Three in a Row for Honda, Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Scott Dixon dominated Sunday’s second round of the Honda Indy Toronto IZOD IndyCar Series race weekend, scoring his third consecutive race win in the process and moving both himself and Honda into the thick of their championship battles with six races remaining.
Starting from the pole in the first standing start since INDYCAR adopted the Dallara DW12 chassis in 2012, Dixon rocketed into a lead he would only surrender during normal pit-stop rotation, and survived two late-race restarts to score his 32nd career Indy car victory, leading all current drivers and placing him seventh on the all-time win list. Dixon also moves into second in the Drivers’ Championship, 29 points behind second-place finisher Helio Castroneves. Honda, meanwhile, closed the gap in the Manufacturers’ Championship to just three points.
Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Dario Franchitti, completed the comeback performance of the day. The four-time series champion started on the outside of the front row, but lost ground following the standing start and then damaged a front wing in contact with Castroneves. Forced to pit for a new nose and front-wing assembly, Dario clawed his way through the field to finish fourth and also gain ground in the championship fight.
Following his second-place finish last week on the Pocono Raceway oval, Charlie Kimball completed another strong finish in Toronto, taking the checkers sixth in his NovoRapid FlexTouch Honda Dallara, as he successfully worked his way through a multi-car crash on Lap 84 that caused the race to end under the caution flag.
Detroit race winner Mike Conway was the biggest winner in the closing lap chaos, jumping from 11th to seventh, just ahead of his Dale Coyne Racing teammate, Justin Wilson, who was briefly delayed in the stack up involving defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, and Takuma Sato, who was an innocent victim in the crash that cost him a 10th-place finish.
With the second of the season’s three doubleheader race weekends now complete, the IZOD IndyCar Series takes the next two weeks off. Indy cars return to the United States for the balance of the 2012 season, starting with the August 5 Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Racing Honda Dallara) started 1st, finished 1st; his 3rd consecutive victory in 2013 and 32nd career Indy car win, 7th on the all-time win list, leading all active drivers: “What a crazy couple of weeks! It’s completely turned around our championship effort – first Pocono [last week] and now both days here in Toronto. I’m just so happy for the team, thanks to them, and Honda. It was a little harder [to win] today, warmer and a faster [race] pace, so we definitely had to hang in there. But we’re second in the points now and have a lot of momentum going into Mid-Ohio. Once again, I want to thank everyone for coming out today. Toronto fans are something special.”
Charlie Kimball (#83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara) started 15th, finished 6th: “What a great day. The guys did a great job with the [race] strategy and a great job in pit lane. All I had to do was drive, again, just like Pocono last weekend. They gave me a great car. We didn’t have the best start, but we stuck with our strategy, we stuck with the fuel mileage, and all we had to do was get [positions] when they were there. It was pretty tough out there today, with the heat and the doubleheader [format], so it was hard work, but the Honda engine was great and we’re already looking forward to Mid-Ohio for the next round.”
Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race and Honda’s sweep of both races at the Honda Indy Toronto: \"This turnaround is what Honda is all about. Never give up ... never say die. It’s a credit to everyone at Honda and Target Chip Ganassi Racing for sticking with the program and strengthening our convictions at a time when we were being questioned throughout the paddock. It’s really the spirit of what Mr. Honda was all about. But there’s a long way to go and we can’t be complacent. We’re looking forward to going to Mid-Ohio in three weeks’ time, and continuing our success in front of a large group of Honda associates.”