What they said about IndyCar Championship UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Regarding the opening paragraph - “What they said about IndyCar Championship The 2009 IndyCar Series championship came down to a three-man winner-take-all battle between Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe. Here's what members of the media had to say about the title fight - which was clinched by Franchitti with his win in the Firestone Indy 300 on Oct. 10.
Who knew? “
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Who knew, indeed? With Versus gone from DirecTV, I turned to the Internet for the live stream from IndyCar.com (as I had done for Japan). But there was no mention of the video feed for Homestead on the IRL site, and my login resulted in a ‘This Program is not available in your Territory’ message, so… no race for me: the first IndyCar (read Champ Car/CART) race missed in at least a decade. Not that I didn’t try – I tried everything to login in, even re-registered with a promise from IndyCar.com that they would send me a confirmation e-mail in ‘about five minutes’. Four days, later, I’m still waiting.
However, I was pushed over to a page at IndyCar.com that reminded me to “Vote For Helio” on Dancing With The Stars, so I really didn’t expect much.
Tell me again somebody – anybody – how American Open Wheel Racing is better off with these bozos that it was with Champ Car/CART? Even the Government couldn’t bail out this sorry mess…
Name Withheld By Request, Chicago, IL10/13/09 The 2009 IndyCar Series championship came down to a three-man winner-take-all battle between Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe. Here's what members of the media had to say about the title fight - which was clinched by Franchitti with his win in the Firestone Indy 300 on Oct. 10.
Who knew that 300 miles would blur past without a crash, or an engine oiling the Homestead-Miami Speedway asphalt, or a piece of debris littering it? Not a single caution flag? You've got to be kidding!
Who knew, with Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe reeling off laps of 210 mph in a sizzling duel to collect a possibly decisive two-point bonus for leading the most laps, that they were flat-footing it right out of a title?
And who knew, one year ago, that a driver who abdicated his 2007 IndyCar throne and rolled snake eyes on a failed gamble on a ``second career'' in NASCAR, would not only return to IndyCar again in 2009 but rule it?
Even dapper Scot Dario Franchitti, in championship elation and after a kiss from actress/wife Ashley Judd, asked, ``Who'd have thought?''
Gary Long, Miami Herald
His head still swimming after emerging with the IndyCar Series championship, Dario Franchitti's body got the treatment Sunday as former teammate and champion Tony Kanaan tossed him in the pool of a South Beach hotel, a celebratory prank he saw coming.
While that and other gut instincts were proven right in returning to the series this year after spending half of 2008 in NASCAR, Franchitti was admittedly less prescient about winning his second title in three years. The stakes had been raised quickly in his time away, he believed, and Job 1 was getting past Scott Dixon, the defending champion and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate.
But in surviving a grueling three-way battle with Dixon and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, his adaptive skills became obvious, and Franchitti now aims to apply them to more title runs.
Gary Graves, USA Today
Lost in a maze of baseball and football, the Indy Racing League saw its championship go down to the dramatic wire Saturday in a first-ever caution-free race. Not one wreck. Not one debris stoppage. It was just 300 miles of full-throttle, breakneck racing around Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The winner averaged 201.4 miles per hour. Strategies had to change on the fly. Leads were swapped. Nerves and gas mileage tested. The race was done in a crisp, viewer-friendly 90 or so minutes. Then, in the final 10 laps, three drivers dueled not just for the checkered flag but for the championship of the entire season.
Dario Franchitti came from third to win both, which meant plenty of camera time for his wife, a sundress-clad Ashley Judd.
This was the racing equivalent of a high-scoring, back-and-forth, overtime Super Bowl.
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo.com
On the 10th day of the 10th month, Dario Franchitti's No. 10 car is reigning supreme over the Indy Racing League. Franchitti successfully emerged from one of the closest points races in series history by winning the season-ending Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Tim Reynolds, Associated Press
It was a winner-take-all scenario — the points were so close that it was likely the winner of the race would win the championship. And though Briscoe led 103 of the 200 laps on the 11/2-mile oval and Dixon led 70, Franchitti was ahead when it counted — on Lap 200.
Steven Cole Smith, Orlando Sentinel
Franchitti thought his days as a race driver were coming to an end, but team owner Chip Ganassi knew that wasn't the case. He offered Franchitti a chance to return to IndyCar as the driver of the No. 10 entry at Target/Chip Ganassi Racing where he would team with 2008 IndyCar champ Dixon.
Together, the two formed the most powerful 1-2 combination in IndyCar racing, with Franchitti winning Saturday's Firestone Indy 300 and the 2009 championship by 11 points over Dixon.
Bruce Martin, SI.com
The 2009 championship featured three deserving combatants that swapped the points lead at almost every event. Each one had moments where they seem primed to pull away, but it never happened.
In the end, it was Franchitti, the man that had not won on a 1.5-mile oval all season prior to Homestead, that came away with the crown.
It's the great payoff of a very good deal that brought Franchitti back where he belonged.
Chris Estrada, FoxSports.com
The championship was the second in three years for the 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and cements his place in Indy-car history. Only Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, '02) and Dixon (2003, '08) have won multiple IndyCar titles, and Franchitti now has 23 wins when combining CART and the Indy Racing League.
Curt Cavin, Indianapolis Star
Forged over dinner-and-a-napkin, the story of Dario Franchitti's second IndyCar Series championship is basically about a driver content with his career decision-making. Moreover, it's the story of a man quite comfortable with being Dario.
John Sturbin, RacingToday.com
The series couldn't ask for anything more heading into Saturday's Firestone Indy 300, the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe are separated by only eight points. Dixon and Franchitti are guaranteed the title if they win. Briscoe needs to win and a little help, but the drama is just what the open-wheel series needs.
Anthony Andro, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Their incentives may be different. But the goals of Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe are the same. Only eight points separate Dixon, Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe for the IndyCar Series championship heading into Saturday's season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It's the closest three-man title race in series history, and all three could make a little history by claiming the championship.
Randy Covitz, Kansas City Star
Two teammates. One former teammate. Two power teams. Eight points between the three them. One race left. One step on the podium that really matters. Sixteen races and the Indy Racing League has again come down to the final 200 laps, this time on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Brant James, SI.com
And this weekend marks the 10th time in the past 14 years - and fourth consecutive season - the championship has been decided in the final race. There have been 14 changes atop the championship rankings this year. No other racing series can claim that.
Holly Cain, AOL.com
There are a host of other reasons to pay attention to the Firestone Indy 300 Saturday night, chief among them is the incredibly tight race for the championship. Scott Dixon holds an ultra-slim 15-point lead on comeback-of-the-year candidate and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti, and just 18 points over third place Penske Racing's Ryan Briscoe. Should Dixon win it would put him in some pretty elite company as a three-time champion, joining such legends as A. J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and any one of the Unser clan.
Dean McNulty, Toronto Sun
Three drivers, two teams, a single IndyCar Series championship trophy to be won this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With only eight points separating Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe, the reigning champion believes the math will be easy to figure. "It's pretty much whoever beats who is going to walk away with the championship," Dixon said.
Curt Cavin, Indianapolis Star
Eight points separate three drivers who've been a part of a roller-coaster IndyCar Series championship chase in which the lead has changed 14 times in 16 races. That's a lot to think about in the season finale Saturday evening at Homestead-Miami Speedway. So, good luck. You'll have a better chance than the protagonists at keeping the numbers straight.
Dave Kallman, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel