Dixon Best in Long Day at Belle Isle
June 3, 2012 | 7:22 P.M. EST
Dixon, the pole sitter, led all 60 laps in the race shortened from 90 laps because of a two-hour red flag for crews to repair three sections of patched asphalt and concrete on the 14-turn course. (Photo: Getty Images)
A rainbow greeted the podium finishers of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix -- an appropriate sign of (hopefully) brighter races on the challenging street circuit in upcoming years to complement the fan-friendly event.
Race winner Scott Dixon, who held on to finish 1.9628 seconds ahead of Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti, also was joined on the stage by Simon Pagenaud as Honda swept the top three in Chevy's home race.
A week earlier, it was Franchitti leading Dixon across the start-finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to win his third Indianapolis 500.
Dixon, the pole sitter, led all 60 laps in the race shortened from 90 laps because of a two-hour red flag for crews to repair three sections of patched asphalt and concrete on the 14-turn course. Dixon earned his 28th Indy car victory, passing Johnny Rutherford for 11th on the all-time list. Rick Mears (29) is next up.
"I am super happy for the team – a 1-2 finish for the Target boys for the second week in a row," Dixon said. "Hats off to the fans who stuck around through something that was totally unexpected. I’d like to give a lot of credit to everyone at INDYCAR and the Detroit staff for getting the track back in shape so we could race. The final 15-lap shootout was exciting for me, so I sure hope the fans liked it. It is great to be back in Detroit and I hope we are here for many years to come – great fans, volunteers and staff. In the end, it was a good week for everyone."
Franchitti, who started 14th, claimed his 28th runner-up finish.
“I thought in the first couple of laps I had a chance, but I couldn’t, he was too quick," Franchitti said. "And with our car breaking the front wing early on, the more the run went on, the more understeer it got. But that’s not to take anything away from the job Dixie did, and a 1-2 for Team Target after his brilliant qualifying and my abysmal one, we’ll take it.”
IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power finished fourth and Oriol Servia advanced 12 positions relative to his starting spot to finish fifth. Dixon supplanted Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe in second in the championship standings, closing to 26 of Power with the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway on tap on June 9 (NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. ET).
The red flag was displayed at 4:53 p.m. (ET) -- about 68 minutes after the start of the race -- as INDYCAR Race Director Beaux Barfield called the cars onto pit lane following the first full-course yellow flag of the race on Lap 40 when James Hinchcliffe's No. 27 GoDaddy.com car struck a slice of asphalt that sent him into the tire barrier in Turn 7. Almost simultaneously, the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car of Takuma Sato slid into the Turn 12 wall.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Firestone 550K on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway.