"Keeping Power In Sight"
August 8, 2010
Defending series champion, Dario Franchitti, reminded the field that his championship hopes are still alive by taking his second victory of the season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Despite only winning two races this season, Franchitti sits second in the standings, 41 points behind Penske standout Will Power, and 41 points ahead of Franchitti’s Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Dixon.
After showing speed during practice and qualifying, it was clear that Franchitti, who started the race from the second position, would be a factor during the event. Will Power edged out Franchitti and collected his seventh pole of the season while Takuma Sato continued to show flashes of raw speed by qualifying third in KV Racing’s throwback Lotus-liveried entry.
Sato took advantage of his qualifying position by taking second from Franchitti during the opening lap. Franchitti responded a few laps later by retaking the position in the first turn while Power continued to lead. Further in the field, rookie Simona de Silvestro continued to impress with a solid run in the eighth position, behind Penske’s Ryan Briscoe, while bigger names, including Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal, and Danica Patrick, ran near the tail-end of the field.
On lap 22 Alex Tagliani gambled and pitted as soon as the fuel window opened. Tagliani was rewarded when Justin Wilson and E.J. Viso tangled in Turn 4, leading to the first yellow of the race. While the leaders took to the pits under caution, Tagliani and Kanaan, who made an early stop on lap 9, took over the top two positions. Tagliani momentarily led under green before a second yellow emerged on lap 28 for Sato, who slid off line and into the tire barriers in the fourth turn. Tagliani again led for a few laps before Jay Howard wedged his Dallara in a gravel trap on lap 35.
Tagliani led the pack to the green on lap 37 and easily gapped Kanaan. Kanaan eventually pitted out of sequence at the halfway mark, handing second to Franchitti, who was followed by Power, Helio Castroneves and Briscoe. Franchitti methodically closed the gap to Tagliani as the second set of stops neared. By the time Tagliani pitted on lap 56, Franchitti was within one second of the leader. Because of a later first stop, Franchitti was able to keep his car on the track for four additional laps. That made all the difference as Franchitti led over Power, Castroneves, Tagliani, and Briscoe after teams completed their stops. Franchitti dominated the final stint of the race and held off Power, who made a late-race bid for the lead in the closing laps. The series heads to Sonoma’s undulating Infineon Raceway, a track where Franchitti sat atop the podium on his way to the 2009 championship.