -- # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST LIGHTS -- 10th "It was not pretty, but we got some points, said Renna. "After we got hit by Junco my car started overheating, water and oil. We finally got the temperatures cooled off when I came into the pits, but after the four-car crash on lap 20 we decided to go back out and gather some points. It was a tough way to get them, but we got them."
SCOTT DIXON -- #17 INVENSYS/POWERWARE PACWEST LIGHTS -- DNF "There was oil all over the track from Kane's car and no caution flags were flying in that corner at all," said Dixon. "We did not know there was a problem and ended up skidding right through the turn and into the tires. Basically my car was not very good to begin with and we were loose all day. It is too bad that we have to go to Fontana to decide the championship, but we are up for the challenge."
TOP 12: 1: Casey Mears; 2: Townsend Bell; 3 Felipe Giaffone; 4: Geoff Boss; 5: Chris Menninga; 6: Rodolfo Lavin; 7: Luiz Diaz; 8: Rolando Quintanilla; 9: Andy Boss; 10: Tony Renna; 11: Jeff Simmons; 12: Mario Dominguez.
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1: Scott Dixon 134; 2: Townsend Bell 130; 3: Casey Mears 129; 4: Felipe Giaffone 111; 5: Jason Bright 91; 6: Tony Renna 91; 7: Jeff Simmons 80; 8: Mario Dominguez 67; 9: Chris Menninga 57; Jonny Kane 49 10.