|Scott Dixon won the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course yesterday. The race offered very little in the way of excitement. (AFP)
TORONTO - So-called experts can whine all day long about how awful the IZOD IndyCar races were in Toronto and Edmonton this past month, but here is betting that real race fans enjoyed them a lot more than the parade that passed itself off as a race Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Certainly the Honda Indy Toronto and the Edmonton Indy saw a whole lot of broken carbon fiber as drivers fought — literally — for every inch of track at Exhibition Place and Edmonton City Airport.
What the pair of Canadian races lacked in artistry, however, they made up for in excitement.
The only excitement over the final 20 or so laps on Sunday at the Lexington, Ohio, road course was how big the margin would be between Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Ganassi Racing Dallara and his second place teammate Dario Franchitti.
The race was won — as is almost always the case at permanent road courses — on the final pit stop where Franchitti lucked out by getting in just before a full course yellow closed the pits for championship contender Will Power.
Franchitti came out in front of Dixon, but dutifully moved over for his faster teammate giving Ganassi a 1-2 podium finish.
Good race by Alex Tagliani, who raced under the cloud of a probation for his aggressiveness at Toronto and Edmonton.
He tangled with fellow Canadian James Hinchcliffe early — but it wasn’t his fault.
Tagliani brought the No. 77
Sam Schmidt Motorsports machine home sixth.
Hinchcliffe looked as if he could get a podium finish — he led for 26 laps — but a mistake after a re-start on Lap 61 saw the 24-year-old Oakville native spin in his No. 06 Sprott sponsored Newman-Haas Racing Dallara put him at the back of the grid, from which he could not recover.
He eventually finished 20th.
Teammates battle in Iowa
Ricky Stenhouse had to battle Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards right to the finish line at Iowa Speedway and even then the pair crashed when Edwards rammed into the rear of Stenhouse’s No. 6 Ford to push him to victory in the U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday.
The finish line was only about 200 meters away when Edwards caught a rapidly slowing Stenhouse who had blown an engine coming out of Turn 4 at the Iowa short track oval.
Edwards wasn’t attempting to help his teammate. In fact, he said afterwards that he was trying to get around the wounded No. 6 when his No. 60 Ford ran across some oil on the track.
“That put me right into him,” Edwards said.
Stenhouse confessed that when he realized he lost his engine the only way he could win was to block Edwards on the front stretch.
“If he wouldn’t have hit us, we definitely would have ended up second,” Stenhouse said.
Wilson injures vertebrae
In what first appeared to be a minor incident on Saturday, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson fractured a vertebrae in his back in free practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car track.
Wilson, 33, who drives the No. 22 Dallara for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, wide at Turn 1, went on to the grass where his car then crossed an access road, bottoming out, causing Wilson to sustain an anterior compression fracture of the fifth thoracic vertebrae.
Frenchman Simon Pagenaud stepped in for Wilson in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200.
Sorel, Que., native Maryeve Dufault finished 12th Sunday — after starting 27th — in the Pennsylvania ARCA 125 at Pocono Raceway. Next up for Dufault will be her NASCAR Nationwide debut in the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal Aug. 20 ... Right after Edwards finalized his multi-year contract with Roush-Fenway racing to stay in the No. 99 Ford, Juan Pablo Montoya announced he has reached a deal in principle to stay behind the wheel of the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet ... The second most relieved person to see Edwards re-sign with RFR had to be Joey Logano, who appeared to be the odd-man out if Edwards had accepted a reported $18-million US per year deal to jump into the No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing.