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Power On Pole At Barber
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Last April, Will Power earned the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park. He'll start in the same position for the April 10 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy.
Power posted a best lap of 1 minute, 11.4546 seconds on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn natural-terrain course in the Firestone Fast Six. Teammate Ryan Briscoe (1:11:7361) will join him on the front row for the 90-lap race.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (1:11:8826) and Team Penske's Helio Castroneves (1:12:1247), the defending race winner, will occupy Row 2. Justin Wilson (1:12:3085), who is driving with an injured wrist, and Oriol Servia (1:12:4394), in his first start at Barber, will share Row 3.
Also at Barber Motorsports Park Victor Garcia grabbed the Sunoco Pole Award, his first in Firestone Indy Lights. He will share the front row with Esteban Guerrieri for Sunday's race.
Danica Patrick has only one speed... Fast.
Danica Patrick paid a $196 fine to settle a speeding ticket after the star race car driver was caught going 54 mph in a 35 mph zone last month.
Patrick, the first woman to win an IndyCar race, was due in traffic court Monday, but a Scottsdale City Court clerk says she paid the fine Wednesday.
The 26-year-old driver was pulled over by Scottsdale police Dec. 9 in her hometown while driving a 2007 Mercedes. A year ago, she was ticketed for driving 57 mph in a 40 mph zone in Scottsdale and was ordered to attend traffic school.
Scottsdale court records show the recent tickets are among several she has received in the past three years.
A call to Patrick’s racing team wasn’t immediately returned.
Photo By Mark Rotor
DIXON WINS...NO, CORRECTION CASTRONEVES WINS PEAK ANTIFREEZE 300 IN PHOTO FINISH
DIXON HOLDS ON TO CLAIM SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP
Photo Photo By Dan Peters
Photo Photo By Mark Rotor
Helio Castroneves charged from the 28th starting position to first, winning a photo finish in the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, the second closest finish in Series History.
Photo Photo By Mark Rotor
Dixon entered Victory Lane as Series Champion and race winner. But as in bingo, hold all your cards.
A review of photos from the Indy Racing League’s state-of-the-art high-speed camera revealed that Castroneves had edged Dixon by .0033 of a second, about 12 inches. The margin of victory was the second-closest in IndyCar Series history.
One Lap To Go....
Photo By Mark Rotor
It wasn’t enough to keep Scott Dixon from winning his second IndyCar Series championship.
Photo By Dan Peters
Castroneves started 28th due to a penalty during qualifying and raced his way through the field to take the lead on Lap 78. He led 80 laps total and was in first as the leaders pitted on Lap 185 with 15 laps to go. Series points leader Scott Dixon won the race off pit lane and led the next 14 laps as Castroneves pulled alongside for the final two laps. As the two took the checkered flag side-by-side, it took a review of photographs by IndyCar Series officials to determine that Castroneves had edged Dixon.
Photo Photo By Mark Rotor
The IndyCar Series Timing & Scoring photo system takes a picture every ten-thousandth of a second. IndyCar Series officials have confirmed that the transponder on Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car had been improperly installed, resulting in Dixon being shown in the top spot on the Indy Racing League’s T&S system rather than race winner Helio Castroneves.
Photo By Dan Peters
“The improperly installed transponder clearly affected the data we were receiving from Dixon’s car,” said Jon Koskey, the Indy Racing League’s director of timing and scoring. “With the signal going the wrong direction, it could have bounced off of any number of things and made it difficult for the antenna to pick up an accurate signal. Because there’s always the possibility of electronic equipment failing and the possibility of human error, we have multiple systems in place to insure the accuracy of the data.”
Photo By Dan Peters
Immediately following the conclusion of Sunday’s PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil 300, the camera operator informed race stewards that the photos showed Castroneves’ car in the lead. Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for the Indy Racing League, reviewed the photos and confirmed Castroneves the winner.
Photo By Dan Peters
“We’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in this system since 2001 to make sure our timing systems are accurate and provide the officiating staff with the information necessary to make good judgment calls such as this,” Barnhart said. “The primary system includes three parts comprised of a radio transponder mounted in the same location on each car, multiple detection loop antennas buried under the track and timing decoder units that decipher the transponder signals as it crosses the antenna. We back up that system with the start/finish line camera and secondary electronic systems.
Photo By Mark Rotor
“We use the high-speed camera to review the finishing order of every car at every race. It’s not always that close between the top two cars, but we have close finishes further back in the field all of the time
Photo By Dan Peters
Castroneves celebrated his second victory of the season and the second time he’s finished runner-up in the championship in his career. (About learning he won the race) “I found out when I was walking to the podium to receive the second-place finish. I actually thought I really won it, but sometimes when you’re going 215 mph it’s hard for me to see in the blink of an eye. But what a great effort by Team Penske. Ryan (Briscoe) helped me out tremendously. We put ourselves in that situation today. And I’m sure next year is going to be a lot of fun as well, so I can’t wait for 2009.” (About coming from last to first) “We tried to keep everything that happened behind and keep racing. I had no doubt that we’d have a good car. It was a big task but, like I said, we believed, we did everything possible. But unfortunately Scott (Dixon) was right there, too. I have to congratulate Team Ganassi, but what a great finish, what a wild race. It was kind of a little close, but I’m extremely happy for the way it came out here.”
Photos By Mark Rotor
Dixon maintained a 17-point lead in the championship to become the second driver to win multiple championships in the IndyCar Series. Dixon also won in 2003. “We were trying to work out where we needed to be, and I think I got a little complacent in the middle there. Some of those guys are so quick, some people we didn’t expect to be racing with. We got shuffled back in line a little bit, but what a great day. I still can’t believe it.” (About whether or not this trumps his championship in 2003) “Yeah, I think it does. We had to go through the cycles. In ’03 we really knew what we won, but today was so emotional for the team. Everyone at Team Target worked together to make it happen. My hat’s off to them.” (About tough years in his career) “Yeah, it was so tough in those years. I think we tried to forget about them, but I think those years have made the team what it is today. I think those yea rs were tough, but you’ve got to have those years to make sure that you come back and work hard. I’ve got to thank Chip (Ganassi) for keeping me around. It was a revolving door there for awhile. I’ve got to thank my teammate, Dan (Wheldon). He was a great help today.”
Photo By Dan Peters
Wheldon will be leaving Ganassi to head back to Panther Racing in 2009. He gave Dixon hugs in victory lane, but snuck back in holding a finger at his face telling everyone to be quiet. He then gave Dixon a “Victory Pie” in the face. Dixon never saw it coming.
Photo By Dan Peters
Pole sitter Ryan Briscoe finished third. “It was awesome. It was some really great racing there, going three-wide for a while with (Dan) Wheldon and Helio (Castroneves). It was just a really good day and a good way to end the season. We’ve had a lot of progress this year, so this was an accomplishment going into 2009. I did my best to help Helio (Castroneves). I thought he might have had it. I was under that rear wing as close as I could get, so hopefully that helped him out.”
Photo By Dan Peters
Hideki Mutoh won Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year honors by six points over Justin Wilson despite finishing 22nd. “I wish we were able to finish the 2008 season with a good finish, but I am very thankful to all the Formula Dream team for working so hard and getting No. 27 car back out on the track today. I won the Bombardier Rookie of the Year, but it hasn’t hit me yet. I am happy, but it’s really hard to celebrate it after such a disappointing race.”
Photo By Dan Peters
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with a non-points paying race Oct. 26 at Surfers Paradise, Australia. The Nikon Indy 300 will be telecast live in High Definition at 10:30 p.m. (EDT) Oct. 25 by ESPN Classic and will re-air at 11 p.m. Oct. 26 on ESPN2. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season has concluded.
Photo By Dan Peters
INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE NOTES:
IndyCar Series driver Vitor Meira could be making his final start with Panther Racing following the announcement this week that Dan Wheldon has been signed to drive the No. 4 car for the team in 2009.
Vitor Miera Crashes late in the race
Photo By Mark Rotor
VITOR MEIRA: “I feel like it’s important for the fans to know what I think about everything that has happened this last week. I didn’t want to leave Panther and the No. 4 car because I know how good this team is going to be next year. I feel like I’m a big part of the foundation of this team in the new generation of the IndyCar Series. I’m sad to leave, and I don’t agree with all the decisions that have been made, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about Panther Racing, and I’ll always have a lot of respect for them. I feel like I’m personal friends with every member of this team. That will never change. I’m also happy to have had the experience with all the sponsors who have supported me, especially Delphi for the two years of support and trust. The National Guard, as an institution, and the s oldiers as individuals, changed me personally and the way I look at everything. One of the key words in the National Guard is ‘honor’, and I’m honored to get to know every member of the National Guard and I always will be, even if I don’t drive their car in the future. I will always know, no matter what, that wherever I am the Guardsmen are Always Ready and Always There. I look forward to continuing my career in the IndyCar Series, and will share any updates as they come available.”
SCOTT DIXON, THE SERIES CHAMPION:
Scott Dixon held first place in the standings in 2008 for all but three races. After winning the season opener at Homestead-Miami, Dixon fell to second with a 22nd-place finish at St. Petersburg. He rebounded to first with his win at Indianapolis.
Dixon averaged 38.0 points per race, just shy of the 40 points awarded for finishing second.
Since the start of the 2006 season, Dixon has 42 top-10 finishes in 48 races. In those 48 races, Dixon has 12 victories, 36 top-five finishes and has led 1,405 laps.
Beginning with the race at Richmond in June 2007, Dixon has 21 top-five finishes in 26 races. In those 26 races, Dixon has 10 victories, 23 top-10 finishes and has led 1,089 laps.
Dixon is the second driver to win multiple IndyCar Series championships. He also won in 2003. A look at Dixon’s finishes in 2008 and 2003:
HELIO CASTRONEVES A SEASON TO REMEMBER:
Helio Castroneves turned in one of the most consistent seasons in IndyCar Series history, recording a record-tying 15 top-five finishes, including a record-setting eight second-place finishes.
Castroneves led all drivers with 15 top-five finishes and 17 races running at the finish.
Castroneves held first place in the standings for three weeks before relinquishing the position to Scott Dixon at the Indianapolis 500 in May. After that, Castroneves held second place the final 13 weeks of the season.
Castroneves averaged 37.0 points per race, better than the 35 points awarded for third place.
Helio Castroneves in the Record Book
Seasons with a win: Tied Scott Sharp’s record of eight.
Consecutive seasons with a win: Set new record with eight.
Career wins from pole: Set new record with seven.
Consecutive seasons with win from pole: Tied record of three others with three.
Consecutive starts: Moved into second with 112.
Career poles: Extended his record to 26.
Career top-10 finishes: Set new record with 88.
Career top-five finishes: Tied with Tony Kanaan for all-time lead with 66.
Career races led: Set new record with 71.
Career second-place finishes: Set new record with 20.
Contenders frustrated at Detroit:
Neither Scott Dixon nor Helio Castroneves left Detroit happy. The two championship contenders both felt they could have fared better in the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park on Aug. 31.
Dixon, who maintains a 30-point lead in the championship, led the first 18 laps from the pole but shuffled back to 18th after his first pit stop. He never got higher than fifth after that.
"The car was clearly quicker than anybody's," said Dixon, who a has record-tying six victories this season. "We were saving a ton of fuel up front and sort of having a merry old day, and that changed pretty quickly. We left with a half tank after that caution. I think I was probably the only person or maybe a couple of others. It's just a hard situation when you're in that point when nobody else pits and you have a lot of slower guys that pitted early on and have a lot of fuel and you have to try to pass them. That was pretty much the race. Then from that point on, we were just trying to pull up there."
Castroneves led a race-high 53 laps but was forced to give away the top position on Lap 73 when race officials penalized him for blocking eventual race winner Justin Wilson.
"Since I've been here since 2002, I always did that, and you got a warning," Castroneves said. "If you do it again, now you're penalized. But it was all of a sudden. Now I've got to give the position to (Justin Wilson). I'm like, "Wait a minute." You could see the next lap I was already three cars away from him. So it's not something that we see many, many times. It was just an unusual call. And I really don't know why they did that. I'm very surprised."
The two will have to forget about Detroit and focus on preparing for the 1.5-mile oval at Chicagoland Speedway, where the final race in the 2008 championship will take place Sept. 7.
"I can't let this bother me for the next race, because we have to race next weekend," Castroneves said. "So what are we going to do? Definitely tomorrow we'll turn the page and work as hard as we can. Because the good news, we're still battling for the championship. We're going to have a lot of work again. We know what we need to do. We know we're going after a good team. But I trust my guys, I trust my team, and I know we can do it."
One of them will leave Chicagoland Speedway very happy.
Elation to Frustration....Scott Dixon Snatches Meijer Indy 300 Trophy….Helio the Bridesmaid for the 7th Time This Season.
Oak Park Journal
Photo by Yolanda Rotor
Before the start of Saturday’s Meijer Indy 300 race at the Kentucky Speedway, Helio Castroneves was 65 points behind the Indy point’s leader Scott Dixon with 4 races remaining in the championship schedule. Castroneves and team Penske would need to make a powerful move on Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon if they were to pull ahead of the point’s leader. During the race, Dixon dominated leading 151 of 200 laps starting from the pole position.
Photo By Dan Peters
However, on lap 194th Castroneves made his big move on Dixon by taking the race lead when the #9 car entered the pits for a final splash of fuel. With team Penske’s #3 car fuelled with 22-gallons of ethanol on Lap #143, Castroneves was poised to win his first race of the season if he could hold on for 6 additional laps. But with one lap to go and a ¼ lap lead, Castroneves was passed by a charging Dixon on the final turn of the race. Dixon took the checkered flag ahead of Castroneves who ran out of fuel and coasted to his seventh 2nd place finish of season. Following close behind was Marco Andretti (Andretti Green Racing) #26 car finishing in 3rd place barely edged out by Castroneves in the #3 car.
Photo By Dan Peters
“When I was going into Turn 3, I thought, 'I got it!' Like I'm finally going to win this race," Castroneves said. "And all of a sudden I'm coming out of Turn 4 and the car just coughed. My reaction at that time, it was like 'No!' But I need to still finish the race. I didn't want the car to stop right away. I didn't know how many cars were behind Dixon and Marco (Andretti).
Photo By Mark Rotor
I just wanted to finish the race as high as I could.” The frustrated Helio Castroneves was philosophical when asked about his 7th 2nd place finish of the year. “It's funny, Scott Dixon says to me: "Man every time I win, you finish second." I said, "Well, every time I finish second, you finish first. We've got to change that.”
Photo By Mark Rotor
With the Meijer Indy 300 win Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) captured their 6th victory of the season tying teammate Dan Wheldon’s 2005 season. “What a day. I think we tried to play it kind of safe and just be conservative. Even in traffic we really didn’t rush things. The car was fantastic. It was strategy in the end, it was crazy. There was no way we were going to catch him (Castroneves). He was half the track ahead of us. I knew our car was probably quicker than his, but not 20 miles per hour faster. It was nice to get it the way we did. I think about the run that Dario (Franchitti) had for the championship last season, and it’s nice to be able to be in that (winning) position after how we lost it last year in Chicago ”
Photo By Mark Rotor
Not only did Marco Andretti (Andretti Green Racing) almost beat Castroneves to the finish line for second place but also challenged pole sitter Dixon by taking the race lead for a total of 38 laps. Andretti commented “I think tonight was a night we had one of the cars to win. I think Dixon was probably the other one. But you know, we tried to play traffic as best we could. I was turned down behind him trying to work with him to pull away, and then as soon as I saw traffic, slower traffic ahead, I went to position one and committed to the outside and held him low, and then we were able to overtake him twice, but obviously it didn't pay off. With 198 laps to go race leaders Andretti and Meira tuned into pit lane for a splash of fuel when Dixon retook the race lead from Andretti.
Photo By Dan Peters
I’m a bit disappointed especially for how much fuel I was conserving behind him, and coming down the straightaway, everything was looking good until then. I think we have to take advantage of days and races where we have the car to win, and doesn't come that often in the IndyCar Series, that’s for sure.”
Photo By Yolanda Rotor
Danica Patrick (Andretti Green Team) #7 Car collided with turn two wall during the 2nd practice on Friday shredding the right side of the Motorola #7 Dolra. Patrick was not injured and was release from the infield care center. Due to the damage to Patrick’s primary car she used the backup car and started in the rear of the race field. On Saturday’s Patrick finished in 11th place. “Considering the fact that started from the back of the field, I’m happy with an 11th place finish. It was difficult getting through traffic at the start of the race, but that is what I expected. All-in-all, the Motorola car did very well!”
Milka Duno (#23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) started 18th and later made heavy contact with the Turn #2 wall with the right side of the car on Lap 134. Duno was not injured and commented “I think the right front of the suspension broke because there was no reason. I was just turning and the car went straight into the wall. I’m sure it was the suspension because the car went down and straight into the wall.”
Three races remain in the Indy championship season and
Dixon has extended his lead to 78 points over Castroneves Penske Racing. "Obviously, with a 78‑point lead now, I think it's pretty healthy, but anything can happen," Dixon said after visiting Victory Circle at Kentucky Speedway for the first time.
"Helio could quite easily have gained on us and made it more of a fight. With Sonoma and Chicago and Belle Isle, tracks that those guys are very good at as well, we are going to make sure we don't lose too many points. But it would be nice to gain a couple on Helio in Sonoma and maybe we only need 82 points or something to have it sewn up (heading to Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 7th). That would be nice, but in reality, I think we'll be racing almost till the last race."
This was Scott Dixon’s 16th victory in his IndyCar Series career.
This is the 24th IndyCar Series victory for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Ryan Briscoe and Danica Patrick, who finished seventh and 11th, respectively, are eliminated from championship contention.
Helio Castroneves finished second for the third consecutive race.
Dixon and Castroneves are the only driver to record 12 top-five finishes this season.
Marco Andretti finished third, his sixth top-five finish of the season and the 20th top-10 finish of his career. He has made 45 starts.
Vitor Meira finished fourth, his second top-five finish of the season. His best finish was second at Indianapolis
Dan Wheldon finished fifth, his ninth top-five finish of the season.
BRISCOE, CASTRONEVES SWEEP TOP SPOTS AT MID-OHIO
Photo By Mark & Yolanda Rotor
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sunday, July 20, 2008 – Ryan Briscoe earned his second IndyCar Series victory of the season, and Helio Castroneves finished second in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance to earn Team Penske a sweep.
The teammates started in reverse order on the front row for the 85-lap race on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit. Castroneves led the first five laps on rain tires, but relinquished the lead to Vitor Meira on Lap 6 after the Panther Racing driver pitted earlier to change to racing slicks.
Briscoe led 18 laps in the middle of the race and came out at the head of the pack as the competitors cycled through green flag pit stops from Laps 56-60. Briscoe built as much as a nine-second lead in the final laps, claiming the victory by 7.2640 seconds.
The result marked the second consecutive weekend that teammates have finished 1-2 in the IndyCar Series. Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon finished 1-2 July 12 at Nashville.
Dixon, last year’s winner at Mid-Ohio, finished third. His lead over Castroneves in the championship was cut five points to 58.
KV Racing Technology teammates Will Power and Oriol Servia finished fourth and fifth, respectively, while Vitor Meira, Tony Kanaan, Darren Manning, Hideki Mutoh and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top 10.
Also on July 20, James Davison won a bizarre Firestone Indy Lights race that had three different drivers lead the final three laps.
A wet course due to heavy rain immediately before the race led to numerous cars going off course throughout the 20-lap race.
Pole sitter Jonny Reid led the first 16 laps before he was passed by Mitch Cunningham. Cunningham led Laps 17-18 but spun off course with two laps to go. Reid was the leader when the white flag flew, but mistakenly headed to pit lane before taking the checkered. Davison, who started seventh, was the beneficiary and claimed his first career victory.
Wade Cunningham finished second, and Pablo Donoso finished third. Richard Antinucci finished 14th and took a one-point lead in the championship over Raphael Matos, who finished 18th.
Graham Rahal had a two-part idea a few weeks ago to honor film legend, philanthropist and IndyCar Series team co-owner Paul Newman for the race at Mid-Ohio with a special helmet paint scheme.
Photos By Mark & Yolanda Rotor
Battistini Sling-Shots to Victory in Firestone Indy Lights JELD-WEN 100 Race…Battistini Charges to Lights Series Points Leader.
By Mark Rotor
With fourteen laps until the checkered flag, Arie Luyendyk Jr was passed by the unrelenting Dillon Battistini of Panther Racing to win the Jeld-Wen 100 on Saturday at the Iowa Speedway. Luyendyk Jr. the son of two time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk Sr., lead the first 101 laps until the #15 car of Dillon Battistini sling-shot pass Luyendyk Jr’s. #26 Andretti Green/AFS car blocked lap traffic.
Battistini said after his win, “I'm just amazed. What a race; I really enjoyed that. Our cars were very close to matching pace. I new it was my best chance to get past (Luyendyk). I tried staying right on his gearbox when we were catching lap traffic. My hope was that he’d have to back off and I would be able to stay flat. That’s luckily for me, how it worked out. But, I feel sorry for Arie – there wasn’t much he could do, but he drove a great race.”
James Davison driving the #11 car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports was in the middle of the controversy as race leaders Battistini and Luyendyk attempted to pass lapped car of Davison on lap #101 of the race. Luyendyk stated, “It wasn’t easy for you (Battistini) to get around Davison either. When he cleared me, you know, you were being blocked by Davision as well. That gave me an opportunity. But luckily for you (Battistini), it went yellow. I think that, in general, is just unsportsmanlike driving.” "Guys just wouldn't get out the way. If you're in the back, just move out of the way. I cannot believe (James) Davison could not let me by. And he wouldn't let Dillon (Battistini) by either when he was up front. It just messes up our race. We had a clean, fast race car. Andretti Green/AFS Racing did an awesome job. We rolled off the truck, and we were just fast. It just doesn't get any faster than that. It's just frustrating when you have 10 car lengths on a guy for the lead with eight to go, and you come up on lapped traffic and you lose the race."
After a yellow caution flag on lap 106 when Jonny Ried white striped the wall in turn #4, the race returned to green with two laps to go and Battistini charged across the finished line with Luyendyk in 2nd place and Ana Beatriz 3rd. Excitement continued on final lap of the race as Bobby Wilson of Team E racing team spun the #17 car 100 feet from the finish line. No injury to Wilson was reported and finished #16th for the race
The third place finish was captured by Ana Beatriz of Sam Schmidt Mortorsports, tied her career-best finish since St. Petersburg Grand Prix in April 2008. "It was really hard to pass on this track. I had to set up my passes. I would go back sometimes because I couldn't set up good. But the car was really good. The Healthy Choice Sam Schmidt crew worked perfectly, and my car was great."
In victory, Battistini collected Iowa Speedway’s JELD-WEN 100 winner’s trophy adding to his collection of top honors including victories at Homestead-Miami and Indianapolis. “This is Panther Racing's third victory of the season and 12th overall in Firestone Indy Lights competition. Battistini now takes over the Indy Lights point’s leadership from Richard Antinucci of Sam Schmidt Mortorsports.
Ana Beatriz scores career best on Iowa oval
Through the first half of her initial Firestone Indy Lights season, Ana Beatriz has been soaking up the nuances of oval racing. A third-place finish, tying her series best, in the Jeld-Wen 100 on June 21 at Iowa Speedway was a milestone and stepping stone.Beatriz, driving the No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, started sixth in the 115-lap race. The Brazilian overtook Bobby Wilson for fourth on Lap 78 and Jeff Simmons for third 19 laps later.
"I think we've started really well this season," said Beatriz, who recorded her fourth top-10 finish in seven races. "We had a good race in Homestead. We got on the podium at St. Pete, led the race, which was amazing. After that we just had ovals. It was my lack of experience. So I just have to learn it, improve it. We had a hard weekend at Milwaukee (19th place). Now we have third place, so it's very good."
Four road course races (two each at Watkins Glen International and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) -- bisected by the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway -- are on the immediate schedule. Beatriz is more experienced on road courses, which could produce more top-five finishes. Still, to be a championship contender, challenging for wins on ovals is necessary.
That'll come, Beatriz says.
"I really trust in my car and my crew that they did a wonderful job," she said. "I'm improving a little bit slower (than three-time winner and fellow rookie Dillon Battistini of Panther Racing), but I'm improving. Let's work on it to try to win some races."
DIXON NEARLY PERFECT.. WINS WILD INDIANAPOLIS 500
Scott Dixon capped a nearly perfect month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the biggest win of his career – the 92nd Indianapolis 500 … The greatest spectacle in racing.The weather was nearly perfect for this year’s race, just like Dixon.
Early in May, Scott Dixon recorded the fastest practice lap. On Pole Day, he posted the best four-lap qualifying average, and on Race Day, he led 115 of 200 laps, including the final 29, to take the victory. You can’t do much better than that.
“What a day, man,” said Dixon, who took over the IndyCar Series points lead. “I just couldn’t believe it. You just thought something was going to go wrong. I’ve got to thank my wife, for sure. She’s put up with my moods. What a day. We seemed to have a good car. We just had to hold on to it and stay ahead of those guys on restarts. You’re just a sitting duck. There were so many yellows. It was so hard to get into a rhythm.
“I was trying to save fuel, and I was trying to see how the car was in traffic. We were trying to work on it the whole time. I think we had a little too much drag in it. But coming toward the end, as long as we got a good jump on those guys, I don’t think anyone was going to get past us. The Target guys did a fantastic job.”
Scott Dixon was exhilarated and screaming. He also felt alone, dazed by winning the Indianapolis 500.
A day after the biggest victory of his life, he took a more leisurely spin around Indy. He rode slowly around the 2 1/2 -mile oval on a white speedway bus, surrounded by microphones, notepads and cameras.
And Monday night, he received a check for almost $3 million, a record prize from the richest purse in open-wheel racing history.
“I don’t normally yell too often,” he recalled. “But I was definitely yelling and I had a few four-letter words in there as well to the team. Winning here, it’s like nothing else
“I keep saying to people that’s the funniest part of it because all you’re wanting to do is get back to the pits and enjoy it with everybody else. You feel so alone out there on that (cool-down) lap, and all you can do is talk to them on the radio.”
He’ll have plenty to talk about now.
The winner’s share of $2,988,065, announced at the annual victory dinner at the track Monday night, broke the record of $1,761,740 for Buddy Rice’s win in 2004. The total purse was $14,406,580, topping the $10,668,815 set last year. The only richer prize package in auto racing is for NASCAR’s Daytona 500 at about $18 million.
Dixon’s main competition early in the race was his Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon. Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner started in the middle of the front row, passed Dixon for the lead three times. Together, the Ganassi cars led 145 laps.
After Wheldon’s car started handling poorly in the middle of the race, Dixon’s stiffest competition came from Marco Andretti and later from Vitor Meira.
Nobody gave Meira a chance… “Nobody but me and the Delphi National Guard crew. We really, really prepared the car, and everything was according to plan. But things didn’t really happen our way. We finished second, but you know what, this is a very good result compared to the struggle we had last year and at the beginning of this season. Definitely, Panther Racing is back, and the big three better watch out.”
Team players?. Marco Andretti made a bold move that caused team mate Tony Kanaan to lose control and collect Sarah Fisher in turn 3 near the mid point of the race.
“In hindsight, it’s easy to point out mistakes in the race. I think as a team, we did an awesome job. I think the whole month, the Indiana Jones car was one of the ones to beat the whole month. It was a team decision to do what we did, but we missed. We messed up as a team. We finished third, got good points, let’s move on.” (Are you referring to decision to trim rear wing on last stop?): “Yeah, copy. That’s the thing: It’s easier said than done afterward. It’s a team decision. If you mess up, you mess up. We got good points. What are you going to do?” He failed to comment on the on track incident that caused the Kanaan crash.
Marco Andretti took home $782,065, also a record for third place. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished sixth, received $328,065, including a $25,000 award as rookie of the year.
Andretti, who finished second as a rookie in 2006, led twice for 15 laps, and Meira took the lead on Lap 160 following a restart when he sliced between Dixon and Ed Carpenter heading into Turn 1.
Vitor Meira led 11 laps before Dixon regained the lead for good on Lap 172. Meira finished second, tying his 2005 Indianapolis 500 finish, while Andretti finished third.
Helio Castroneves, a two-time winner of the race, was fourth, and Carpenter was fifth.
“Well, fourth place, definitely not what we expected. We tried everything we could. We had a little issue with the debris. I was trying to avoid a slow car; I slammed on the brakes instead of hitting him. I pulled away and a piece of the debris hit my front wing so we had to stop to change that. The team, let me tell you, wow, what a team. I can’t thank enough, Team Penske. What a great strategy. Tim Cindric and all my guys, led by Rick Rinaman, they were fantastic. We were patient. Unfortunately, overall, it was very difficult to pass. We were just trying to keep gaining spots. Wow, what an incredible team. I am extremely honored to be part of it. Now, let’s think about the championship. Scott did an excellent job. Ganassi seems to be the favorite team right now, but, hey, the championship is still a long way and we ’re going to continue working hard.” (About racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) “This race is amazing. This place is magic. I remember Cindric on the radio, saying, ‘Come on, man, we have work to do.’ I’m like: ‘What do you mean, buddy? Patience! I have to be patient so you have to be patient.’ This place is amazing. I have to thank the fans for the support and the warm welcome again. To be here again and finish in the top five for me is great, so thank you everyone.”
The enduring image from the 2008 Indy 500 most likely will be that of the 5-foot-1, 100-pound Patrick stomping toward Briscoe’s pit stall, ripping off her gloves, looking for a fight.
“It’s probably a better idea that I didn’t make it all the way down there anyway,” she said. “Because, well, as you guys know, I’m a little emotional.”
Danica Patrick and Ryan Briscoe won’t be going to dinner together anytime soon after an incident on pit row which took them both out of the race. Patrick was so hot, she strutted down the pit lane to confront Briscoe, but was finally brisked away by head of security and officials. She failed to make a comment at the time, but Briscoe spoke his side of the incident. "It's a real shame. I just saw the replay, and it confirmed my thoughts. We were both out there trying to win the Indy 500 today, and when it's time to go, we have to go. But from what I can see, there was still plenty of room on the right side for her to get around and there are people pointing fingers, but that's not the way we are. We both have a brake pedal in our cars, and from what I can tell, there was still plenty of room for her to get around me. I was trying to get around Wheldon, and I was staying in the middle lane. I got ran up in the back, and it's a shame."
Patrick started fifth and never ran above sixth once the race began. She complained repeatedly to her team about a slow car.
Later after Patrick cooled down she spoke of the incident. "I was going down pit lane, and as people pull out of their pit boxes if you are in the outside lane, then they have to wait to blend in. From what I know, it looked like it was pretty obvious what happened. What are you going to do? The guys worked so hard today. We worked so hard on the car all month. Unfortunately, we didn't get to show for it in the end. Congrats to (Scott) Dixon. He was strong all month and he deserves it." (About what she would like to tell Ryan Briscoe): "It is probably best I didn't get down there anyway, isn't it?" (About her day): "The unfortunate thing is we worked our butts off all month. We were creeping forward slowly, but surely. After the little mishap in the pits early and struggling with the car, but from what I can tell it seemed like it was relatively obvious what happened. You just don't come out of you r pit box and swing three lanes out. That's why there is a 'get up to speed' lane and an 'at speed' lane. I was at speed." (About what she wants to say to Ryan Briscoe): "We will see if he can find me first."
Milka Duno was the highest finishing woman at the race. "For my second time at the Indianapolis 500, I am excited to have finished this classic race. Throughout the race, we were in good contention and made routine pit stops and tire changes. It was during Lap 168 that the No. 91 car (Buddy Lazier) essentially forced me to go on the apron. His tire made contact with my front wing and tires. I was able to control the spin, and no major damage was done to the car. The CITGO car was brought back to the garage, and I took off running through the pits to meet the team. The guys did a tremendous job to getting the car back out. Their efforts allowed us to gain two positions back on the track to finish 19th."
There were six crashes during the race involving seven drivers. None were injured.
92nd Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS - Results Sunday of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 IndyCar Series event May 25 at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (1) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
2. (8) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
3. (7) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
4. (4) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
5. (10) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
6. (20) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
7. (9) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
8. (17) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
9. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
10. (12) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
11. (25) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
12. (2) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
13. (23) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
14. (18) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
15. (29) Enrique Bernoldi, Dallara-Honda, 200, Running
16. (21) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 199, Running
17. (32) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 195, Running
18. (28) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 194, Running
19. (27) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 185, Running
20. (15) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 184, Running
21. (31) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 180, Running
22. (5) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 171, Contact
23. (3) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 171, Contact
24. (11) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 156, Mechanical
25. (19) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 151, Contact
26. (26) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 139, Mechanical
27. (16) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 132, Contact
28. (24) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Honda, 112, Contact
29. (6) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 105, Contact
30. (22) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 103, Contact
31. (30) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Honda, 79, Contact
32. (33) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 59, Contact
33. (13) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 36, Contact
A New Tradition at INDY?...NO!!
BATTISTINI WINS SPIRITED FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100
Dario Franchitti will return to the IndyCar Series in 2009 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing for his sixth season.
"I'm very excited to be coming back to the IndyCar Series. I think the unified series is excellent news. I think the schedule for next year was a big part of my decision, plus the chance to drive for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which is a great team. I have competed against the team for I guess 10 or 11 years in open-wheel. I know how difficult they are to beat. I'm really looking forward to being a part of the team going forward and having Scott as a teammate."
WILSON WINS DETROIT INDY GRAND PRIX
Castroneves second after penalty; Dixon fifth
Photo Photos By Dan Peters
Justin Wilson didn’t let a steering problem ruin his day. The IndyCar Series rookie turned only two laps in the morning warm-up due to the problem, but went on to lead the final 15 laps of the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone in the afternoon to claim his first IndyCar Series victory.
“It was a long tough day, but we managed to stay clean, and we got great strategy and good pit stops. The McDonald’s team was doing a fantastic job. I was so desperate to get a victory this year, my first one in IndyCar (Series) and my first one with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. This means a lot. It’s the most important win of my career.”
(About competition with Castroneves): “Helio was racing hard. The first yellow, I was right behind him and that’s how it goes. It was just hard racing. The second time I got a good run out of (Turn 12) and started to overlap, and I had the inside for the next corner. Before we got halfway down the straight, he started to come across and I had to lift or we both were going to crash. I was a little upset at the time, but I was relieved w hen the officials put it right.” Said Wilson
Wilson started fourth and moved into second on Lap 60. After a restart on Lap 69, Wilson put pressure on Helio Castroneves, who led a race-high 53 laps. Wilson made two attempts to pass on Lap 72, but was rebuffed by Castroneves who went low and then back high. Race officials penalized Castroneves one position for blocking, and Wilson took the lead on Lap 73.
Castroneves, who finished second for a record eighth time this season, gained 13 points on series points leader Scott Dixon to climb within 30 points of Dixon heading into the Sept. 7 championship season finale at Chicagoland Speedway.
“We finished second for the eighth time, but the point is we’re still in the hunt for the championship, and Team Penske is going to try everything we can to win it.” (About penalty): “Consistency is the only thing I ask for. I’ve been in this series since 2002, and we never had a situation like this. We always have a warning, and then if you do it again, then you’re going to be penalized. All of the sudden, I didn’t get any warning. It was, ‘Move over, or you’re going to be black flagged.’ It was uncalled for. I know that (Brian Barnhart) is trying to put pressure on and make everyone disciplined, but two races to go for the championship, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.” Said Castroneves.
Dixon led the first 18 laps after starting on the pole but shuffled back to 18th after his first pit stop and could never get back higher than his final position of fifth.
“I don't think it was much of a race, to be honest. It was pretty pitiful. The car was clearly quicker than anybody's. We were saving a ton of fuel up front and sort of having a merry old day, and that changed pretty quickly. We left with a half tank after that caution. I think I was probably the only person or maybe a couple of others. It's just a hard situation when you're in that point when nobody else pits and you have a lot of slower guys that pitted early on and have a lot of fuel and you have to try to pass them. That was pretty much the race. From that point on, we were just trying to pull up there.”
Tony Kanaan finished third and Oriol Servia finished fourth. Bruno Junqueira improved 17 positions from his 24th-place starting position to finish seventh.
“I have a bad flu, but starting eighth and finishing third is not bad. We’re in a battle for third place in the championship, and Dan (Wheldon) didn’t finish. It was a good result for us, and for the championship it makes it exciting, not just for first and second, but third and fourth as well.” Said Kanaan.
Wilson, who won four times during his career in the Champ Car World Series, was the ninth different race winner in the IndyCar Series, tying a record set in four other seasons.
For the first time this season, the pits of Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon are split.
Dixon is the in the pit stall closest to pit out while Wheldon is in the fourth pit. The two are separated by the pits for the two Team Penske cars.
“It’s the first time for us this year. The IRL has a rule about how the pits are selected. They’re selected based on owner’s points. You have the option on whether you want to average your positions or split your positions during the year. We chose to split at the beginning of the year. We did it because we knew if we had one guy in the championship at the end of the year we wanted to be as far downstream as we could be, whatever position that was. It’s OK because the people that we race with are all clean in the pits. We don’t have a problem with them. The only thing it probably affects is the communication between the two timing stands.” Said Mike Hull Team managing director for Target Racing.
INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE NOTES:
Danica had yet another bad day. After making contact with Vitor Miera in turn 8, her car went straight instead of right in turn 12.
Photos By Mark & Yolanda Rotor
Birthday Wishes Come True Dan Wheldon… Wheldon Wins IOWA CORN INDY 250
By Mark Rotor
The 30 year old Target Chip Ganassi race car driver Dan Wheldon really knows how to celebrate birthday! Wheldon claimed the Iowa Corn Indy trophy in Newton Iowa on Sunday, June 22 on his birthday.
"What a great day for Target Chip Ganassi Racing and a great birthday present for myself." Wheldon’s strategy to stay out during a caution flag with 60 laps to go placed the Target Chip Ganassi #10 car in position to run to the front of the pack past the Andretti Green Racing drivers Hideki Mutoh and Marco Andretti. "It was a good call not to do it, but Chip's (Ganassi) not here, so if they had called me in, I don't think I would have come in anyway."
Early in the race, Helio Castroneves Penske Racing and Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing swapped the race lead with Castroneves out front on the first twelve laps and Kanaan leading laps 16-51. However it was not to be a victory for either competitor on Sunday. On lap 211 of 250, Kanaan lost control of his Dolra in turn 2 as he pushed high into the turn and lost control hitting the wall. “I lost it. It’s tough to say because I may have heard someone say that something broke on the car, but I can’t really say.
I lost it coming into turn #1 behind Wheldon and Mutoh. It’s unfortunate because we were having a good race and we were competitive. I was setting myself up for the end of the race. Turn 2 has not been a good turn for me at this race.”
Castroneves ran in to difficulty with 20 laps to go when his right rear tire began to loose pressure requiring him to pit under green flag conditions causing him to plummet from 8 position to 14 position at the end of the race.
Hideki Mutoh's raced Wheldon to the checker flag taking 2nd place followed by his Andretti Green Racing teammate Marco Andretti who capture 3rd place. Mutoh archived his career-best finish with previous best finish of three sixth-place finishes. Mutoh in the #27 Formula Dream car stated, “I am very happy to finish second. I am almost there, so maybe next time.” Thus far Mutoh is the season leader in the Bombadier Rookie of the Year standings.
Teammate Marco Andretti pursued Mutoh for the final 10 laps of the racing aggressively running side by side with the #27 car of Mutoh. ”It’s good clean racing” said Andretti. “It had to be good for the fans. It was good fun out there. I am proud of the Blockbuster boys. We were towards the front all day and Hideki is on it this year for sure.” Running in traffic is tough. The track was pretty good. It was kind of what we set up for. We matched the setup with the conditions and how we thought the race would play out. It was completely different from last year.”
Danica Patrick finished 6th place on the day and initially gained advantage by staying out on the race track during yellow flag pit-stop on lap #189. With Wheldon and Andretti Green Racing teammate Mutoh, Patrick was 3rd from the front. However, on a restart with 24 laps to go Marco Andretti passed Patrick on low side and Scott Dixon passed high leaving Patrick behind eventually finishing 6th.
Andretti commented, “On the restart I knew I could trust my teammate. Danica was looking out for me and she could have made it very tough for me and put me below the line. When you get a good run, you got go with it, and I had a good run.” Andretti had his best finish since placing third in the Indy 500. Patrick said, "The Motorola car ran well today. I wish that I was able to keep position on the last restart, but what's done is done. I have to thank my crew for all their hard work. I just wish had a better finish."
Wheldon's win gave Target Chip Ganassi Racing its fifth win in nine IndyCar Series events this season. Wheldon and teammate Scott Dixon, who finished fourth, plan to donate their combined winnings (approximately $60,000) to the victims of Iowa's recent floods and tornados. Wheldon said "My wife and I drove from Chicago to here and we saw the flooding and it was just heartbreaking. I thought it was something that Scott (Dixon) and I should do and fortunately, we were able to."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dixon remains the IndyCar Series points leader, holding a 48-point advantage over Team Penske's Helio Castroneves.
· Dan Wheldon records his second victory of the season and the 15th of his career.
· This is the 21st IndyCar Series victory for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
· Marco Andretti recorded his third podium finish of the season. He finished second at Homestead-Miami and third at Indianapolis.
· This was A.J. Foyt IV's best finish of the season. His previous best was eighth at Kansas.
· Will Power finished ninth, his best finish on an oval this season. His previous best was 13th at Indianapolis and Texas. Power finished eighth at St. Petersburg.
· Graham Rahal finished 10th, his first top-10 finish on an oval.
· John Andretti finished 11th, his best finish of the season and the best finish ever for Roth Racing. The team's previous best finish was 13th with driver Jay Howard at Kansas and Motegi earlier this season.
Indy Racing League Invades the Legendary Milwaukee Mile
Briscoe Battles last Year's Winner Tony Kanaan..Photo by Mark Rotor
BRISCOE REBOUNDS FROM INDY …EARNS FIRST CAREER WIN.
300TH WIN FOR ROGER PENSKE
Ryan Briscoe was able to hold-off a hard charging Dixon on the legendary 1-mile oval at Milwaukee to earn his first career victory in the IndyCar Series and the 300th victory in motorsports for team owner Roger Penske.
Briscoe started 11th in the 26-car field. He doggedly made his way through the field, finally passing Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon for the lead on Lap 177.
Briscoe passed many cars...here he battles rookie jamie Camara.. ....and rookie Will Power .. Photos by Mark Rotor
Briscoe briefly gave up the lead on Lap 194 when he was the first car to cycle through a final round of green-flag pit stops. By the time everyone had made a stop, Briscoe was back in the lead for good on Lap 207. He took the checkered on Lap 225 under caution after pole sitter Marco Andretti and Ed Carpenter made contact on Lap 223 in an accident that also collected Indy 500 runner-up Vitor Meira. It was Meira’s second wreck of the weekend, his first was also in turn 2 during Saturday’s Pole qualifying.
Brisco was beaming with a huge smile in victory lane. “It feels so good to win, my first IndyCar (Series) win, and it feels so good to do it here in Milwaukee,” said Briscoe. “I’m really happy. Ever since Indianapolis, we had that get-together in pit lane, and it was really unfortunate. I was having a really good race and looking at a top-five (finish). We just had to put it behind us and move on to this race. It’s a long championship, and it’s just great. We were focused on this race. We knew we had a good car off of last year’s results of Helio (Castroneves) and (Sam) Hornish (Jr.). Just stayed focused in the race. It’s great to win my first race for Team Penske.”
Briscoe Battles rookie Graham Rahal Early in race...
Then, like last week at Indy Rahal finds the turn four wall
"Really, it shows the amount of work that has been done by so many people on the team, so many good drivers, so many good pit crews, all the way back,” Penske said. “When we think about winning the first Trans-Am and Indianapolis, and you just go on and think of the drivers that have been with us. It's pretty exciting. And to see Ryan be able to race clean with the 9 car with Dixon, it's a great day.”
Scott Dixon, who led 147 laps, finished second “It was a pretty good day for Team Target. We were dominant early on, and the car was really good early on in the stint. I think where we struggled was towards the end of the stint. It didn’t seem to be a problem early on, because the other guys were falling off, too. Briscoe, you got to give him credit. He drove the wheels off that thing. He could really take advantage of the high line when I tried a couple of times and nearly ended up in the fence. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time, to be honest. It was a hell of a race towards the end. I’m just glad it didn’t come down to traffic being the deciding factor, and it almost was with Briscoe almost being taken out by those guys crashing. It was a tough race. I’m a little disappointed we didn’t come up with the win, but it’s fantastic points for the championship.”
Tony Kanaan was third. Dan Wheldon was fourth and Helio Castroneves fifth.
“Definitely, (Ryan Briscoe’s) car was much quicker than mine. It’s good to see that he’s coming. Now it’s going to get better and better. This place is amazing; there are so many things happening. I broke the curse. Every time we were here, I’ve never been able to finish. Finally I’ve been able to finish, and fifth place is good enough for points. Not good enough for a win, but we’ll keep working hard.” Said Castroneves.
Dixon retains the IndyCar Series points lead with a 234-206 advantage over Castroneves as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the June 7 Bombardier Learjet 550k.
INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE NOTES:
Photo by Mark Rotor
· This is Ryan Briscoe’s first career victory in the IndyCar Series. His previous best finish was third at Watkins Glen in 2006.
· This is Team Penske’s 26th victory in the IndyCar Series and its first this season. The team’s last victory came at Texas last June.
· This is Roger Penske’s 300th victory in motorsports.
· Scott Dixon finished second, his fifth top-three finish of the season. Dixon led 147 laps today and has led 508 of the last 825 laps. He has led 100 or more laps in four consecutive races.
· Tony Kanaan finished third, his fourth top-five finish this season. This is his worst finish at Milwaukee in five races.
· Dan Wheldon finished fourth, his fourth top-five finish of the season.
· Helio Castroneves finished fifth. He is the only driver to record top-five finishes in every race this season.
· Oriol Servia finished sixth, his best finish in the IndyCar Series. His previous best finish was seventh at St. Petersburg.
· Justin Wilson finished seventh, his best finish in the IndyCar Series. His previous best finish was ninth at St. Petersburg and Kansas.
· E.J. Viso finished eighth, his best finish on an oval. His previous best finish on an oval was 14th at Kansas.
Local driver Wilson wins Fast paced Indy Lights Race.
Bobby Wilson takes the lead...and never looked back
Earlier in the day, Bobby Wilson, a native of nearby Oconomowoc, Wis., led 88 of 100 laps to win the Milwaukee 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. Wilson became the third driver to win in three seasons. It was the first victory for Team E.
“The Team E guys put together a great car this weekend. Our first win together couldn’t have happened at a better place than The Milwaukee Mile. I’m just ecstatic for the team. They did such a good job and put together a good car. It was like a walk in the park for me. I just kept the tires under me the whole time and drove to victory.”
Jeff Simmons finished second, and Raphael Matos finished third. Richard Antinucci remains the series points leader 193-192 over Dillon Battistini after the two finished 16th and 14th, respectively.
“We had a good car, especially on the long run. I had to work the tools to keep me good. We were quick. We had a shot of it there at the end. When our tires were cold, I was really, really loose. That hurt us on the first couple laps. We just came up a little bit short. I’m really happy. The guys on Team Moore Racing-Xtreme Coil Drilling do a great job. We just came up about 12 feet short.”
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE NOTES:
· Bobby Wilson earns his third career victory in Firestone Indy Lights. It is his first win on an oval. His previous wins came at Watkins Glen in 2006 and the Indianapolis road course in 2007.
· Wilson is the third driver to record victories in three seasons, joining Wade Cunningham and Jeff Simmons. Wilson and Cunningham are the only drivers to record wins in three consecutive seasons.
· Wilson led 88 laps today, more than the 39 laps he had led in his previous 36 Firestone Indy Lights starts.
· This is the first Firestone Indy Lights victory for first-year team Team E.
· Jeff Simmons finished second, his best finish since St. Petersburg 1 in 2006.
· Raphael Matos finished third, his best finish on an oval. His previous best was eighth at Homestead-Miami.
· James Davison finished a career-best sixth. His previous best was 11th at Kansas.
· Pablo Donoso finished a career-best eighth. His previous best was 12th at Kansas.
#22 Pablo Donoso leads the early stages of the Milwaukee 100 Indy Lights (Pro) Race
A Rahal and an Andretti have started on the front row in 13 Indy car races. The first time that Bobby Rahal started on the front row with an Andretti was July 1, 1984 at the Meadowlands. Bobby started second to Mario Andretti that day. Bobby sat on the front row with Mario on seven other occasions. Only once was Bobby on the pole and Mario second. That was at Michigan in September 1985. Bobby also sat on the front row five times with Michael Andretti. Rahal only started on the pole one of those times - at New Hampshire in 1992.
The No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car driven by Tony Kanaan is carrying the Direct Supply logo on its front wing this weekend as a sign of goodwill toward Sarah Fisher.
Direct Supply is a major sponsor of Sarah Fisher Racing. Kanaan and Fisher, in her first year as an owner/driver, were involved in an accident during the Indianapolis 500 that ended an emotional month for Fisher.
Direct Supply is based in Milwaukee, and CEO Bob Hillis was at The Milwaukee Mile today. He thanked Kanaan and Andretti Green Racing co-owner Kevin Savoree for their support.
Andretti Green Racing also has given an underwing to Sarah Fisher Racing.
Briscoe leads his first lap on an oval. He has previously led laps at St. Petersburg in April and Infineon in 2005.
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Bombardier Learjet 550k on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 10 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Jeld-Wen 100 June 21 at Iowa Speedway. The Milwaukee 100 will be telecast at 1 p.m. EDT June 5.
A few Laps at the Legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Max Papis is all smiles as he heads off on a Hot Lap with a media member.
Photos & commentary By Dan Peters
What better way to start out the 2008 Indianapolis 500 season? Taking a ride with a professional race car driver around the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
This was not just a leisurely ride, but what is called in racing circles a “Hot Lap” in the one of the 2008 Corvette’s that will pace the race on race day. Yes, this was a ride in one of the real Pace cars that will lead the 33 drivers to the green flag. What a ride it was.
Being an Indy veteran, this was my first time around the historic racing oval. It may have taken me thirty years, but now I can say I have been on the most famous race track in the world.
My driver was Max Papis. He is back at the Speedway for the first time since he raced here in 2006. When I strapped into Corvette, Max asked me if I would mind waiting a moment as he was sending a digital photo to his good friend Jimmie Johnson. He said “Jimmie will get a kick out of what I am doing here”
I looked at Max and smiled. He said “Are you ready?” I said lets do it. And the ride was on… They don’t call him “Mad Max” because he is mad, but because he has a really aggressive driving style. Our 2 laps in the Corvette were on the edge from the time we left Pit Row until we returned.
Max used a different line than Emerson, bringing the Corvette within inches of the outside wall in each turn. Had I opened the window and put my hand out, it would have touched the wall, that’s how close we were.
When I looked at the speedometer down the long backstretch, it was just pushing 160 mph. After the ride, Max said we reached a speed of 157, but I am sure we did hit 170 at times traveling the long front and back stretch. I think he may have been referring to our “Average Lap Speed” None the less, it was a ride I will never forget.
The Chevrolet Corvette that paces the race is nothing short of spectacular and in the hands of great drivers as Max and Emerson, the cars true colors were apparent. The Corvette is hands down the best sports car value in the United States , if not the world!
Me and my three lap ride
Papis earned the nickname "Mad Max" at the 1996 24 Hours of Daytona during his last stint at the end of the race.
Although his second-place Ferrari 333SP had been battered due to collisions, some of its bodywork held together by tape, Papis unlapped himself by passing the race leader (the Doyle Racing Riley & Scott-Oldsmobile driven by Wayne Taylor) and proceeded to bang out some of the fastest laps of the entire race. Taylor had already been nursing his car around the track due to an overheating problem and otherwise would have been able to cruise to a win, but Papis' relentless pace and the slowing Oldsmobile suggested that Papis could theoretically take the win from Taylor except that Papis' pace put his fuel consumption to the max.
One of the most startling sights ever at the 24 Hours of Daytona was Papis' full-speed shot (~200 mph) down the pit lane for fuel (pit lane speed limits were imposed the very next year). At the end of the race, Taylor still beat Papis by 64 seconds, but it was Papis' bravura performance that people talk about to this day and earned him the nickname "Mad Max".
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