Dixon Masters Motown, Leads Honda Sweep
Scott Dixon was unstoppable Sunday on the streets of Belle Isle Park, fending off all challenges presented by his fellow IZOD IndyCar Series competitors, a two-hour race stoppage for track repairs and even a spot rain shower once the race resumed to win the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and lead a 1-2-3 sweep for Honda.
Starting from the pole, Dixon led all 60 laps around the city park temporary circuit, which was run in two halves when deteriorating track conditions led to a red flag after 45 laps to repair holes in the pavement. After a delay of just over two hours while repairs were completed, the race was resumed with a 15-lap “trophy dash” to the finish. But Dixon was never headed in either segment, leading his teammate TargetmChip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti and Schmidt Hamilton Racing’s Simon Pagenaud home for a Honda sweep of the first-three finishing positions.
Coming from 14th in the 25-car starting field, Indianapolis 500 winner Franchitti moved through the field to sixth during the first 45 laps, then gained four more positions in the final two restarts after the race resumed to follow Dixon home in second.
It was the second consecutive 1-2 IndyCar finish for Honda and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team, as today’s finish reversed the 1-2 result for Franchitti and Dixon at last week’s Indy 500. Pagenaud rounded out the podium sweep for Honda in Detroit by passing championship points leader Will Power on Lap 47.
After starting well down the order, 20th, Charlie Kimball equaled his best previous results of 2012 with an eighth-place finish for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, while Mike Conway rebounded from the disappointment of his crash last week at Indianapolis to finish ninth today for A.J. Foyt Racing.
Alex Tagliani and his Bryan Herta Autosport team posted their own impressive recovery today. After qualifying third, electrical issues on the starting grid resulted in Tagliani starting last, from pit lane. Clever pit strategy and timely passes in the closing laps saw Tagliani make up 15 positions for a 10th-place finish.
The post Indianapolis 500 run of consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series races continues next week, with a return to oval track racing and the June 9 Firestone 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.