No. 1009
August 14, 2019

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Horizon #461

September 3, 2008

Andretti Green Racing, Acura. Franck Montagny and James Rossiter captured the first overall American Le Mans Series victory for Andretti Green XM Acura last Saturday in the Detroit Sports Car Challenge on Belle Isle. Montagny negotiated the final 83 laps of the 2.07 mile circuit on the same set of Michelin tires. Montagny led an Acura 1-2-3 finish ahead of the No. 9 Patrón Highcroft Acura of David Brabham and Scott Sharp and the No. 66 de Ferran Panasonic Acura of Simon Pagenaud and Gil de Ferran. The three teams combined to lead every lap of the 104 lap, two-hour forty-five minute event. “I told the team that the tires were fine so there was no need to change on the pit stop,” said Montagny. “I knew that I had to push hard, but the Michelin tires were very consistent and we could still run very good lap times all the way to the end. To make such soft tires run consistently for so many laps is quite a big job, so thank you to Michelin,” said Montagny.

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

Publisher's Note: Other winners in Detroit were the No. 4 Pratt & Miller-prepared Compuware Corvette C6R of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in GT1, and the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Jörg Bergmeister in GT2. For complete coverage and to read how Audi's win in LMP1 was disallowed, please check out John Dagys' report at . And for a look at some of John Thawley's superb images from Detroit, click here. - PMD

(Chris Jones/IRL)
Justin Wilson is congratulated by Carl Haas after winning the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone last Sunday, his first IndyCar Series victory. Wilson (No. 02 Newman/Haas/Lanigan McDonald’s Racing Team Dallara/Honda/Firestone) started fourth and moved into second on Lap 60. After a restart on Lap 69, Wilson put pressure on Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske D/H/F), who led a race-high 53 laps. Wilson made two attempts to pass on Lap 72, but was rebuffed by Castroneves who went low and then back high. Race officials penalized Castroneves one position for blocking, and Wilson took the lead on Lap 73. Castroneves finished second for a record eighth time this season, but gained 13 points on series points leader Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing D/H/F) - who finished fifth - to climb within 30 points of Dixon heading into the Sept. 7 championship season finale at Chicagoland Speedway. Dixon needs to finish eighth or better to win the championship. Brian Barnhart, President Operations and Competition, Indy Racing League, on the call on Castroneves: “We talk about blocking every week in the drivers’ meeting and tell them what they can and can’t do and what the code of conduct is on the racetrack. Helio clearly moved his car to impede the progress of a following car (Justin Wilson) and moved his car in response to the actions and the line taken by a following car. That’s what I tell them in the drivers’ meeting every week. We made the same decision early in the race with the (Darren) Manning and (Bruno) Junqueira cars, and unfortunately you have to call it like you see it. I think Helio and everyone associated knows that it’s not what’s expected and not what’s accepted of how we race out there. We want to race clean and fair and we need to call them like we see them. You can’t officiate based on points or who’s involved or what position they hold. You have to do it out of fairness and competition.” The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season concludes Sept. 7 with the 100 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will air live at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 7 on ESPN2.

The IRL. For our money, the call last Sunday by Brian Barnhart was Bush League Bullshit. Make no mistake, we're not fans of that style of driving - which seems to be bred into young drivers who come up in the European scene -and we hate seeing it, but if you want to make an example of a driver earlier in the season to set the tone for your blocking rule, fine, that was the time to do it. And if you've always warned once during the heat of a race and then enforced the penalty, that's fine, too, because that's what everyone expects. But to decide to enforce a penalty without the warning and in the midst of a championship battle was just uncalled for, petty and as we said, bullshit. We've seen a lot of bad calls in our day - especially in NASCAR - but this one ranks right up there. Barnhart needs to let 'em race in Chicago next Sunday - and follow his own rules - or his credibility will be toast.

(Photo©SCCA/Mark Weber)
Randy Pobst (No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3), of Gainesville, Ga., leads Andy Pilgrim (No. 8 Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V), of Boca Raton, Fla. in the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED GT Championship Round Eight at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Pobst captured the win followed by Pilgrim and Brandon Davis (No. 10 ACS/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra), of Huntington Beach, Calif. in the 26-lap, 53.82-mile race on the 14-turn, 2.07-mile Belle Isle circuit. Pobst also set the fastest lap of the race on lap 15, a 1:31.858 (81.125 mph), only 0.001-second faster than Davis’ best lap of the race. Pobst now leads Pilgrim by 116 points (827 to 711) in the Drivers’ Championship, followed by Michael Galati with 621 points, Davis, with 611 points and James Sofronas, with 558 points. Porsche continues to lead the SCCA SPEED GT Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by RACER with 53 points. Cadillac now moves into second, with 39 points, followed by Dodge (36), Ford (33) and Chevrolet (21). This race will air on SPEED, Sept. 12, at noon (EDT). Next up for the series is the race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Sept. 26 – 28.

2007 Indianapolis 500 and series champion Dario Franchitti is coming back to open-wheel racing, signing to drive for Chip Ganassi's IndyCar Series team in 2009, replacing Dan Wheldon. Franchitti, who left IndyCar after winning the title in 2007 to drive for Ganassi in NASCAR, has 18 wins, 17 poles, 63 top-five and 95 top-10 finishes in the Indy cars. “Part of the reason that I signed with Ganassi last year was because of how many options that Chip has at his disposal for a driver. You can do almost any form of racing that you want,” Franchitti said. “With unification and the new schedule having more road and street courses, it made me think about this more and more. I have really enjoyed this last season in stock cars and have not completely closed that chapter of my professional career but the opportunity that arose was just something I could not pass up. I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of one of those Target cars and be a teammate to Scott Dixon.” “It is going to be very exciting to have Dario in one of our IndyCars next year,” Ganassi said. “I have always admired his competitive spirit when he raced against us and have really grown to see more of what he is about this season while he raced in NASCAR. When there was a possibility of an opening on our IndyCar team, the only person I thought about was Dario. This is going to be a great move for Dario and for our team.” Wheldon won the 2005 IndyCar championship for Andretti Green Racing, then joined Ganassi in 2006 and finished second and fourth the past two seasons. He currently sits fourth in this year's championship. “I have enjoyed these last three seasons with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, but will be moving on to pursue a very exciting opportunity for 2009,” Wheldon said. Wheldon, who has driven the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry the past two seasons, then announced he would move to Panther Racing in 2009. Wheldon made his first two IndyCar Series starts for Panther Racing before moving to Andretti Green Racing from 2003-05. Franchitti competed for AGR from 2003-07. Welcome back, Dario, you never looked comfortable in a stock car.