(Laguna Seca, CA.) -- PacWest Racing's Scott Dixon won his fifth race of the season and took a firmer grip on the Dayton Indy Lights Championship in the Yahoo! Sports Monterey Challenge at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California today. Dixon,...
(Laguna Seca, CA.) -- PacWest Racing's Scott Dixon won his fifth race of the season and took a firmer grip on the Dayton Indy Lights Championship in the Yahoo! Sports Monterey Challenge at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California today.
Dixon, driver of the #17 Invensys/Powerware PacWest Lights entry, started second on the grid, but snatched the lead from Casey Mears with a fantastic move at turn one at the start of lap three.
The 20 year-old New Zealander survived three-yellow flag re-starts to beat Mears and Jeff Simmons to the checkered flag and give himself a 42-point buffer in the championship. He can now win the title if he improves his lead by just one point at next weekend's 10th round at the Gateway International Raceway in St Louis.
This season Dixon has won on street courses (Long Beach, Vancouver), ovals (Milwaukee, Chicago) and now a permanent road course (Laguna Seca). Dixon's win was the third consecutive victory at Laguna Seca for PacWest after Didier Andre won on the challenging 2.238-mile course in 1998 and 99.
Tony Renna, driver of the #18 Motorola PacWest Lights car, started fourth on the grid and drove a solid race to keep his position -- his fifth top-four finish in six races.
-- #17 INVENSYS/POWERWARE PACWEST LIGHTS -- 1st
"This win really helped us a lot in terms of the championship," said Dixon. "We were able to take the pressure off the team now and just concentrate on going for points. My car was a little loose at the start of the race, but overall is it was excellent. "Jeff Simmons and I made contact early, but it did not seem to hurt my car or my performance. My Invensys/Powerware crew did a great job all weekend and without their efforts we would not be in our current position. It would be nice to wrap-up the championship next weekend, but we won't be rushing things."
-- # 18 MOTOROLA PACWEST LIGHTS -- 4th
"I got pinned on the outside at the start and Felipe (Gaiffone) got around me, but I was able to get back by him at turn five on one of the re-starts," said Renna. "(Jonny) Kane put on pressure towards the end of the race, but we managed to hold him off. The car was a little loose in the high-speed stuff, which was the first time I had that all weekend. It is a strong confidence booster going into St Louis next weekend where we tested really well six weeks ago."
TOP 12: 1: Scott Dixon 1; 2: Casey Mears; 3: Jeff Simmons; 4: Tony Renna; 5: Jonny Kane; 6:Felipe Giaffone; 7: Luis Dias, 8: Jason Bright, 9: Andy Boss; 10: Mario Dominguez; 11: Rudy Junco; 12: Geoff Boss.
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1: Scott Dixon 134; 2: Townsend Bell 92; 3: Felipe Giaffone 91