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INDYJune 15, 2003
American IndyCar Series Round 6
Pikes Peak International Raceway

Kanaan Retains Grip on Series with Second Place

The setting for the Honda Indy 225, Round 6 of the IndyCar Series, was Pikes Peak International Raceway, built in 1997 in Fountain, Colorado, just east of the Rocky Mountains. Honda Indy V-8 driver Tony Kanaan gained a successive second place after last week's race in Texas, his third of the season, and has not only held onto his points lead, but has extended it from 26 to 49 points. Teammate Dario Franchitti just missed out on the podium in his comeback race finishing fourth. Kenny Brack was seventh, while Roger Yasugawa and Greg Ray crossed the line in 17th and 18th respectively and Dan Weldon finished 19th after spinning off on lap 214.

Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) won the race, his second victory of the season following his success in the opening race.

In the rarified atmosphere of this plateau 1800m above sea level, any engine power over 100 HP was lost. There was also reduced downward force from the wings due to the lower air density, making it difficult to achieve stable handling. On the other hand, the reduced air resistance made it easier to go faster, and the average speed for one lap was about 180mph, not unlike Round Two at Pheonix which is also one mile long. The race was a two-day event. Although the sun was out for Saturday's practice, qualifying was cancelled due to a sudden downpour and the starting grid was determined based on the second practice run times. Pole position went to the only driver with a lap time under 20 seconds, Tony Kanaan. Dario Franchitti, returning from injury, was seventh on the grid followed by Kenny Brack in eighth. Roger Yasugawa, Greg Ray and Dan Weldon lined up 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.

The race got underway cleanly at 2:00pm, and there were few full-course cautions in what turned into a fierce battle with the drivers using the 10-degree banks to reach high speeds. The tyres began to wear as the laps went by so all the drivers' lap times fell, and those whose times fell the least moved up to the front. Of the Honda Indy V-8 drivers, Kanaan remained in the top group throughout while Franchitti also drove a steady race. Yasugawa, 11th on the grid, put his early pit strategy to good effect in improving his position. He continued to battle in the top five until the restart with only five laps to go, when his rear wing suddenly broke and he made contact with the wall. This brought out a full-course caution for the remain laps so second-placed Kanaan did not get a final chance to overtake Dixon. Brack was struggling with his handling as he finished in seventh. Ray was lapped after he stalled during his first pit stop and took a long time to restart, and he eventually crossed the line in 18th position.

American IndyCar Series Round 6
Pikes Peak International Raceway

1 Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
2 Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing)
3 Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Team Penske)
4 Dario Franchitti (Andretti Green Racing)
5 Sam Hornish Jr. (Pennzoil Panther Racing)
6 Tora Takagi (Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing)
7 Kenny Brack (Team Rahal)
8 Tomas Scheckter (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
9 Buddy Rice (Red Bull Cheever Racing)
10 Buddy Lazier (Hemelgarn Racing)
17 Roger Yasukawa (Super Aguri Fernandez Racing)
18 Greg Ray (Access Motorsports)
19 Dan Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing)
Tony Kanaan
Tony Kanaan

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