Monday, July 28, 2008

INDYCAR: Dixon wins in Edmonton

EDMONTON, Alberta, Saturday, July 26, 2008 – Scott Dixon solidified his lead for the IndyCar Series championship with his fifth victory of the season, winning the Rexall Edmonton Indy by 5.9327 seconds over Helio Castroneves, who fell to 65 points behind in the standings with his sixth runner-up finish of the season.
Heading into a pit stop on Lap 51, Dixon radioed his crew to give him an extra push out of pit lane. That push got him out of the pits first and helped Dixon take the lead on Lap 62 when the field cycled through pit stops.
From that point, Dixon was dogged by Castroneves, maintaining a lead of less than a second until Castroneves missed the braking point heading into Turn 1 on Lap 86. The bobble by the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner allowed Dixon to stretch his lead to five seconds and cruise to victory over the final five laps.
Dixon is the fourth driver in IndyCar Series history to win five races in a season, one shy of the series record set by Dan Wheldon in 2005.
Justin Wilson, the winner at Edmonton in 2006, finished third, and Canadian Paul Tracy, who was making his first series start of the season, improved 11 positions to finish fourth.
Oriol Servia finished fifth, Ryan Briscoe sixth and Wheldon seventh.
Tony Kanaan, who started 27th after changing an engine, improved 18 positions to finish ninth.
This is Scott Dixon’s fifth victory of the season. He is the fourth driver in IndyCar Series history to win five races in a season. Dan Wheldon won six in 2005, Sam Hornish Jr. won five in 2002, and Tony Kanaan won five in 2007.
This is Dixon’s 11th top-five finish of the season.
This is the seventh win of the season for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The team has won 23 IndyCar Series races overall.
Helio Castroneves finished second for the sixth time this season. It is his 11th top-five finish of the season.
Justin Wilson finished a career-best third. His previous best was seventh at Milwaukee and Richmond.
Paul Tracy finished fourth in his first IndyCar Series race of the season.
Oriol Servia tied his career-best with a fifth-place finish. He also finished fifth at Richmond and Mid-Ohio.
Tony Kanaan improved a race-high 18 positions to finish ninth after starting 27th. Kanaan, Dixon and Castroneves are the only drivers with 11 top-10 finishes this season.
Darren Manning finished 10th, his fourth consecutive top-10 finish.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, first): “It's fantastic. I think at this point in the championship battle it's a must-have for Team Target. Helio (Castroneves) has been very strong in the last two races. He's been trying to chase us down, but we were able to make a small gain on him this weekend. At this point, I think a 65-point lead is pretty strong. We just have to keep on it for the next four races. We need to be consistent and continue to earn points. This win was definitely a turn for us in the championship.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, second): “When you're behind another driver, you're just short on tires. I was doing everything I could just to keep up. I was pushing and trying to put pressure on (Scott) Dixon with every lap, but he never made a mistake. I'm just going to keep working hard because it isn't over for Team Penske yet.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team, third): “Under the circumstances, we're very happy with today, and it's great to put the McDonald's car in the top three. We've had the capability of doing that on many occasions but something has always gone wrong. Today's race was very eventful, but we were able to stay clean out there. We knew when to back off and we knew when to push, and that's why we're here.” (What did you say to Paul Tracy when you got out of the car?): "I talked to him and told him, 'Not bad for an old guy.' It was good racing. I've always enjoyed racing with Paul. I know a lot of people have had problems with him, but I've always enjoyed it because he races hard, but fair. I don't mind going wheel to wheel with him.”
PAUL TRACY (No. 22 Subway/Vision, fourth): “I could hear the pit, but they couldn’t hear me. I just did everything that they said. We couldn’t make any changes to the car, so what I had I had to stick with. We did a couple of hand signals for tire pressure up or down under yellow, so I couldn’t really optimize the car. At the end, I had to save a lot of fuel to make it to the end. I’m just super-excited for the team. They prepared this car in about a week and a half, and I gave it a first-class effort for the sponsor. With a little more practice and me not sitting on the couch for the last six months, maybe we could do better.”
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, fifth): “It was just one of those races. The KV Racing Technology car was as good, if not better than any car out there, but the race just didn’t go our way. We had a couple of issues on the pits stops and lost some places, but the car was good enough to pick them back up on track. Then I was racing with Dan Wheldon, and Marco (Andretti) came out of the pits and he parked it in the chicane. I tried to slow down, Wheldon braked hard, but had nowhere to go and I hit him really hard. I broke the front wing, but the car didn’t lose too much lap time. It was just the last two laps, the steering arm started to break, and on the last lap it completely broke. So, in a way we were unlucky, but lucky to finish at all. We still managed to get some good points for the championship, but it was disappointing because we had a car to battle with whoever we wanted today.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, sixth): “It was a bit of a frustrating day because I think we had a podium-finishing car. Early in the race Helio (Castroneves) was a bit faster and got by me, and then it was just between the two Team Penske cars. The fuel strategy came into play a bit, and by mid-race we ended up getting shuffled back in the pack because a lot of the slower guys stayed out. Then on a restart, (Dan) Wheldon went three-wide with (Ed) Carpenter, and they came sliding down and put me into a spin. That was really unfortunate because up until that point I was having a real solid race. Once again, Roger (Penske) worked his strategy and we were able to make up some spots, pass some cars and end up with a sixth-place finish. I guess, all things considered, sixth place was a good result. We picked up some points and were able to solidify fifth place in the championship.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, ninth): “I’m disappointed with our finish. The Team 7-Eleven/Frank’s Energy Drink car was one of the three-quickest cars on track. However, considering that we started last, we were able to gain positions and still get some important points. This is a very physical track, but the fan support was great, and I look forward to coming back next year.”
 From the Indy Racing League

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