[Source: INDYCAR press release]
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014) – Scott Dixon tied Al Unser Jr. for sixth on the all-time Indy car win list with a dramatic last-to-first Verizon IndyCar Series win Sunday in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The win was the 34th of Dixon’s career and his fifth win at the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course in his last eight starts on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.
Dixon’s win from the 22nd starting position is the second-most positions gained by an Indy car race winner on a road/street course. Max Papis won at Laguna Seca in 2001 from the 25th starting position.
“Truthfully, I didn’t think it was possible,” said Dixon, who has won in 10 consecutive seasons. “Great pit stops by everybody on Team Target and the strategy was spot on once we got that (Lap 37) yellow. Long, hard-fought day but huge thanks to Chevy and obviously we got fantastic fuel mileage there, too.”
Verizon P1 Award winner Sebastien Bourdais finished second, hitting the finish line 5.3864 seconds behind the race winner.
“That was tough,” Bourdais said. “Hats off to Dixie (Scott Dixon) and the (Chip) Ganassi guys. We didn’t have anything for them. They were clearly the class of the field and deserve it. It is a one-two for Chevy so I couldn’t be any happier with the Mistic boys. We will keep rolling.”
Dixon gave Chip Ganassi Racing its first victory of the season and is the 10th different driver representing seven teams to win this season.
“We had a couple close calls in Iowa (fourth place) and Pocono (fifth place) and finally came through,” team owner Chip Ganassi said.
Hinchcliffe finished a season-high third in the No. 27 United Fiber & Data car and Andretti Autosport teammate Carlos Munoz placed fourth. Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio, earned his second top-five finish on a road/street course this season in the No. 15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Racing car.
“That start was pretty crazy,” Hinchcliffe said. “Going down into Turn 4 there, it was like the seas parted in front of me. I felt bad for the guys that got involved in that wreck, but it allowed us to get up there a little bit. The car was really fast, we were running off some really good lap times there. We got caught behind a couple of guys, and at some point we might have been able to pick one more spot up. I’m really proud of the United Fiber & Data guys.”
Will Power finished sixth to wrestle the Verizon IndyCar Series championship points lead from Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves. The door opened for Power before the green flag as Castroneves’ No. 3 Hitachi car pulled into its pit box with what was diagnosed as a stuck throttle. Castroneves joined the race four laps down and finished 19th.
Castroneves, who entered Round 15 ahead of Power by 13 points, heads to the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest on Aug. 17 four points back (548-544).
“At first, I thought the throttle issue was a quick fix because as soon as they started the car for ‘gentlemen, start your engines’ I knew there was something wrong,” Castroneves said. “Then, during the parade laps, I noticed that it was stuck. That could be a big problem and cause a big crash. When we came back down pit road we figured out it was a bigger problem. There was just a bit of a mistake in our fuel mapping. It was a tough race, knowing that I was on a lap by myself the entire time. We will just to rebound from this. We might have been knocked down but we will get back up. On to Milwaukee.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who looked to gain on the Team Penske duo with a strong result after starting fifth, also experienced misfortune when the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport car spun exiting Turn 11 on Lap 37 to bring out the second full-course caution. He finished 10th and holds down third in the standings by one point over Simon Pagenaud (485-484).
“It was one of those days we really needed to capitalize,” said Hunter-Reay, who has a series-high three wins this season. “We had to come through for a (pit lane speed) penalty and that put us back in the field. I had a spin. We recovered from that to put the DHL car in 10th, narrowed the points margin to the points leader but not enough. We’ll have to get pretty creative here the rest of the year.”
HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO POST-RACE NOTES:
· This is Scott Dixon’s first win in 2014 and his 34th career Indy car win. Dixon tied with Al Unser Jr. for 6th on the all-time wins list
· This is Dixon’s fifth win at Mid-Ohio. Previous wins were in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
· This is Chip Ganassi Racing’s 10th win at Mid-Ohio. The team has won the last six races here: Dixon (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014), Dario Franchitti (2010) and Charlie Kimball (2013).
· Dixon won from 22nd starting position, the furthest back the winner has ever started at Mid-Ohio. Al Unser Jr in 1995 and Juan Pablo Montoya in 1999 both started eighth when they won.
· This is not the furthest back that Dixon has started and gone on to win. In 2001 at Nazareth, Dixon started 23rd and won the race.
· Sebastien Bourdais finished second. It is his second podium finish of the season and best finish at Mid-Ohio. His previous best was fourth in 2012.
· James Hinchcliffe finished third, his best finish of the season. Hinchcliffe’s previous best was fifth at Belle Isle 2 and Houston 1.
· Carlos Munoz finished fourth, his fifth top-five of the season.
· Graham Rahal finished fifth, his second top-five of the season.
NEXT PAGE: Quotes from much of the field in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course