August 5, 2012
Dixon wins Honda Indy 200
By DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency
Is it just me or is the IZOD IndyCar Series racing this season looking more like Formula One racing that ever before?
I certainly don’t mean performance wise, but actual on track racing where on Sunday in the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course there was a caution free event for the second consecutive time and where the race was won — and lost — on pit road.
It was Scott Dixon who beat Will Power out of the pits by a tenth of a second to take the lead, and the win, in the final stint of a two-stop strategy for the No. 9 Target Ganassi Racing Honda.
Power and the No. 12 Penske Racing Chevrolet had dominated the 85-lap race around the 13-turn, 3.634-km permanent road course until that final pit stop.
Dixon said he knew that the last stop would be the deciding one on this afternoon, and that it was going to be a two-team race to the finish.
“I knew we were probably the last two people to pit,” he said. “I knew I was going to have an open pit. And I knew Will was right in front of me.”
Adding to the drama was that at Mid-Ohio the pit boxes are extremely close together and Dixon’s and Power’s boxes where right in front of one another.
“It’s the hardest pit boxes we have throughout the whole season,” Dixon said. “To try to get a car in when the person behind you have their tires are laid out, it’s very difficult to get close to hitting the marks, let alone trying to do it quickly.
“So I had an open pit, slid it in there; I stopped before (Power) even got to his. And the guys did a fantastic stop with getting the power plugged in as quick as possible and getting the tires changed and it just worked out we were a split second quicker and off we went.
Power, too, knew that the last stop would determine his fate in spite of his significant advantage to that point in the race.
“I had to get around his guys to get in my box,” Power said. “That really slowed up my entryway. He had a clean in. And my fueler has to kind of stand back as my front wing swings around.
“That combination made for a slower start, and that’s where he got us.”
That is an all-to-often heard refrain at F-1 races this, and most, seasons.
The biggest loser at Mid-Ohio had to be Ryan Hunter-Reay who went into the race with the championship lead only top see it disappear when the engine of his No. 28 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet soured and then gave up late in the race resulting in a 24th place finish.
“It’s disappointing to start the day with a 23-point lead and leave in second place, but we’ll get over this quick,” he said. “There’s a lot of racing still to go.”
On the good news side of the ledger Canadian James Hinchcliffe claimed back into the top five with a fifth-place finish in the No. 27 Andretti Chevrolet.
It comes after a pair of disappointing results in Toronto and Edmonton.
“I think that may have been the toughest race of the year,” Hinchcliffe said. “We had planned from the start to pit early — and to be the best of the cars on three-stop strategy is great — we knew that was our only way to try and move forward today, especially going all green in a way, it almost worked out really well for us.”
With his win at Pocono in the Sprint Cup Series, Jeff Gordon moved to 13th in the championship and second in the wild-card position for the Chase. ... The legendary Nurburgring Circuit in German has received a $315-million US loan guarantee from the Rhineland-Palatinate’s state legislature to make improvements to the track and to make sure it stays on the F-1 Grand Prix calendar for next season ... In the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway Saturday night, Elliott Sadler won in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet after being black flagged a week earlier at Indianapolis. Danica Patrick finished 10th.
Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon put himself and the No. 24 Chevrolet team right back into the Chase picture with a win at the rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
Gordon, who won before in the rain at Pocono, had not led a single green flag lap until a wreck involving then race leader Jimmie Johnson and second place Matt Kenseth on that restart on Lap 91 of the 160 lap race allowed him to take the lead.
Shortly after that the skies opened and rain soaked the track.
The victory was Gordon’s first of the season and the 86th of his career.
“I’ve never seen the seas part like that,” Gordon said.
Kasey Kahne was second, with Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart rounding out the top five. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 32nd after his transmission failed but kept his lead in the standings by five points over Kenseth.
IZOD Indy Car Series
Scott Dixon won at the Honda Indy 200 for the fourth time at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday in the No. 9 Target Ganassi Racing Honda.
Will Power took over the championship points lead by finishing second in the No. 12 Penske Racing Chevrolet after pre-race leader Ryan Hunter-Reay experienced engine problems in the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.
Power now leads Hunter-Reay by a slim five points with three races left in the 2012 season.
Simon Pagenaud was surprise third place finisher in the No. 77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Honda and Sebastien Bourdais was fourth in the No. 2 Dragon Racing Chevrolet.
Canadians James Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani finished fifth and 10th respectively.