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Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

 

 

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"Crushing the Competition"
by Esteban Morales

August 9, 2009

Scott Dixon earned his fourth win of the season by crushing the field at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the Honda Indy 200.  In the early going, however, it looked as though Justin Wilson was en route to collecting his second win of the season.  After qualifying on the outside of pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe, Wilson took the lead on lap 6 as Briscoe ran wide coming down the hill through Turn 9.  Wilson immediately drove away from Briscoe, who appeared to slow Dixon’s third place car.  By the tenth lap, Wilson opened a four-second lead that continued to grow until he pitted for tires and fuel on lap 28.

Though Wilson held onto the lead following the pit sequence, it was clear that Dixon was gaining momentum.  Dixon, who kept his Dallara on the course longer than Wilson and Briscoe, emerged in second following his stop.  Suddenly, Wilson, who switched from the red “option tires” to the standard blacks, found himself with a race on his hands.  Dixon immediately closed the gap to Wilson, who ran into lapped traffic.  As Wilson worked Milka Duno’s lapped car on lap 37, Dixon moved to the inside of Turn 4 and took the lead.  From then on Dixon controlled the remainder of the race.

Three laps after Dixon took the lead, Helio Castroneves spun into the gravel in the ninth turn.  Castroneves continued but the spin was enough for officials to throw the first yellow flag of the race.  The field temporarily went back to green on lap 43 before Mike Conway punted Danica Patrick off the course two laps later.  On lap 48 Dixon led the field to the final restart of the race ahead of Wilson, Briscoe, Graham Rahal, and Dario Franchitti, respectively.  Dixon easily opened a near three-second gap within five laps.  Wilson, who was not in a position to challenge for the lead, anticipated switching back to the “option tires” during his final stop of the day in order to mount a challenge.  Wilson managed to stretch his fuel to lap 62 but coasted into his pit stall after nearly running out of fuel.  When Wilson attempted to leave the pits, his car buckled and stalled, stranding Wilson for over 30 seconds.  Wilson ultimately rejoined the field in the fifteenth position and was not a factor for the remainder of the event.

The closing stages of the race unfolded relatively smoothly with Dixon in control until the checkered flags dropped.  Dixon initially led over Marco Andretti, who pitted on lap 74 due to an alternate fuel strategy.  Andretti rejoined in sixth while Briscoe, Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Hideki Mutoh made up the rest of the top five and finished in that order.  The victory catapulted Dixon into the points lead and marked Hunter-Reay’s best finish of the season driving for A.J. Foyt’s outfit.

Results:

  1. Scott Dixon
  2. Ryan Briscoe
  3. Dario Franchitti
  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  5. Hideki Mutoh
  6. Marco Andretti
  7. Paul Tracy
  8. Graham Rahal
  9. Raphael Matos
  10. Tony Kanaan
  11. Oriol Servia
  12. Helio Castroneves
  13. Justin Wilson
  14. Robert Doornbos
  15. E.J. Viso
  16. Dan Wheldon
  17. Ed Carpenter
  18. Richard Antinucci
  19. Danica Patrick
  20. Mike Conway
  21. Milka Duno