Dixon wins at Kentucky with ....

last lap pass on Castroneves

Scott Dixon passed Helio Castroneves exiting the final turn of the 200-lap Meijer Indy 300 to earn his record-tying sixth victory of the season. The victory also extended Dixon’s lead to 78 points over Castroneves in the race for the season championship with only three races remaining

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            Dixon, who led 151 laps after starting from the pole, found himself running third for most of the final 30 laps. When he came out of the pits after a splash of fuel on Lap 194, he was more than six seconds behind Castroneves, who had last pitted on Lap 143. Castroneves ran out of fuel on the final lap and couldn’t hold off the charging Dixon. It was the seventh second-place finish of the season for Castroneves.

            Marco Andretti, who led 38 laps, finished third, and Vitor Meira, who started second, finished fourth.

            Dan Wheldon, who is third in points, finished fifth, and Tony Kanaan, who is fourth in points, finished eighth. Ryan Briscoe (7th) and Danica Patrick (11th) were eliminated from title contention.

            Also on Aug. 9, Dillon Battistini won his fourth Firestone Indy Lights race of the season, moving up from the fourth starting position to pass for the lead on Lap 2 of the 67-lap, 100-mile Kentucky 100.

            James Davison, who won the most recent race at Mid-Ohio, finished second, and Arie Luyendyk Jr. finished third.

            Points leader Richard Antinucci finished fourth, giving him a four-point advantage over Raphael Matos, who finished sixth.

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            A.J. Foyt is sporting the gray stubble of a beard in development.

            When driver Darren Manning, with a few weeks head start on his team owner, asked when the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner was going to shave, Foyt didn’t skip a beat: “When you win a race.”

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            Scott Dixon has taken the CanTeen Bandanna Challenge and designed a bandanna for the Oct. 17-31 fundraiser for the New Zealand national peer support network for 13-24 year old patients, siblings and bereaved siblings living with cancer.

            Celebrities including Donald Trump, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Roger Federer have taken the challenge and donated signed bandannas. The bandanna is a symbol for CanTeen because many young people choose to wear them after losing their hair as a side effect of cancer treatments.

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            Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan was a willing participant in Ryan Donohue’s clever plan to propose to longtime girlfriend Kerri Wilson at Kentucky Speedway.

            Wilson, a diehard Kanaan fan, approached the Team 7-Eleven driver during the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and asked for a pair of driving gloves. Kanaan said to catch up with him at another race, which set the wheels in Donohue’s mind in motion.

            “I e-mailed (Kanaan’s assistant) and told her we were coming to the Kentucky race (from Indianapolis) and asked if she could do me a favor,” Donohue said. “I asked if she would put the engagement ring in a glove so when Tony gave it to her I would ask Kerri to marry me.”

            Kanaan suggested Wilson try on a glove, and as she did she pulled out the engagement ring. That’s when Donohue’s right knee met the blacktop and he proposed.

            “I thought maybe TK had lost his wedding ring in the finger of the glove,” Wilson said through tears. “This is unbelievable.”

            “You almost made me cry,” Kanaan said as he autographed the gloves.

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            The #25 RLR/Andersen Racing entry driven by J.R. Hildebrand has been moved to the rear of the field for tonight's Kentucky 100 after the team changed engines after qualifications.

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            Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman presented the Paul Dana Leadership in Biofuels Award to all of Indiana's corn and soybean farmers for their help in making the state a national leader in the biofuels industry. The Paul Dana Leadership in Biofuels Award honors the memory of Indy Racing League driver Paul Dana, a strong supporter of Indiana's growing biofuels industry who was killed in a racing accident in 2006. Dana was an advocate of biofuels, and each year an individual or group is recognized in his honor for their work in the biofuels industry.

            The Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn accepted the 2008 Paul Dana Leadership in Biofuels Award on behalf of Indiana's corn and soybean farmers. The Indiana Soybean Alliance manages Indiana's soybean check-off program and also has a separately funded membership and policy committee to represent soybean farmers on issues affecting the soybean industry. Indiana Corn represents both the Indiana Corn Growers Association, a voluntary membership organization promoting the interest of corn growers in the state, and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the organization managing Indiana's corn check-off funds.

            BECKY SKILLMAN (Indiana Lt. Governor): "Paul Dana was a hero to so many, as an IRL driver, a personality and an advocate for biofuels. He made a difference and was an inspiration. In a very short time, Indiana has become a national leader in the biofuels industry. Today we recognize the state's corn and soybean farmers who have helped Indiana achieve such success."

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            By leading Lap 1-2, #9 Dixon has become the fifth driver in IndyCar Series history to lead at least 2,000 laps.

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INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE NOTES:

This is Scott Dixon’s sixth victory of the season, tying Dan Wheldon (2005) for most victories in a season. This is Scott Dixon’s 16th victory in his IndyCar Series career. This is the 24th IndyCar Series victory for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Dixon extends his lead in the championship point standings to 78 over Helio Castroneves. Ryan Briscoe and Danica Patrick, who finished seventh and 11th, respectively, are eliminated from championship contention. Helio Castroneves finished second for the seventh time this season, including the third consecutive race. Dixon and Castroneves are the only driver to record 12 top-five finishes this season. Marco Andretti finished third, his sixth top-five finish of the season and the 20th top-10 finish of his career. He has made 45 starts. Vitor Meira finished fourth, his second top-five finish of the season. His best finish was second at Indianapolis. Dan Wheldon finished fifth, his ninth top-five finish of the season. Tony Kanaan finished eighth. Along with Dixon and Castroneves, Kanaan is the only other driver with 12 top-10 finishes this season. ***

INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE QUOTES:

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, first): “What a day. I think we tried to play it kind of safe and just be conservative. Even in traffic we really didn’t rush things. The car was fantastic. We didn’t have as much speed, actually, as we thought we did, especially in practice and qualifying. The car was super fast. We had a couple of guys that definitely sped up, with (Vitor) Meira and Marco (Andretti) toward the end, their cars were very fast. It was strategy in the end, it was crazy. There was no way we were going to catch him. He was half the track ahead of us. I knew our car was probably quicker than his, but not 20 miles per hour faster. It was nice to get it the way we did. I think about the run that Dario (Franchitti) had for the championship last season, and it’s nice to be able to be in that position after how we lost it last year.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, second): “We took a chance. I can't believe how close we were. Coming out of the last turn, the fuel pressure went on and I started to lift. I was just a few hundred yards short. I have to thank (Tim) Cindric and Team Penske for the great strategy. We did not have the car, unfortunately, so I'm extremely happy with second.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Meijer, third): “We have got to start capitalizing on these cars that can win these races. (Scott) Dixon had a bit of speed on us, but I think we had a better car in traffic. It was between him and I to win this race, and I think it is just unfortunate.”

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi National Guard, fourth): “Today was good. I think we were actually a little light at the beginning of the race, but we were ahead, so that actually offset it. Everyone did a good job, and we can’t complain. Everyone wanted to win, and we put ourselves into position to do that. It was a good finish, and this gives us momentum going into the next race and the rest of the season. We gained points, and we gained everything else, so we are happy that we had an overall good day even though we would have liked to see the win.”

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Polaroid, fifth): “It was a very competitive race, and I am really happy for Scott Dixon and all the guys at Target Chip Ganassi. I was having trouble finding speed, and Tony (Kanaan) just wasn’t going to let me have it easy, but that’s good racing. I didn’t seem to quite have enough. It was a good race. We lost a lot of spots in the pits on that last one, and it is difficult to get them back. It seemed I had it going pretty good in the draft, but when I got outside I wasn’t quite quick enough. It was a competitive race, and it seemed like we rode pretty well, just a little bit short.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, sixth): “It was fun, clean racing out there tonight. I raced hard with Hideki (Mutoh) and TK (Tony Kanaan), (Dan) Wheldon and (Ryan) Hunter-Reay. I should be happier with a sixth-place finish than I am, but we came here really wanting to get on the podium or battle for a win. It was a good day, and we made up some ground on points. A couple of the other cars were a little quicker than me late in the race. We may have had a little too much downforce in the car late in the race when the track was in the shadows, but the Menards car was a really good car tonight. It's a good finish to get on an oval and score some points. How we'll just head go to Sonoma and Detroit and figure out how to do the same.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, seventh): “Team Penske did a great job today. We had a solid, consistent run and the car was handling very well. It was definitely fun out there; there was a lot of side-by-side racing and it really was quite exciting. I think we had a solid car, we just didn't quite have to speed to run in the top three or four. We would've liked a bit higher finish, but the important thing is we earned some valuable points out there and maintain our fifth-place standing in the championship.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, eighth): “This was a difficult night for us, especially in the early stages of the race. My guys worked hard throughout the race to make the Team 7-Eleven car better, and we were able to get more and more competitive as the night went on.  Obviously an eighth-place finish was not what we were looking for, though.”

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE NOTES:

This is Dillon Battistini’s fourth victory of the season, most of any Firestone Indy Lights driver. His last victory came at Iowa Speedway in June. Battistini, who had fallen from first to sixth in points, moves back into third. This is the second consecutive victory at Kentucky Speedway for Panther Racing. The team won last year with Hideki Mutoh. This is the 13th Firestone Indy Lights victory for Panther Racing. James Davison finished second, his second consecutive top-two finish. He won at Mid-Ohio. Arie Luyendyk Jr. finished third, his fourth podium finish of the season. Points leader Richard Antinucci finished fourth. Raphael Matos, who is second in points, finished sixth after starting on the pole. ***

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE QUOTES:

DILLON BATTISTINI (No. 15 National Guard Delphi, first): “I knew it was going to be hard to pass on this track. I have to admit, (Raphael) Matos has been really strong in qualifying and practice throughout the weekend. I knew there was a chance at getting him at the start, and luckily I pulled that off and was able to hang on. I don't know why he wasn't behind me. Maybe something happened, but I don't know the story yet. I still had to fight off some really strong competition. Luckily, we were strong enough to hang on to the lead.”

JAMES DAVISON (No. 11 Lifelock/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, second): “I think we definitely deserved to be up there. We've been strong on ovals lately. A strong oval finish has been important to me, and that hasn't been something I've been able to do so far this season, for one reason or the other. I just want to thank Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Lifelock, my fellow Australian engineer I've been working with this weekend, Tim Neff. I could have maybe taken a bit of a chance by jumping Dillon (Battistini) on the restart, but I didn't want to end up losing a position, so we held on to a safe second.”

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, third): “It was a great race. All of our cars are strong in the front. I think it just came down to track position. Dillon (Battistini) got a great start. He snuck up on me on the inside. I didn’t expect him to be there, and he got the lead and it was hard to get around him after that. It’s a third podium in a row on ovals for me, so I feel pretty good. We just need to get the first place. Hopefully that comes at Infineon or Chicago.” (About his knee surgery): “I didn’t think about it too much until the yellows, and it started aching a little bit, but it feels good. It feels good getting third, so for a few hours it’s not going to really matter.”

RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fourth): “A top-four, it’s very good. I’m thankful to the whole team – Sam Schmidt, Lucas Oil, LifeLock. It was just awesome. The car felt so good. I could go inside, outside. Once you get to the front, it’s tougher to pass. On the long runs, I had the best car by far. It’s just that (James) Davison and (Dillon) Battistini made it hard to get around them. With two cars, it was a two-lane race. I was trying to help James. I almost got both of them at one point. I tried to pass Davison on the outside with three laps to go going into Turn 1, and Arie (Luyendyk) got underneath me. He had the slip stream on me, and I got boxed to the outside. Still, I’m excited about the finish.” (On the championship): “We’ve still got the points lead. We’re first. It’s awesome. We’ll just go to Sonoma and look to bui ld on our points lead there. I had a lot of success on that track last year, and I think it will be a good venue for me.”

BRENT SHERMAN (No. 16 National Guard Delphi, fifth): “It’s no fun starting at the back. I feel like if I didn’t use my stuff up coming through the field I probably would have had a shot at the podium and probably would have battled my teammate for the win. The car was awesome, I just ran out of time. Those cautions killed me. We had a really, really good setup on the car. It was really fast. I just like making it hard on myself. At the start, I don’t know what happened. It didn’t start, so we had to come back up through the field and they’re like, ‘Everyone knows you’re coming through,’ and the 22 car just swerved right in front of me. It was either hit him in the side or spin out, so I spun out and they made me go to the back. I don’t really agree with that. It’s also drivers not listening to their spotters and letting them know that we’re coming up through the field. It’s just a tough deal. But a top-five (finish) isn’t bad. I guess I’m happy.”

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers): “It was a little bit frustrating, but I was expecting it because my car lost positions on the start. The yellow flags kind of made us struggle a little bit, and my car wasn’t good on the restarts. My car came back to me at the end of the race, and I was able to gain a little bit of ground, and I was able to attack, but I just ran out of time. But the important thing is with this race I was able to gain some good points. I finished sixth and Antinucci finished fourth. The good thing is that I am only four points behind, and there are still plenty of races, and we can improve and are real quick on the road courses, and we are still in the fight for the championship. I feel great about going into the next couple of races. We have been doing good everywhere and on the road courses, so Chicago should be good for us as well.”

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           The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County Aug. 24 at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with a doubleheader Aug. 23-24 at Infineon Raceway. The races will air at 5 p.m. Aug. 28 on ESPN2. The Kentucky 100 will air at 2 p.m. Aug. 14 on ESPN2.


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