|Date: 5/3/2010 11:51:37 PM|
Dixon Dominates IRL Kan.
By Walter Elliott
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Scott Dixon and the Target Chip
Ganassi Racing team, after their victorious performance
here in the IRL Kansas Speedway Road Runner Turbo Indy
300 Saturday night, would like to think they have
the winning momentum going into the 94th Running of
the Indianapolis 500.
Dixon took over the lead from Ganassi racing teammate
Dario Franchitti on lap 51 and had no need to look back.
The No. 9 Dallara-Honda driver went on to lead the
remaining 167 laps and win his 23rd career Indy car victory
by 3.0528 sec. over Franchitti. It is the New Zealander's
second straight victory on the banked 1.52-mile oval and
the fourth straight here for Ganassi.
"We've had a slow start to this season," said Dixon, "but
now we have the momentum we need going into Indy."
Dixon was referring to Team Penske's Will Power and
Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay winning this season's
first three races. Hunter-Reay, who ended up fifth among
22 finishers, scored his highest oval track finish in an IRL
IZOD Indy Car Series race.
Penske's Ryan Briscoe led the first 31 laps from the pole
but had a longer than planned pit stop. Briscoe lost his right
front wheel on lap 78, however, and hung on to sixth place
as the last lead lap finisher. Penskemates Helio Castroneves
finished fourth - after Tony Kanaan demoted him from third
on the last lap - and Power 12th.
"We had nothing for Ganassi's drivers and that worries me,"
said defending 500 winner Castroneves. "The good thing is
that there's little from a 1.5-mile track that applies to (2.5-
Exeriencing backmarker traffic, however, may one of the
lessons the 27 starters may apply at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. Franchitti, for example, said he was thwarted
from ousting Dixon by lapped cars, on the race's fourth and
final restart on lap 193.
That caution period was triggered when Takuma Sato, on
his first oval speedway, and Hideki Mutoh collided while both
were running fifth and sixth on lap 187. Mutoh said that "an
orange car" had drifted up into him and both Japanese
drivers had nowhere else to go in the fourth turn.
Venezuelan fans also came away from Kansas Speedway
with few results. E.J. Viso and Milka Duno hit the wall on
laps 71 and 84.
IZOD Indy Car Series rookie Jay Howard, running for Sarah
Fisher Racing, completed the wall hits on lap 172. Five
drivers failed to finish the 300 miler. The four caustions
slowed the pace for 33 laps.
Kanaan, who passed 11 cars into third place, Sato's
abbreviated run and Hunter-Reay's placing were not the
only high performers. John Andretti, who won the 1990
CART Surfers Paradise GP, brought his Richard
Petty/Andretti Autosports No. 43 car home ninth.
Andretti and Fisher, who took over Graham Rahal's No. 67
for a 17th place finish, were among those who shook off
racing cobwebs in the Indy 500 prelude.
Power remains atop the IZOD series' points standings by 26
markers over Dixon.
FINISH (Running Unless Otherwise Noted): SCOTT DIXON,
Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Ryan
Hunter-Reay, Ryan Briscoe, Mario Moares, Alex Tagliani,
John Andretti, Vitor Meira, Danica Patrick, Will Power, Marco
Andretti, Mike Conway, Dan Wheldon, Raphael Matos, Sarah
Fisher, Justin Wilson, Alex Lloyd (R), Bertrand Baguette (R),
Simona de Silvestro (R), Mario Romancini (R); (DNF) Hideki
Mutoh and Takuma Sato (R) (lap 186-collision), Jay Howard
(R) (lap 172-crash), Milka Duno (lap 84-crash), E.J. Viso
POINTS: POWER-190; Dixon-164; Castroneves-162; Hunter-
Reay-159; Franchitti-152; Wilson-137; Briscoe-132;
Kanaan-129; Meira-101; Wilson, Matos (tie)-98.
KANSAS KLIPPINGS: IRL CEO Randy Bernard announced
April 28 that drivers will be competing for oval and rad
course championships as well as the overall IZOD Indy Car
Series crown. The road course champ is to be announced
after the last road race of the season at Infenion Raceway
in Sonoma Calif. . . Kansas Speedway and ISC officials were
among those who broke ground on the track's $386 million
casino project April 30. The Hollywood Casino at Kansas
Speedway is to have a racing theme. . . . The IRL round
may be moved to late June or July pending on whether
NASCAR awards Kansas Speedway with a second Sprint Cup
date as early as 2011.
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