|Scott Dixon holds up 5 fingers for each of his wins this year|
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon continued his incredible season Saturday by winning the Rexall Edmonton Indy race at City Center Airport, his fifth win of the year, but first on a road course. At the finish of the caution filled race, Dixon was 6-seconds up on Helio Castroneves and Justin Wilson.
Dixon, one of the physically strongest drivers on the IndyCar circuit manhandled his Honda powered Dallara to the front on the demanding bumpy concrete and asphalt airport track while many lesser drivers wilted in his wake.
Castroneves led a race high 35 laps (to Dixon's 30) but it was Dixon who got the better of Castroneves during the last stint of the race when it counted. Castroneves ran wide in Turn One as the pair worked its way through lapped traffic, after which Dixon escaped to an almost six-second margin of victory. Castroneves recovered to finish second, but fell to 65 points behind Dixon in the championship chase with just four races remaining.
|(L to R) Helio Castroneves (3rd) Scott Dixon (1st), and Justin Wilson (3rd)|
Afterward Dixon said, “It's fantastic. I think at this point in the championship battle it's a must-have for Team Target. Helio (Castroneves) has been very strong in the last two races. He's been trying to chase us down, but we were able to make a small gain on him this weekend. At this point, I think a 65-point lead is pretty strong. We just have to keep on it for the next four races. We need to be consistent and continue to earn points. This win was definitely a turn for us in the championship.”
Try as he might Castroneves could not keep pace with Dixon at the end, but it wasn't as if he didn't try.
|Despite crashing in the morning warm-up, Scott Dixon made good in the race and won going away.|
“When you're behind another driver (Dixon), you're just short on tires. I was doing everything I could just to keep up. I was pushing and trying to put pressure on (Scott) Dixon with every lap, but he never made a mistake. I'm just going to keep working hard because it isn't over for Team Penske yet.”
The very demanding airport circuit resulted in a race that had four cautions for over 1/5th of the race bringing the 1:50-hour time limit into play and the race was shortened by 4-laps to 91 of 95.
The best drive of the day came from Paul Tracy who brought his Subway car home 4th for Vision Racing and Walker Racing after starting 15th. A sensational effort considering they had no prior practice or experience with the car and they easily beat the regular Vision Racing drivers, perhaps sending a message to Tony George that he would do well to hire Tracy full time.
Behind the lead quartet, Oriol Servia survived a tight battle in the final laps, including contact with Ryan Briscoe, to wind up fifth, with Briscoe sixth. Dan Wheldon led another tight group across the finish line, just edging Ryan Hunter-Reay for seventh. Tony Kanaan came from last on the starting grid [due to a spin and resulting engine change in qualifying] to finish ninth, with Darren Manning just half a car length behind to round out the top 10.
After six consecutive race weekends, and racing activities including the Indianapolis 500 for 14 of the last 15 weeks, the IndyCar Series now takes a one-week break before resuming Saturday, August 9 with the Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team, third): “Under the circumstances, we're very happy with today, and it's great to put the McDonald's car in the top three. We've had the capability of doing that on many occasions but something has always gone wrong. Today's race was very eventful, but we were able to stay clean out there. We knew when to back off and we knew when to push, and that's why we're here.” (What did you say to Paul Tracy when you got out of the car?): "I talked to him and told him, 'Not bad for an old guy.' It was good racing. I've always enjoyed racing with Paul. I know a lot of people have had problems with him, but I've always enjoyed it because he races hard, but fair. I don't mind going wheel to wheel with him.”
PAUL TRACY (No. 22 Subway/Vision, fourth): “I could hear the pit, but they couldn’t hear me. I just did everything that they said. We couldn’t make any changes to the car, so what I had I had to stick with. We did a couple of hand signals for tire pressure up or down under yellow, so I couldn’t really optimize the car. At the end, I had to save a lot of fuel to make it to the end. I’m just super-excited for the team. They prepared this car in about a week and a half, and I gave it a first-class effort for the sponsor. With a little more practice and me not sitting on the couch for the last six months, maybe we could do better.”
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, fifth): “It was just one of those races. The KV Racing Technology car was as good, if not better than any car out there, but the race just didn’t go our way. We had a couple of issues on the pits stops and lost some places, but the car was good enough to pick them back up on track. Then I was racing with Dan Wheldon, and Marco (Andretti) came out of the pits and he parked it in the chicane. I tried to slow down, Wheldon braked hard, but had nowhere to go and I hit him really hard. I broke the front wing, but the car didn’t lose too much lap time. It was just the last two laps, the steering arm started to break, and on the last lap it completely broke. So, in a way we were unlucky, but lucky to finish at all. We still managed to get some good points for the championship, but it was disappointing because we had a car to battle with whoever we wanted today.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, sixth): “It was a bit of a frustrating day because I think we had a podium-finishing car. Early in the race Helio (Castroneves) was a bit faster and got by me, and then it was just between the two Team Penske cars. The fuel strategy came into play a bit, and by mid-race we ended up getting shuffled back in the pack because a lot of the slower guys stayed out. Then on a restart, (Dan) Wheldon went three-wide with (Ed) Carpenter, and they came sliding down and put me into a spin. That was really unfortunate because up until that point I was having a real solid race. Once again, Roger (Penske) worked his strategy and we were able to make up some spots, pass some cars and end up with a sixth-place finish. I guess, all things considered, sixth place was a good result. We picked up some points and were able to solidify fifth place in the championship.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, ninth): “I’m disappointed with our finish. The Team 7-Eleven/Frank’s Energy Drink car was one of the three-quickest cars on track. However, considering that we started last, we were able to gain positions and still get some important points. This is a very physical track, but the fan support was great, and I look forward to coming back next year.”
||Scott Dixon (9)
||Helio Castroneves (3)
||Justin Wilson (02)
||Paul Tracy (22)
||Oriol Servia (5)
||Ryan Briscoe (6)
||Dan Wheldon (10)
||Ryan Hunter-Reay (17)
||Tony Kanaan (11)
||Darren Manning (14)
||Buddy Rice (15)
||A.J. Foyt IV (2)
||Ed Carpenter (20)
||Bruno Junqueira (18)
||EJ Viso (33)
||Enrique Bernoldi (36)
||Marco Andretti (26)
||Danica Patrick (7)
||Vitor Meira (4)
||Mario Moraes (19)
||Marty Roth (25)
||Will Power (8)
||Jaime Camara (34)
||Mario Dominguez (96)
||Townsend Bell (23)
||Graham Rahal (06)
||Hideki Mutoh (27)
Winner's average speed: 96.967 mph
Time of race: 1:51:05.7039
Margin of victory: 5.9237 seconds
Cautions: 4 caution flags for 19 laps
19-23 Spin: #4 Meira at Pit In
29-32 Contact: #27 Mutoh in T9
49-54 Contact: #23 Bell in T1
61-64 Contact: #06 Rahal and #33 Viso in T10
Lead changes: 9 among 6 drivers
Lap leaders: Briscoe 1-3, Castroneves 4-21, Andretti 22-29, Kanaan 30, Andretti 31-33, Castroneves 34-50, Kanaan 51-56, Foyt IV 57-59, Kanaan 60-61, Dixon 62-91.
Point standings: Dixon 505, Castroneves 440, Wheldon 390, Kanaan 387, Briscoe 324, Patrick 296, Mutoh 286, Servia 280, Andretti 276, Hunter-Reay 276.