Scott Dixon beats Ryan Briscoe in Milwaukee
Dario Franchitti finished third and Graham Rahal was fourth.
Danica Patrick backed up her third place in Indy with an excellent 5th Sunday.
Briscoe dominated the race, leading 154 laps after passing Tony Kanaan on Lap 26. But Briscoe got caught up in lapped traffic on the tight circuit, and Dixon seized the opportunity, passing for the lead on Lap 201 of the 225-lap event.
The successful move reversed the finishing order for the pair from last year's race, when Briscoe prevailed over Dixon for his first IndyCar win. In today's race, Briscoe led more than triple the laps of his combined rivals, but was briefly boxed in as he came up to lap the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car of Tomas Scheckter.
That gave Dixon all the opportunity he needed, and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver was through in an instant, going low to pass both Briscoe and Scheckter in a single move. From there, Dixon opened up as much as a three-second lead in the final two dozen laps, before taking the checkers a comfortable 2.2 seconds ahead of Briscoe.
"I was trying to get the flow of traffic the whole day," said Dixon, who won earlier this season on the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas Speedway. "I definitely think from the start our car was better. We could run quick times when we needed to, and we were good in traffic. We had many runs on (Ryan) Briscoe, and he kind of blocked a lot and that was kind of frustrating early on, but he definitely got caught up there with (Tomas) Scheckter trying to take him on the bottom, and I got a great run on the high side and it just lined up perfect."
Although Briscoe led most of the race, he took getting beat like a man.
"It was a great race. Scott (Dixon) was just a little bit better than me at the end there. He got me in traffic. I was struggling with a little bit of understeer, and whenever I'd get on the inside I'd really lose my momentum. Great job by Scott. He was there all day long and took the opportunity to pass me when I got slowed up. It was a great effort by Team Penske today. My pit stops were awesome. I don't think I've lost a spot this year in the pits yet, so it's a great credit to Team Penske."
Dixon holds a four-point advantage over Briscoe and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti.
Just behind the lead pair was Dixon's teammate, Dario Franchitti, who used a quick pit stop on Lap 135 to vault past both Briscoe and Dixon to take the lead, only to be briefly balked by a slower car on Lap 154 and fall back to third, where he finished.
Taking "playing with pain" to a new level, Tony Kanaan took the lead at the start of today's 225-lap contest, despite suffering from numerous soft-tissue injuries sustained in his high-speed crash at last week's Indianapolis 500. Kanaan led a total of 25 laps and looked like a potential race winner until a fuel leak caused a brief fire aboard his Andretti Green Racing entry, ending his day on Lap 132.
Following the lead trio home, Graham Rahal challenged early in the race before fading slightly after the last round of pit stops, to finish fourth. Danica Patrick followed up her third-place finish at Indy with fifth today, moving her to a career-high fourth in the drivers' championship standings. Raphael Matos rounded out the top six and was the top rookie finisher for Luczo Dragon Racing.
Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves finished 11th after starting 20th.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, first): "I was trying to get the flow of traffic the whole day. I definitely think from the start our car was better. We could run quick times when we needed to, and we were good in traffic. We had many runs on (Ryan) Briscoe, and he kind of blocked a lot and that was kind of frustrating early on, but he definitely got caught up there with (Tomas) Scheckter trying to take him on the bottom, and I got a great run on the high side and it just lined up perfect. That's the struggle at this track - getting through the traffic."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, second): "It was a great race. Scott (Dixon) was just a little bit better than me at the end there. He got me in traffic. I was struggling with a little bit of understeer, and whenever I'd get on the inside I'd really lose my momentum. Great job by Scott. He was there all day long and took the opportunity to pass me when I got slowed up. It was a great effort by Team Penske today. My pit stops were awesome. I don't think I've lost a spot this year in the pits yet, so it's a great credit to Team Penske."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 TOM TOM, third): "The hard thing was lapped cars. It was traffic, it was timing your passes right. My guys did a great job and got me out in the lead on the green flag (pit) stop. Then I just mistimed a pass, someone took my air off and that was it - back to third again. I really tried hard to pass (Ryan) Briscoe at the end, but again, when he was taking my air there was nothing I can do. It was a tough day. The Milwaukee Mile produces close racing and you're really fighting that lapped traffic all day."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team, fourth): "It was good to bring the McDonald's car home. Obviously, that was the goal. We finished fourth, and we're really happy with that, but we're obviously still disappointed because we thought the McDonald's car was the one to beat this weekend. When you're so close, it's disappointing not to do it. On the last restart, we had five lapped cars between us, and that's really the decider because it's hard to get around them. By the time we got around them, we were seven seconds behind the lead pack. We had a good pace and we made up some of that, but you're not going to be able to make up all of that being a tenth-of-a-second faster a lap. I think we absolutely had the car to challenge the best today. We had a killer vibration at the end that hurt us a little bit, but we caught those guys - of course they were in traffic some, too. Even the last couple of clear laps, we were still quicker than them. We definitely had the pace. I don't think there was anyone quicker than we were. At the start, I was being super patient and super cautious, and of course that's when those guys got by me. And after that we held our own. I can think of three or four opportunities I had to go underneath (Ryan) Briscoe and Dixie (Scott Dixon) and Dario (Franchitti), and I lifted every time just because it was early (in the race). I didn't foresee that with six laps to go there was going to be so many lapped cars between us."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola, fifth): "It was pretty consistent over the run. I think everybody went off to some degree out there, but I don't think we went off as much as most. So many times you go, 'OK, this is the last stop. We're going to get out and just blister it the whole way.' But I figured there was a full stint left, so I have to take care of the car. I just took it easy. I knew I wasn't over-hustling the car at the beginning, and I could see some other cars were definitely pushing it. So I thought this was going to come to me a little bit, and it did."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Marines Luczo Dragon Racing, sixth): "It was a very important result for us. At Indianapolis, we had a really good run and we crashed at the end. The whole team worked really hard putting the car back together. I have to give all the credit to my team. The Luczo Dragon crew did an amazing job all month long - Indy and here at Milwaukee. I had a car that ran flawless all weekend long. I want to dedicate this result to all the servicemen and women, especially the ones from the Marines and the Air Force. They fight for our freedom and our safety, and I'm very proud to carry their logo on my car."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy, seventh): "The No. 26 car was strong today, and it's a shame we weren't able to show it with a higher finish. We got caught up in some traffic near the end and were boxed in. I definitely think we were capable of a top-five finish. The Venom boys did a great job all day, and I'm looking forward to Texas next weekend."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream, eighth): "It's a good result for the Formula Dream crew, and we scored some points for the championship. The car felt good, and everyone is working really hard, it's just that we need some luck on the track and in the pits. I'm excited for Texas and hope we have a great race next weekend."
MARIO MORAES (No. 5 KV Racing Technology/Votorantim, ninth): "My first two stints of the race, the KV Racing Technology car went loose and I found it hard to run behind the other cars. The KVRT pit crew did a great job making changes during the pit stops, but I still had some trouble running in traffic. Overall, the race went pretty well. This is my best finish on an oval, and I want to thank my entire crew for all their hard work."
Winner's average speed: 138.784 mph
Time of race: 1:38:43.9552
Margin of victory: 2.1257 seconds
Cautions: 2 caution flags for 22 laps
Lead changes: 5 among 4 drivers
Lap leaders: Kanaan 1-25, Briscoe 26-132, Dixon 133-134, Franchitti 135-153, Briscoe 154-200, Dixon 201-225.
Point standings: Dixon 161, Briscoe 157, Franchitti 157, Patrick 139, Castroneves 136, Wheldon 126, Kanaan 122, Rahal 114, Andretti 109, Hunter-Reay 102.
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