Laguna Seca race report

MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 10, 2000) - Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) all but clinched the Dayton Indy Lights Championship title with his fifth win of the season Sunday in the Yahoo! Sports Monterey Challenge at Laguna Seca ...

MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 10, 2000) - Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) all but clinched the Dayton Indy Lights Championship title with his fifth win of the season Sunday in the Yahoo! Sports Monterey Challenge at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Starting second on the grid, Dixon passed pole-sitter Casey Mears in Turn One on lap three and held the lead for the remainder of the 34-lap race. Dixon crossed the finish line 2.885 seconds ahead of Mears while rookie Jeff Simmons (KOOL Lola) finished third. Dixon averaged 88.088 mph for the 76.092 mile race that was completed in 51:11.041 seconds.

Dixon now has a 42-point lead in the championship heading into Round 10 of the twelve race Dayton Indy Lights series next weekend at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. If he leaves that race 44 points ahead of the competition - the maximum points available to a driver in the year's final two races - the 20-year-old New Zealander will clinch the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship title. Dixon, this year's only multi-race winner, also has the edge in championship tiebreakers that are decided by total number of race wins in the season. With only three races remaining, no other driver can equal Dixon's five-race win total.

Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola), Dixon's closest challenger, failed to score points at Laguna Seca but holds second in the championship with 92 points. Bell was uninjured when he hit the Turn Two wall on lap 14 after contact with Derek Higgins (Mexpro/PrecioBase.com Lola) to bring out the second of the race's three caution periods. The first caution was for debris after Turn One contact between debuting rookie Waldemar Coronas (Carusi/Astro/Webshipper.com Lola) and Rodolfo Lavin (Corona/Modelo Lola) while the final yellow flag was for the stalled race car of Rolando Quintanilla (Telmex/Prodigy Internet Lola). All but Bell were able to continue after the incidents to finish the race.

Dixon's teammate Tony Renna (Motorola/PacWest Lights Lola) finished fourth while Jonny Kane scored his best result since winning Round Three at Detroit in June with a fifth-place finish.

Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Lola) finished sixth and is tied for third in the championship with Mears with 91 points.

<pre> Light Look - Top Five Light Look -Top Five Points 1. Scott Dixon 1. Scott Dixon 134 2. Casey Mears 2. Townsend Bell (R) 92 3. Jeff Simmons (R) 3. Felipe Giaffone 91 4. Tony Renna 4. Casey Mears 91 5. Jonny Kane 5. Jeff Simmons (R) 78

Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) - "This race really helped us toward a championship. My car was a little loose at the start of the race. I had some contact with Jeff (Simmons) but it didn't appear to affect my car. The win allows us now to concentrate on being consistent the rest of the year, and building points instead to having to worry about winning. My crew did an amazing job this weekend, and I couldn't have done it without them."

Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) - "Scott was faster at the start of the race. I had a problem with my car bottoming out with the full fuel load. I also had too much front brake bias. It caused me to enter (Turn One) too deep and I locked up the brakes. That was my initial problem and Scott took advantage. Once my fuel load lightened and I got my brake bias back, I ran faster laps."

Jeff Simmons (Team KOOL Green Lola) - "I had too much oversteer in some of the corners. I was following Casey (Mears) and a couple of times he got a wheel off and I was able to close in on him, but once he stopped making mistakes, I fell back. When Townsend (Bell) went out, who is my main competitor for rookie of the year, I didn't want to make any mistakes and settled in for the end."

Special Awards

Dayton Tire Awards: Andy Boss receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Boss improved five positions to finish in ninth place. Jeff Simmons receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Dayton Rookie Award recipient as the highest finishing first-year driver. Casey Mears receives a pair of Dayton Daytona racing tires as the fast qualifier.

MCI Worldcom Fast Pace Award: Scott Dixon receives the $1,000 MCI WorldCom Fast Pace Award for his fast lap of 1:17.234 seconds (104.317 mph) on lap 29.

Nation's Cup: United States leads the Nation's Cut with 140 points, but New Zealand has closed the gap with 134 points. Brazil sits in third with 91 poiints.

Racing for Kids Award: Scott Dixon wins the Racing for Kids Award of $500. An additional $1,500 will be presented to a local children's hospital in Scott's name.

Television

The Laguna Seca Dayton Indy Lights Championship race was shown live today but will be encore telecast will air on ESPN2 on Sept. 13th at 5:00 a.m. ET (2:00 a.m. PT)

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Townsend Bell , Derek Higgins , Jonny Kane , Rodolfo Lavin , Waldemar Coronas , Tony Renna , Jeff Simmons