No. 964
September 19, 2018
 

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The Line


Tuesday
Jul152008

THE LINE #454

July 16, 2008

arrowup.gifScott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing. Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Energizer Dallara/Honda/Firestone) mistakenly stayed out on a late-race caution, but he ended up taking the lead - and the win - because of it in the rain-shortened Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway last Saturday night. Dixon went into the lead on Lap 149 on the 1.33-mile oval and had enough fuel to stay in front until rain ended the race with 29 laps to go, giving him his third consecutive victory at the Nashville Superspeedway, his fourth this season and the 14th of his career. Dixon's teammate, Dan Wheldon (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing D/H/F) finished second as the race was red-flagged for the rain. It was the 100th automobile racing victory for Chip Ganassi Racing (22 in the IndyCar Series), and Dixon received his third hand-painted Gibson guitar trophy. Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske D/H/F), who started from the PEAK Motor Oil Pole, finished third followed by Tony Kanaan (No. 11 Andretti Green Racing Team 7-Eleven D/H/F) and Danica Patrick (No. 7 AGR Motorola D/H/F).

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(Ron McQueeney/IRL)
Scott Dixon scored his fourth win of the season and the 14th of his career in the rain-shortened Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway last Saturday night.

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(Dana Garrett/IRL)
Cindy McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain, visited Nashville Superspeedway last Saturday. She went for a ride in the Honda Accord Safety Car with three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Johnny Rutherford, attended the drivers meeting, toured the IndyCar Series garage area, enjoyed some private chat time with Danica Patrick and then watched the Firestone Indy 200. "Couldn't ask for a better day," Mrs. McCain said. "That was really fun, and it's amazing how he (Rutherford) can drive so fast while carrying on a conversation. It was a thrill for me (to meet Danica Patrick), and she lives in Phoenix. It was just wonderful to meet her; I've been a huge fan of hers and I wished her well the remainder of the year." 

arrowup.gifarrowup.gifarrowup.gifAna Beatriz, Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Also last Saturday, Brazilian Ana Beatriz became the first female driver to win in the Firestone Indy Lights series, winning the Sunbelt Rentals 100. Beatriz (No. 20 Sam Schmidt Motorsports/Healthy Choice) started second, passed Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate and polesitter James Davison on Lap 33 and then stayed up front the rest of the way. Bobby Wilson (No. 17 Team E Patriot Bank) finished second with Arie Luyendyk Jr. (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.) third. This is the first career victory for Ana Beatriz, who has adapted impressively to the Indy Lights series. Beatriz’ previous best finish was third, three times this season. “I just can't be more thankful for Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports for bringing me to the U.S.," Beatriz said. "I thought I would win at St. Pete, we were almost there. It's hard work. I'm with the best team and they have so much information on oval. I won my first race on an oval. It's amazing.” Next up for Indy Lights is the Mid-Ohio 100 doubleheader on July 19-20 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The races will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 24 on ESPN2. The Sunbelt Rentals 100 will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 17 on ESPN2.

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(Dana Garrett/IRL)
It was the first career victory for Ana Beatriz, who also became the first woman to win a Firestone Indy Lights race. 

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(Copyright © 2008, John Thawley ~ Creative Communications Group All rights reserved)

Publisher's Note: David Brabham (above) and Patrón Highcroft Acura ARX-01b teammate Scott Sharp captured the first ever American Le Mans Series overall race victory for Acura and their Connecticut based team at the Northeast Grand Prix at the newly configured and repaved Lime Rock Park last Saturday afternoon. Despite starting on the pole, the winning Acura didn't take the lead in the race until there were less than three minutes remaining in the two hour, 45-minute contest, when Brabham passed the Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Timo Bernhard entering turn one. The Penske Porsche of Sascha Maassen and early race leader Patrick Long finished third. Sharp, who had been spun out on lap six, sustained damage to the rear bodywork of the car and kept the car in contention before handing off to Brabham after the first hour. The victory was the 40th consecutive ALMS win for Michelin and the first overall win for Acura in just 17 ALMS starts. Acura had previously notched LMP2 class wins at the 2007 12 Hours of Sebring and 2008 Long Beach events. Sharp’s victory was the first ALMS overall win for an American co-driver since Butch Leitzinger’s win at Mosport in 2005, some 27 races ago. Michelin teams swept the first nine positions overall and 13 of the top 14 spots, including victories in all four classes. Audi’s Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner finished fourth overall and first place in LMP1, while Corvette’s Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen scored their fourth GT1 win in five races. Flying Lizard Porsche’s Wolf Henzler and Jörg Bergmeister completed the Michelin sweep taking the victory in the GT2 class. You can see a gallery of excellent images from Lime Rock Park courtesy of John Thawley by clicking here.

arrowup.gifPaul Tracy, Walker Racing, Tony George. Paul Tracy will be back in an Indy car in a one-race deal for the July 26 Rexall Edmonton Indy in a car entered by Walker Racing, with technical support provided by Vision Racing and sponsored by Subway. Tony George wanted to sign Tracy to a run a third car for his IndyCar team, but couldn't attract the sponsorship necessary to do the deal. But George eventually put together the deal with Tracy, Walker, Subway and associated sponsor Rexall. It will be good to see Tracy back in an IndyCar, and it's long overdue.

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(Rahal Letterman Racing)
Rahal Letterman Racing has acquired an Aston Martin DBR9 previously owned by Aston Martin North America Board Chairman John Sinders and raced by the Autosport Designs team in the 2006 SPEED GT Championship. The car has been re-engineered by the team and will return to SPEED GT at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend. The car will be driven by 22-year-old Tommy Milner, of Leesburg, Va. "We are excited about getting the Aston on track and seeing the final product after what was a long and interesting process of rebuilding the car," Team Owner Bobby Rahal said. "Tom Milner is a good driver and we are anticipating a great effort from him. It will be great to get such an historic marque like Aston battling for a win at Mid-Ohio." Currently the team has only planned to enter the Mid-Ohio round. The last SPEED GT race for the Aston Martin DBR9 was in 2006 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where Johnny Mowlem and Tom Papadopoulos drove a pair for Autosport Designs Racing. The Mid-Ohio SPEED GT Presented by Remington is scheduled for Sunday, July 20, at 4:00 p.m. (EDT). It will air on SPEED, Friday, July 25, at 2 p.m. (EDT).

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arrowup.gifarrowup.gifarrowup.gifRoad America. The Kohler International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by Ford is, in our estimation, the premier vintage racing weekend of the year. Yeah, we get that it's heresy to even suggest any vintage event holds a candle to the Monterey Historics, but the "KIC" is every bit as cool of an event, if not more so, and for a lot of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that Road America - a blistering fast 4.048-mile layout - is this country's premier natural-terrain road racing circuit, an unmatched jewel that remains the fastest track of its kind in the U.S. The fact that its 640 rolling acres are located in the beautiful Kettle Moraine country of north central Wisconsin - which is why we've officially dubbed Road America "America's National Park of Speed" - makes it the finest setting anywhere to watch a race. And of course the postage stamp town of Elkhart Lake is a throwback to another era that, along with Watkins Glen, NY, witnessed the very beginnings of sports car racing in this country. Take the atmosphere and feel of the town, combine it with the way Elkhart Lake embraces Road America to the point that the two are inexorably linked, and stir in the jaw-dropping array of competition and street cars, and you have a recipe for the most entertaining and satisfying enthusiast weekend of the summer.