Castroneves bites into Dixon’s lead

The checkered flag had barely fallen on Helio Castroneves Aug. 24 at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County and rival team owner Chip Ganassi was already doing the math.

“I think if Helio wins the next two we just have to place fourth, so we should be able to do that," said Ganassi, owner for Scott Dixon, who retains a 43-point lead in the IndyCar Series championship with two races remaining.

Ganassi was correct. If Castroneves can dominate Aug. 31 at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park and Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway like he did at Infineon Raceway, he could win a maximum of 106 points, increasing his season total to 639. With Dixon sitting on 576 points, the six-time winner would need 63 points in the final two races, an average of 31.5 points per race, which is just under the 32 points awarded for a fourth-place finish, to claim his second series championship.

Dixon’s 43-point advantage is slightly above the average margin with two races to go. From 2001-2007, the points leader averaged a 35.1-point advantage on the nearest competitor. Four times the leader with two to go went on to the title, while three times he was passed.

Scenarios for Scott Dixon to clinch the 2008 championship at Belle Isle

If Dixon wins the race, Castroneves is eliminated.
If Dixon finishes 11th or worse, Castroneves remains in contention.
If Dixon finishes second through 10th, there are numerous scenarios that could eliminate Castroneves.

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