|Scott Dixon wins third consecutive Nashville race|
Target Chip Ganassi Racing team managing director Mike Hull gambled by keeping the Nos. 9 and 10 cars on the track while other contenders pitted under a moisture caution on Lap 148 and it worked as the race was called early because of heavy rain.
Scott Dixon tied an IndyCar Series record with his third consecutive victory at Nashville Superspeedway and teammate Dan Wheldon finished second as the race was red-flagged after 171 of 200 laps complete.
It was the 100th automobile racing victory for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The last rain-shortened race was the 2007 Indianapolis 500, won by Dario Franchitti. Tony Kanaan came out on the short end of both races.
Dixon's fourth victory of the season - coupled with pole sitter Helio Castroneves' third-place finish - lifted his points lead from 48 to 63 points over the Team Penske driver. Danica Patrick, who joined Castroneves on the front row, finished fifth and Panther Racing's Vitor Meira advanced nine positions to sixth.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Energizer, finished first): “It's a big night for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Every time we ran this car, I've won with it, here at Nashville and at Watkins Glen. It's been a hell of a lot of luck for us, but you could not have been luckier than we were tonight. It was a miscommunication on the pit call. That's the only reason that I didn't come in. I was angry for a few laps, but when I saw that rain coming down, I thought, ‘Oh, this could work out pretty good. (Tony Kanaan) was pretty strong and he seemed to get the worst out of it." (Have you learned to play the guitar yet?): "I haven't. If I do, it might be bad luck, so I'm not going to learn for a long time.”
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, second): “I absolutely did not (have a second-place car tonight), but sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. It's a great night for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the end. To finish 1-2, and the rain seemed to be powered by Energizer Batteries because it kept coming down. I had a lot of drag in the car and it made it very difficult. I had to lift a lot in traffic, and as I said, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, third): “It's not the race we wanted to have, especially the way it finished. I was told that the Ganassi guys had four laps of fuel left. That's two minutes. If the rain had come two minutes later, we would have won the race. But sometimes you have to be lucky than good. They did that, and there's nothing we could do. Team Penske did its race, and we finished third. It was good enough for what we had. The car was really tough to handle, and third is good enough for the championship.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, fourth): “I support my team 100 percent. It was the right call to come in on Lap 148. Who can predict the rain? Unfortunately the rain and I don’t get along too well. But, the 7-Eleven guys have great momentum, and the guys at the front know we are coming. I’ll take fourth place today. When it is your year, it is your year. You have to get a little lucky to win the championship, and I got my share of the luck in 2004.”
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola, fifth): “The Motorola car was definitely good tonight. It is frustrating when you are dealing with a situation like the weather. (Scott) Dixon and (Dan) Wheldon were just a few laps short of having to pit. We needed something like 10 laps of yellow for them to run out of fuel. From that perspective it is tough, but that is a gamble that they took and it worked out in their favor. But we had a top-five finish tonight, and we will take it.”
VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi National Guard, sixth): “It was a good day for us. The car started to get pushy on us late in the race but that was because the track was getting better. After the bad stretch we've been through, this is just what we needed to rebound. We have been solid everywhere we’ve been, it's just a matter of staying out of trouble. It was a race against time tonight, and a nerve-wracking race, but we made some calls and it ended well.”
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, seventh): “Tonight was a good night. We had just about every sponsor at the race, so it was a good chance for us to put on a good show for them. It’s a bummer that the rain put a damper on things, but I’m glad to get another solid top-10 for Dreyer & Reinbold. I have to thank all of the sponsors. We’re continuing our recent streak of momentum, and we’ll look to keep it going at Mid-Ohio.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, eighth): “A little disappointed because our car was much better than an eighth-place finish showed. That last restart I had a run on Bruno (Junqueira) in the 18 car, and I think he thought he was racing for the win or something when he was in fact a few laps down. I guess that's just Nashville. It's like this every year. It's just such a one-groove track that it's pretty scary if you get off line because you'll usually just end up crashing the car. It's just such a difficult and abrasive surface. We probably should have finished sixth instead of eighth, but either way the positive is that we made up some ground on points with guys that had a bad day like Oriol (Servia), (Ryan) Hunter-Reay, and Marco (Andretti).”
DARREN MANNING (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Racing, ninth): “The ABC car was good from the first lap because I could overtake cars on the start and get pretty close to the top 10. Track position was everything. The backmarkers were racing us all night, which hurt us. The car was racy. On our last stop, the guys did a great job with the quickjack when the airjack failed. We only lost to Buddy (Rice). We thought about staying out but if we had, it probably wouldn't have rained. We'll take this top 10.”
MARIO MORAES (No. 19 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q, 10th): “I'm very happy with a 10th-place finish tonight. The car was great, and the team did an excellent job. I was able to improve 12 positions in the race, which shows how good we did tonight. This is my best oval finish of my career. It would have been interesting to see if the race wasn't ended early because I really think I could have passed a few more cars.”
||Scott Dixon (9)
||Dan Wheldon (10)
||Helio Castroneves (3)
||Tony Kanaan (11)
||Danica Patrick (7)
||Vitor Meira (4)
||Buddy Rice (15)
||Ed Carpenter (20)
||Darren Manning (14)
||Mario Moraes (19)
||Will Power (8)
||Graham Rahal (06)
||Marty Roth (25)
||Hideki Mutoh (27)
||Bruno Junqueira (18)
||Oriol Servia (5)
||Milka Duno (23)
||Justin Wilson (02)
||Ryan Hunter-Reay (17)
||Enrique Bernoldi (36)
||Jaime Camara (34)
||A.J. Foyt IV (2)
||Ryan Briscoe (6)
||Marco Andretti (26)
Winner's average speed: 148.072 mph
Time of race: 1:30:04.6499
Margin of victory: Under red
Cautions: 4 caution flags for 37 laps
Lead changes: 5 among 4 drivers
Lap leaders: Castroneves 1-54, Dixon 55-62, Servia 63-67, Dixon 68-89, Kanaan 90-148, Dixon 149-171.
Point standings: Dixon 420, Castroneves 357, Wheldon 351, Kanaan 339, Patrick 266, Mutoh 254, Andretti 253, Briscoe 243, Hunter-Reay 232, Carpenter 222.