|Scott Dixon celebrates win|
Scott Dixon won the Bombardier Learjet 550k under caution after the cars driven by Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact with five laps remaining.
Helio Castroneves finished second and his Team Penske teammate, Ryan Briscoe, was third. Dan Wheldon, who started 11th in his backup car, finished fourth and Tony Kanaan improved eight positions to fifth.
As Andretti and Hunter-Reay were competing on the backstretch for second place, the left tires of Hunter-Reay's No. 17 Ethanol car got on the racetrack apron and it slid up the track into Andretti's car.
Hunter-Reay had eventual race winner Scott Dixon in his sights with nine laps to go after passing Ryan Briscoe and Marco Andretti, but when Andretti came back at Hunter-Reay, the two got together in Turn Three and crashed heavily, ending their chances for victory.
“Marco gave me the low line on the backstretch and all day that meant that he would give me the low line in the corner as well, but he came down on me, I went low to avoid him and got down on the white line,” Hunter-Reay said. “That upset both cars and took us out. We had a great car, we pushed really hard, the guys in the pits were flawless and we really deserved a good finish tonight. This was going to be our breakout night and we didn't get it. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. We did what we had to do out there tonight and it was going to be our night. Unbelievable.”
Andretti laid the blame on Hunter-Reay.
"I really feel bad for the whole Blockbuster crew. We were running so well, as was Ryan (Hunter-Reay). I feel kind of bad for both of us but the fact is, there are some guys you can run close with and some guys you can't. He clearly hit the white line and that is that. We ran well today, but to me, that doesn't matter. We need to bring home results. It's very disappointing."
|With the race finishing under caution winner Dixon and 2nd place Castroneves stage an artificial close finish for the cameras|
|IRL media photo|
Both Team Penske drivers recovered from early mistakes. The finishes kept both drivers – Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe - in the thick of the championship race as the season nears the midway point.
Castroneves recovered from a pit speed violation that resulted in a drive-through penalty to finish second and keep the championship pressure on race winner Scott Dixon, who he trails by a mere 35 points. “We had a great car, a winning car,” Castroneves said. “I’m upset because I feel like we had a great chance, but second place is a great finish. It’s great points, and that’s what we need to focus on.”
The IRL's biggest super star Danica Patrick of Andretti Green Racing was never in serious contention throughout the race. She started fifth, but never led as she finished 10th. As is typical with her, she qualifies decent but when the green flag falls to go racing she drops back precipitously.
This was Scott Dixon's third win of the season and the 13th win of his career. He also won at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. It is his first win at Texas Motor Speedway.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, Bombardier Learjet 550k race winner): "I can't believe it. It's great for the team and great for Target. We just want to win this championship. I'm sorry to see it end under caution, but it's a great way to get some points for this championship. Dan (Wheldon) did a great job coming from the back, and I saw him looming there for a little while. I don't know what to say. We finally won at Texas, and I'm pretty happy about that." (About accident between Andretti and Hunter-Reay): "I kind of caught it a little bit in my mirror. I saw it was getting a bit crowded back there. It gets a bit desperate in the last few laps. If it had played out to a fuel-strategy race, it would have been a nice, clean finish, but when you have eight laps to go and 20 guys going for second or first spot, you're going to have something happen. It 's unfortunate that it happened, but good for us." (About fuel late in the race): "Mike Hull and (engineers) Eric (Bretzman) and Brian (Welling) do a good job getting me to aim for a number. I had to be very close to the end, but so was everyone else. I think we would have been on the edge, but I think we would have been all right."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished second): (About drive-thru penalty) “For the car that I had, it was supposed to be a win. I’m upset about that; I let those guys down. Team Penske did an incredible job of putting me back on the lead lap and to finish second is great for the conditions.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished third): “I don’t know what I was thinking at the start when I missed my box. We went to the back but came through the field. The car was a missile. We had to change (front) wings and the car never felt quite as good in the second half of the race as the first, but it was a great recovery for the team and great for the points in the championship. (When lap down) The more time I spend with Team Penske you just never give up. We’ve been a lap down many times, even in the American Le Mans Series. But with Roger (Penske) on the box, he works like magic and we seem to always get that lap back and get in contention.”
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fourth): "Very good results for everybody at Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Obvisously, Scott (Dixon) is on a tear right now. Unfortunately I wasn't able to run the Polaroid car, but that's the way it goes. I want to say thank you to the (Delphi) Safety Team for the job the did this weekend. They were pretty busy. It was a little inconsistent for me, but that's part of racing. We came out with a top-five. It still didn't go my way, but we'll work on that."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished fifth): "We struggled with the balance, then something broke on the last stop. I think it was the rear bar. I was all over the place. I was so dangerous. I had to apologize to Dan (Wheldon) and a bunch of guys. I couldn't keep on the track. I was hoping everybody would stay away from me. I was trying to let everyone by. It was a rough day, but having the worst day of the year and still finishing fifth, I don't think it's that bad."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished sixth): "It would have been great if the Formula Dream Team was able to finish in top five. If the last yellow didn’t come out I think we could’ve been able to finish in top three. I was trying to save fuel but I was sure that we could go without making another pit stop. It is little bit frustrating but that is the race. I learned so much this weekend, and I feel more comfortable in the traffic after this weekend. I enjoyed the race.”
VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi National Guard Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished seventh): "Our car was just awesome when we were running up front. The team made one fuel-only stop early in the race, so we were about 10 laps off-sequence. But otherwise we were really good. The car was skating on me a little bit in traffic, but everybody saw how good we were once we got to the front. I was pulling away. This is another good race for us and another step forward. The confidence level at Panther is really, really high right now."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished ninth): "It was a tough race and I had a really good car early on, but then we put on a set of scuff tires. On that set, the car just got really out of control. That's really where we lost our race. We had to pit early as a result, then we lost a lap, and it all just really unraveled with that set of tires. I think we may have ended up okay in the points with Servia dropping out and Marco Andretti not finishing at the end. It was just a tough day for the No. 20 Menards/Johns Manville car. I feel like we had a lot better car than the ninth place we ended up with, but we just didn't get a chance to use it."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, finished 10th):“I am frustrated that we did not stay up front the entire race. My car was really loose most of the race, so that made it difficult to drive in traffic. The Motorola crew is working really hard and I appreciate their efforts.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Marco gave me the low line on the backstretch and all day that meant that he would give me the low line in the corner as well, but he came down on me, I went low to avoid him and got down on the white line. That upset both cars and took us out. We had a great car, we pushed really hard, the guys in the pits were flawless, and we really deserved a good finish tonight. This was going to be our breakout night and we didn't get it. I can't tell you how disappointed I am."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Blockbuster Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I really feel bad for the whole Blockbuster crew. We were running so well, as was Ryan (Hunter-Reay). I feel kind of bad for both of us but the fact is, there are some guys you can run close with and some guys you can’t. He clearly hit the white line and that is that. We ran well today, but to me, that doesn’t matter. We need to bring home results. It’s very disappointing."
||Scott Dixon (9)
||Helio Castroneves (3)
||Ryan Briscoe (6)
||Dan Wheldon (10)
||Tony Kanaan (11)
||Hideki Mutoh (27)
||Vitor Meira (4)
||Buddy Rice (15)
||Ed Carpenter (20)
||Danica Patrick (7)
||Graham Rahal (06)
||A.J. Foyt IV (2)
||Will Power (8)
||EJ Viso (33)
||Bruno Junqueira (18)
||John Andretti (24)
||Milka Duno (23)
||Mario Moraes (19)
||Marco Andretti (26)
||Ryan Hunter-Reay (17)
||Mario Dominguez (96)
||Marty Roth (25)
||Enrique Bernoldi (36)
||Jaime Camara (34)
||Tomas Scheckter (12)
||Oriol Servia (5)
||Justin Wilson (02)
||Darren Manning (14)
Winner's average speed: 159.740 mph
Time of race: 2:04:36.3153
Margin of victory: Under caution
Cautions: 8 caution flags for 52 laps
Lead changes: 21 changes among 6 drivers
Lap leaders: Castroneves 1-12, Junqueira 13-17, Castroneves
18-41, Junqueira 42-46, Castroneves 47-66, Dixon 67,
Castroneves 68-69, Dixon 70, Castroneves 71-72, Dixon 73,
Castroneves 74-97, M. Andretti 98-100, Castroneves 101, Dixon
102, Briscoe 103-108, M. Andretti 109-115, Dixon 116-153,
Briscoe 154-159, Dixon 160-168, Meira 169-206, Andretti 207-
221, Dixon 222-228.
Point standings: Dixon 284, Castroneves 249, Wheldon 217,
Kanaan 204, Briscoe 169, Patrick 164, Mutoh 159, M. Andretti
154, Carpenter 154, Servia 150.