Dixon holds off Power at Mid-Ohio
Dixon, starting fourth, controlled the gap to Power at around 3 seconds all the way to the flag in the caution free Honda Indy 200. It is the second straight IndyCar race to run caution free and in 1983, 1984 and 1985, Mid-Ohio Indy car races went caution free. It was the first back-to-back caution free races since CART in 1987 when at Laguna Seca Bobby Rahal won and then at Miami-Tamiami Park Michael Andretti won.
Simon Pagenaud came home third ahead of Sebastian Bourdais and James Hinchcliffe. It was Pagenaud's third podium finish of the season. With countryman Sebastien Bourdais' best finish of the season in fourth, it was a banner day for the French.
"That's funny, I thought about it during the race," Pagenaud said. "I thought, `We're doing pretty well this weekend."'
It was Dixon's fourth win at Mid-Ohio and he ties Rick Mears for 10th on the all-time IndyCar win list with 29. He previously won in 2007, 2009 and 2011. It was Dixon's 2nd win of the season; Won at Belle Isle earlier this season.
This is a season to forget for Dario Franchitti. The winner of the past three IndyCar seasons added to his 2012 woes in Sunday’s race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course by running into the back of James Hinchcliffe.
The contact broke the front wing of the No. 10 Ganassi Racing machine, another humbling experience for this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner.
“I just made a mistake,” Franchitti said in a quiet voice on pit road. “I drove into the back of Hinchcliffe; I misjudged the nose of the car.”
That’s twice this season for that miscue, the other last month in Toronto.
“Screwed up from there,” he said of this race. “Up until that point we were struggling to make the fuel mileage.”
Franchitti finished 17th, falling 108 points behind series leader Will Power, the runner-up the past two seasons. Franchitti's morning warm-up session included a spin against the tire barrier due to a wet track.
Power, who picked up three bonus points for winning the pole and leading the most laps, regained the points lead heading into the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 26 as front-runner Ryan Hunter-Reay was running sixth but started to fall through the field midway through the quick race with an engine issue and finished 24th.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 26 at the raceway in Sonoma. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM Channel 94 (XM) and 211 (Sirius).
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "These are such tight pit boxes here and he (Dixon) had a clean in. We had a tight in so some of that was me getting in. It's hard for the fuel to get in clean because he has to step back from my front wing to swing in. Still it's a very good points day. We're happy to get the Verizon car on the podium. We'll keep chasing after it, we'll get a win here soon and keep going after that championship."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "I didn't think he (Bourdais) would be that close actually on the braking but I went in really deep and he couldn't make it so it was just enough. We were close on fuel. I was saving heaps of fuel on that last stint to finish the race. The car was so good the reds (tires). It was just awesome. It was a really good race, so thanks the HP guys. We made a big, big step forward this weekend and it will be good for Sonoma."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "It was a really good run. The car was really fast. There was a lot of fuel saving, but we're pulling it off. I think we could have dared it a little bit more. Both times we could have made it a lot further, and I think that would have been the hot ticket. But, you don't want to be the last one out there if they pull out the yellow and close the pits for any reason. That was a good race, the car was good. We needed the points finish. As much as I wanted to be on the podium, we will take P4 any day."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): "That was probably the toughest race of the year running flat out every lap at this track. I think I had more fun than anyone but (Scott) Dixon. It was like a qualifying lap every lap. We ran some good lap times and I'm just happy to bounce back after what happened in qualifying (qualified 16th)."
GIORGIO PANTANO (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "I want to thank the whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew because they just gave me a perfect car today. Unfortunately, I need to learn more about the car. I think I need to shake out a few things but I did as much as I could today."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "I'm disappointed we didn't finish in the top-10 or get a top-five, but overall the Service Central guys worked really hard and I'm glad to bring the No. 38 Honda home in one piece. Today we didn't make any mistakes and it feels good. It was definitely a tough race - very physical. I certainly pushed very hard to catch the guys in front of us, but we lost too much time in some of the traffic. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the finish."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "I am pretty happy even though we didn't get the result we wanted. The car was decent. We had the pace of the front pack and with the strategy we had, without question, we could have finished in the top-seven or eight. I am happy for Tony (Kanaan) that he was able to make it to the front. We were pretty much racing together. Unfortunately, I was penalized for a pit speed violation and I got a drive through penalty. It was a tough race and without any yellow flags we never got the opportunity to recover the gap to the pack I was running with. I think we learned a lot this race, so in that way it was very useful and now it is on to the next one,"
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO-PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I am pretty happy even though we didn't get the result we wanted. The car was decent. We had the pace of the front pack and with the strategy we had, without question, we could have finished in the top-seven or eight. I am happy for Tony (Kanaan) that he was able to make it to the front. We were pretty much racing together. Unfortunately, I was penalized for a pit speed violation and I got a drive through penalty. It was a tough race and without any yellow flags we never got the opportunity to recover the gap to the pack I was running with. I think we learned a lot this race, so in that way it was very useful and now it is on to the next one,"
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics- KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I am very happy with today's result. The car was very good in the race. We went with a three stop strategy and despite no yellow flags we made it work. It was a very physical race with no cautions. Now we have to build on this over the last few races."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): ""We did a lot of work for very little reward today. We got unlucky with our strategy. That's really all that hindered us today. I thought we had a very strong car and we turned out really strong laps. Unfortunately we just couldn't seal the deal at the end because we had to pit for more fuel when the leaders stayed out."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Wow, another green to checkered run today. It makes for long races for us. Qualifying at the back (of the field) is difficult for anyone to move up without a yellow or two. We were off pace in qualifying but our pace was much better in the race. We were able to run some pretty consistent laps in the middle of the race. There was a difference between the red tires and the black Firestones today. We are encouraged that our race pace was better. I think I need to do a better job in qualifying. We need to start up in the field better. These cars are more durable and the attrition rate isn't as high now as in previous years. I was surprised there was no full course yellow period, especially in the early laps. But you can bang on each other with these cars and get away with it. So qualifying badly doesn't make for a lot of chances to improve in the race. We did learn some things today that we can put to use at Sonoma in a few weeks."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): ""We were positioned pretty well just past halfway. We were catching the leaders while still taking easy and saving fuel. I think we were a third-place car at the worst. Then, the engine just started losing power and it just gradually got worse the longer we tried to run. It finally just gave up there at the end. It died a slow death." (About points): ""It's disappointing to start the day with a 23-point lead and leave in second place, but we'll get over this quick. There's a lot of racing still to go, and the only thing we can do is dig deep and move on. I think it's going to be a good championship fight, but you can't have any more days like this. I'm confident we're going to be right in it until the finish - it's certainly do-able for us to win it all."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): ""My car was pretty good in the middle of the race on (Firestone) Reds. We lost some track position at the start of the race on the used Red tires. Because of all the rain, the track was really green at the start, and I think the new Reds were the ticket on a green track. The second half of the race, we were really able to do some decent lap times, and we pushed hard to get by (Ryan) Briscoe. But, with three laps to go, I had to back off to save fuel and we came up a bit short. He caught me perfect on the last lap- he was able to push all-out - and he was able to get by."
DARIO FRANCHITI (No. 10 GE Reveal Honda): "It's a tough day for the GE car. Obviously, it's great that Scott won in the Target car but I just made a mistake. I drove into the back of Hinchcliffe. I just misjudged how long the nose of the car was. It's totally my mistake. We had to come in and change it. So that was really our day. I think up until that we were struggling a little bit to make fuel mileage but at the end of the day it's my fault."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet): ""We had a pretty solid day in the PPG car and getting Marco there on the last lap to get seventh made for a decent finish. With the fuel saving strategy, which the Chevy engine did a great job of, it made for a strange race. Overall it goes back to the first lap where we got out of the top five and shuffled back a few positions and we did what we could from there to make it a good day."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "The Penske Truck Rental boys did a great job with the pit stops today. Certainly it was a day where we ended up taking a big hit in our race for the championship as starting in the back with an engine change created a big challenge. But we need to just keep going and hopefully we can have a strong race out in Sonoma."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "It was a tough race. It was a big weekend for us and everyone really worked hard but unfortunately we didn't have the pace that we needed. We started with good balance in the stint. It looks like such a narrow window for the sweet spot. It looked a little better in the middle stint but we lost the grip in the end. We overtook a couple of people but also lost some places. In the end we got a couple of positions but it was not enough. I look forward to the Sonoma test so we can get a better understanding of the road course configuration."
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