Dixon Dominates IRL Kan.

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-
 
mile) Indy."
 
 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
 
(lap 71-crash).

POINTS: POWER-190; Dixon-164; Castroneves-162; Hunter-
 
Reay-159; Franchitti-152; Wilson-137; Briscoe-132;
 
Kanaan-129; Meira-101; Wilson, Matos (tie)-98.

WFE/wfe
 
 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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