Indy – Dixon Wins and Closes Up On Will Power

August 8, 2011

Indy

Scott Dixon has won at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the odd-numbered years under INDYCAR sanction.

“I prefer every year,” he laughed in the spectator-packed Victory Circle, “we’ll work on that from now on.”

Winning a few more races this year could be beneficial, too, in challenging for the series championship.

Dixon overtook Target Chip Ganassi Dario Franchitti on a Lap 61 restart and went on to win the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio for the third time (adding to his 2007 and ’09 victories). It was the first victory of the season for the two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion, who started from the pole and led the most laps in the 85-lap race. It also was his 26th Indy car victory, tying Rodger Ward for 12th on the all-time list.

With the bonus points, Dixon closed to 31 points of Team Penske‘s Will Power for third place. Franchitti leads Power by 62 points heading into the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at the 1-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Four of the final six races are at tracks new to the series this season.

“Let’s be honest, Scott had one of those days,” Franchitti said. “He was in a different zip code today and deserved to win it. From the time we came here for the test (July 28) he’s been on a mission. Great job by the Target boys going 1-2. Good points day for us despite Will’s best efforts at the start to spin me around. We managed to get out of that and I think it was a great job in a tough race.”

Power, who started fourth, finished 14th after getting caught out twice by full-course cautions.

“We were making great fuel mileage and we were going to go a lap or two longer than the leaders on the second stop, which would have put us in great position to challenge for the race lead in the last stint,” said Power of the Lap 58 incident involving contact between the cars of Graham Rahal and Danica Patrick. “Basically, today we suffered for doing  a great job of driving a smart race. We just got caught out by that last yellow flag.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car and Takuma Sato finished a season-high fourth in the No. 5 KV Racing Technology-Lotus entry. Teammate Tony Kanaan advanced from 16th on the grid to finish fifth.

“Dario and I were about on the same pace trying to catch Scott, but Scott was just gone,” said Hunter-Reay, who earned his fourth top five of the season. “He had a great pace. I was quicker than Dario through some of the quicker corners, like 11 and 1, but he had me through every corner leading on to a passing zone.”

Dixon posted the best (unofficial) lap time during the July 28 test among 21 cars and was looking forward to competing again on the flowing 2.258-mile circuit. He’s had a rough go on road/street courses with four non-top 10s (including three of the first four races), which significantly put a dent in his title aspirations.

The remainder of the schedule is split between ovals and road/street courses.

“It was definitely nice for a change have a smooth weekend,” said Dixon, who also has two runner-up finishes on road/street courses this season. “I think throughout even practice and qualifying and things like that, the car was pretty close. We only had to make minor changes.

“I’m just excited for the team. Dario has obviously been doing a hell of a job this year, four wins and leading by too many points. So, for us to have a nice, smooth weekend with the pole and obviously going on to win the race was good for the 9 car side. Hopefully, we can carry on a bit of a trend and try to get back into the points chase, even though it’s a long ways away.”

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