Dixon Uses Late Pass to Win Motorola Indy 300
SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 26, 2007) - Scott Dixon continued his mastery of road courses this season by taking the victory on Sunday at Infineon Raceway in the Motorola Indy 300, presented by Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel.
Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi) passed leader Dario Franchitti (Andretti Green Racing) at Turn 3 on lap 72 and held on for the checkered flag in the 80-lap feature over the 12-turn, 2.26-mile road course.
The performance gave Dixon a sweep of the three races this season on permanent road courses, the other wins coming at Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen (N.Y.). The victory also vaulted him into first place in the IndyCar driver points standings with just two races remaining.
"It means a lot to me to sweep the road courses; it's a hell of an accomplishment," said Dixon, who won his first IndyCar title in 2003. "The team has been a massive part of me getting these victories. ... For me and my little record book and how I feel about it, it's a tremendous accomplishment but I owe a lot to the team."
Dixon was followed by Helio Castroneves (Team Penske), Franchitti, Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing) and Sam Hornish Jr. (Team Penske). Danica Patrick (Andretti Green Racing), who started on the front row, placed sixth.
Dixon now leads the standings with 560 points and is followed by Franchitti (556), Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing, 498) and Dan Wheldon (Target Chip Ganassi, 414).
It was a frustrating day for Franchitti, who suffered damage to the front of his car after an incident with teammate Marco Andretti on lap 69. Andretti was leaving the pits and heading up to Turn 2 when the two cars touched. The damaged enabled Dixon to make the pass on Franchitti on lap 72.
"Marco was out there trying to win the race, and we were trying to win a championship. He had his priorities and I had mine," said Franchitti, who is seeking his first-ever IndyCar title. "I'd really like to take a look at the accident and talk to him before talking about it. Right now I only have my side and he has his side, I guess.
"(Team owner) Michael (Andretti) is in an awkward position, I guess, being a team owner and a father. Sometimes he doesn't have as clear a view as he should have as a team owner, maybe. Like I said, I'm trying my hardest to win a championship right now for Andretti Green Racing, and I'll leave it at that."
Said Marco Andretti: "I gave racing room and I was hoping (Franchitti) would race me clean. I hate to think he'd do anything intentional."
The victory served as a bit of payback for Dixon, who started on the pole in Sonoma in 2006, but settled for a fourth-place finish after a mishap on pit road. He has finished either first or second in nine of 15 races run this season.
"I think after last year, we had a bit of unfinished business," Dixon said. "Our car was strong, and I think we deserved to win last year. All of it's good, positive stuff, we just have to try to build on it and move forward with it."
The series moves on to Belle Island (Mich.) this coming weekend (Sept. 2), followed by the season finale Sept. 9 in Chicago.
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