IndyCar Series 2013
Scott Dixon thrust himself back into the thick of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Driver’s Championship battle, and Honda claimed the lead in the fight for the Manufacturers’ Championship with a dominant performance Saturday in Houston, Texas, as Dixon took his fourth and Honda’s ninth win of the season in the first of two 90-lap races on the Reliant Center temporary street circuit.
On a very hot and humid afternoon, Dixon spent the opening third of today’s 90-lap contest stalking early leader Will Power, then claimed the lead with a quicker service by his Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew and faster “out-lap” during the first round of pit stops. Dixon and Power continued to lead the field during the middle race segment, but Dixon was able to seize a big advantage when his second stop took place just before one of seven caution flags to wave today.
On the final restart, on Lap 77, Dixon rocketed away from second-place Simona de Silvestro, opening up a lead of more than 2.5 seconds in the opening lap. Dixon continued to pull away in the closing laps, as de Silvestro became embroiled in a battle for second place with the Honda-powered cars of Justin Wilson and Simon Pagenaud. But yet another yellow, with just three laps remaining, froze the field to the checkers.
Dixon’s win is a series-high fourth of the season, and closed him to within eight points of championship leader Helio Castroneves, with two races remaining in the season.
The late-race yellow ended Wilson’s chances of finishing second, but the Dale Coyne Racing driver still posted his fourth podium finish of the season. Pagenaud also kept his championship hopes alive with a fourth-place finish for Schmidt Hamilton Racing. He goes into tomorrow’s 90-lap race third in the championship, 50 points behind Castroneves with 104 points still in play.
Takuma Sato, who started on the pole for the Houston-based A.J. Foyt Racing team, led the first seven laps before a cut tire forced an early pit stop and ended his chances at victory. After a crash in practice Friday, Josef Newgarden battled his way through the field to finish fifth for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, his second consecutive top-five result this season. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan duo of James Jakes and Graham Rahal finished sixth and seventh, respectively, as Honda drivers and teams claimed seven of the top eight finishing positions.
Honda Fastest Seat in Sports winner Morris Feigel from Edmond, Oklahoma, led the field prior to the green flag in the two-seat Honda IndyCar driven by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk.
Today’s race was the first of a double header weekend in Houston. Sunday’s 90-lap contest, the 18th and penultimate round in the 2013 season, starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
|1||Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|2||Simona de Silvestro (KV Racing Technology)|
|3||Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|4||Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports)|
|5||Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing)|
|6||James Jakes (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)|
|7||Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)|
|8||Sebastien Bourdais (Dragon Racing)|
|9||E.J. Viso (Andretti Autosport)|
|10||Luca Filippi (Barracuda Racing/Bryan Herta)|
|11||Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|15||Dario Franchitti (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|16||Mike Conway (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|17||Takuma Sato (A.J. Foyt Racing)|
|22||Tristan Vautier (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)|