Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon cruised to victory in the 2015 Firestone 600, although the three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and one time Indy 500 winner said it was one of the most unpredictable in recent memory on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.
Dixon led 97 of the 248 scheduled laps to claim his second win of the 2015 IndyCar Series season and his second at Texas Motor Speedway in the fast-paced but processional race.
The 191.940 mph (308.897 kph) average speed set a track race record, which was aided by just one brief caution for debris on the front-stretch.
The first car to fall out of the race was the number 41 ABC Supply entry of AJ Foyt Racing’s Jack Hawksworth after suffering a mechanical issue. He was later joined by CFH Racing teammates Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden, whose entries both had engine failures within the space of two minutes of each other.
The #19 Dayle Coyne Racing entry of Tristan Vautier soon joined the CFH Racing duo in the garage area with a mechanical failure of his own.
As the race progressed, tyre management became critical as the teams tried many different pit strategies with under- and over-cuts. Laps as low as 188mph (302km/h) were being set by cars running on old tyres and longer stints as many were hoping for a yellow or two that just never came.
Dixon’s teammate Tony Kanaan finished 7.8 seconds behind in the number 10 NTT Group Chevrolet giving Chip Ganassi Racing a 1-2 finish. Team Penske’s Hélio Castroneves, who has won four times here rounded out the podium.
It was team owner Chip Ganassi’s 99th IndyCar victory. Dixon, who also won on the streets of Long Beach in April, stretched his streak to 10 years with multiple victories and picked up his 37th career win putting him just two wins away from equalling Al Unser Jr’s career record.
“It’s never easy. Even toward the second-to-last stint we were just trying to make changes to the car,” explained Dixon, who took the lead during the round of pit stops on Lap 194 and led all but one lap over the rest of the race.
“It didn’t start awfully good because we had a lot of understeer in the car, but once we got the balance right the car was basically on rails. With the pit stop exchange we got the lead and then the car was just very good in traffic and were able to keep the speed up. I knew once we got the balance right we could get up there and duel with Tony [Kanaan] to the end.
“This racing is great and you’ve got to give Firestone a lot of credit. They give us a tyre that is very durable and safe.”
Aside from Dixon’s dominance of the second half of the race, the first half saw plenty of lead changes between nine different drivers. His teammate Kanaan, who earned his 121st IndyCar top five finish, led 57 laps halfway through the race.
“[A] one-two for the team, I’m happy,” said Kanaan, a winner here in 2004. “It was a great race.”
Fourth-placed Juan Pablo Montoya increased his lead in the championship to 35 points over Team Penske teammate and reigning series champion Will Power (348-313), who fell to an eventual thirteenth after starting from pole position. The Australian sits just eight points clear of Dixon, who consolidated third place in the standings with his win on Saturday night.
Marco Andretti, who started in 11th place for Andretti Autosport, finished fifth for his third consecutive top-five finish.
|2015 IndyCar Series Firestone 600 – Final Classification (200 laps)|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||248||1:52:47.8511|
|2.||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||248||+ 7.8000|
|3.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||248||+ 9.9446|
|4.||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske||248||+ 10.4608|
|5.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||248||+ 26.0947|
|6.||Carlos Muñoz||Andretti Autosport||247||1 lap behind|
|7.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||247||1 lap behind|
|8.||Ryan Briscoe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||247||1 lap behind|
|9.||James Jakes||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||247||1 lap behind|
|10.||Gabby Chaves||Bryan Herta Autosport||246||2 laps behind|
|11.||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||246||2 laps behind|
|12.||Sage Karam||Chip Ganassi Racing||245||3 laps behind|
|13.||Will Power||Team Penske||244||4 laps behind|
|14.||Sébastien Bourdais||KVSH Racing||244||4 laps behind|
|15.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||243||5 laps behind|
|16.||Takuma Sato||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||243||5 laps behind|
|17.||Pippa Mann||Dale Coyne Racing||242||6 laps behind|
|18.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||241||7 laps behind|
|19.||Stefano Coletti||KV Racing Technology||239||9 laps behind|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Tristan Vautier||Dale Coyne Racing||156||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Josef Newgarden||CFH Racing||149||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Ed Carpenter||CFH Racing||147||Mechanicall|
|DNF.||Jack Hawksworth||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||62||Collision|
The grid will have its fourth weekend of racing on the trot when it crosses the border into Canada for the traditional visit to Exhibition Place in Toronto.
Images via IndyCar Series
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