Scott Dixon leads Ganassi one-two in disrupted Detroit IndyCar race
|By Mark Glendenning||Sunday, June 3rd 2012, 23:36 GMT|
Scott Dixon won a bizarre IndyCar race around the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit, where severe problems with the track surface forced a two-hour delay just as the event approached its scheduled halfway point.
Ganassi driver Dixon started from pole and led every lap, but the race will be remembered for the enormous strips of asphalt that were torn from the track's surface, forcing race control to call for a red flag to allow track workers to implement a fix.
The trackwork came too late for Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe, who hit a chunk of the debris and was spat into the tyres on lap 45. The Canadian's accident coincided almost exactly with Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Takuma Sato crashing on another section of the track after tripping over a kerb, bringing out a full-course yellow that switched to red as soon as the magnitude of the problem with the track surface became apparent.
The race was eventually restarted with the original distance reduced from 90 laps to 60, setting up a 15-lap sprint to the finish, although the green flags had barely been waved before the yellows were needed again when Penske's Helio Castroneves spun and was tagged by Ed Carpenter.
Yet another caution was needed a few laps later when EJ Viso (KV) spun and stalled in the middle of Turn 4, yet despite the disjointed track action, quite a few drivers were able to capitalise on the restarts.
Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt-Hamilton) was the first of the opportunists, taking advantage of Will Power being sold a dummy by Dixon just as they were preparing to go green and relieving the Penske driver of second place.
Behind him, Dario Franchitti was performing another Lazarus act and had got himself up to sixth after starting 14th. The Indianapolis 500 winner managed to turn that into third by passing three cars at the same time that Pagenaud was overtaking Power.
When the final restart came a couple of laps later Franchitti repeated the trick, taking second from the Frenchman and securing an unlikely 1-2 for the Ganassi team. Pagenaud crossed the line third, giving Honda a 1-2-3 just three miles down the road from GM's world headquarters.
Results - 60 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 1h27m39.5053s 2. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda + 1.9628s 3. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt DW12-Honda + 2.4773s 4. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevy + 3.5435s 5. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR DW12-Chevy + 9.6619s 6. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevy + 10.1676s 7. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti DW12-Chevy + 10.6455s 8. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda + 11.1048s 9. Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda + 11.5315s 10. Alex Tagliani Herta DW12-Honda + 12.5688s 11. Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevy + 24.5855s 12. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevy + 26.6600s 13. Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus + 28.4369s 14. JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevy + 1 lap 15. Josef Newgarden Fisher DW12-Honda + 1 lap 16. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevy + 1 lap 17. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevy + 1 lap 18. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevy + 1 lap 19. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda + 2 laps Retirements: Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda 38 laps James Hinchcliffe Andretti DW12-Chevy 38 laps Justin Wilson Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 28 laps James Jakes Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 26 laps Sebastien Bourdais Dragon DW12-Chevy 24 laps Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevy 11 laps