Golden shot for Ganassi pair

Indycar Racing News

Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti scored a one-two sweep for Chip Ganassi’s team at the 1.5-mile Motegi oval in Japan on Saturday. The pair dominated the race, leading almost all the way with Dixon winning by 1.5 seconds. Dixon’s fifth win of the year put him back on top of the IRL points with Franchitti just five behind and one race remaining at the Homestead-Miami oval next month.

2009 IRL Motegi Priority

Motegi’s 300-mile race was disastrous for Ryan Briscoe and Team Penske, as Briscoe struggled to match the pace of Ganassi’s cars and then crashed in the pitlane as he exited after his final stop. Briscoe’s crew retrieved and repaired the car, getting him back on track to finish 18th and 15 laps down. Ryan had arrived in Japan with a clear, 35-point lead in the championship but flew home trailing Dixon by eight points and Franchitti by three, leaving everything to race for at Homestead.

2009 IRL Motegi Priority

“That’s definitely what we needed,” grinned Dixon. “Dario was very quick early on and we had to ad some front wing and change the tyre pressures to improve the car at our first stop. But those changes really worked. My car was great at the end and now we go to Homestead with a real shot at the championship.”

Between them, defending champion Dixon and 2007 champion Franchitti have won nine of the 16 IRL races run so far this year. Briscoe and team-mate Hélio Castroneves have combined to win five races for Penske. Castroneves is a distant fourth in the points after finishing a lap down in 10th place at Motegi, where the Brazilian faced an uphill battle after crashing on his qualifying run and starting the race from the back of the field.

2009 IRL Sears Point

Graham Rahal and Oriol Servia produced a great result for Newman/Haas Racing in Japan. They finished third and fourth, only a few seconds behind the lead pair. This was Newman/Haas’s best team performance of the year which helped push Rahal up to seventh in the points. Mario Moraes also drove another good race for KV Racing to finish fifth ahead of Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti.

2009 IRL Mid Ohio

So this year’s Indycar championship will be decided at the season finale in Florida in three weeks’ time and, despite their dominant record in 2009, Dixon and Franchitti cannot pussyfoot or drive for points. In order to beat Briscoe they must race to win, which is exactly the way it should be.

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